Why is it that as we approach our goals they seem to be more difficult to achieve? Why is it that things progressing so well seem sooner or later to turn sour? And when things turn sour, how is it that they seem to do so in such a rapid fashion? Why is it that every problem we solve seems simply to lead to a whole new set of problems? Why is it that the problems we thought we solved yesterday seem to come back to haunt us in a few weeks or months? Why is it that a group of individuals each doing what seems so sensible manages to create something that none of them want, i.e. bureaucracy? Why it is that no matter how much money I make it never seems to be enough? Why is it that co- operative partnerships that should produce tremendous results so often end with the partners becoming adversaries?
The list of questions is rather endless, and our normal pursuit from a cause and effect perspective is to try to find where the fault lies. A Systems Thinking perspective, however, enables us to understand the foundations of such situations. Systems Thinking enables one to progress beyond simply seeing events, to seeing patterns of interaction and the underlying structures which are responsible for the patterns. And, once we understand the real foundations for the situations we experience, we are in a much better position to respond in an enlightened fashion. We are able to act responsibly and interact with the structures in ways which will enhance or improve the situation without creating new and different problems elsewhere.
For about seven decades now Systems Thinkers have continued to ask about how to promote the greater adoption and use of Systems Thinking. And for seven decades Systems Thinkers have unknowingly been the greatest impediment of the broader adoption of Systems Thinking. Systems Thinkers might be considered the poster children for Pogo’s “We have met the enemy and he is us!”
Ken Blanchard commented in “The One Minute Manager” to the effect… “While almost everyone likes to buy, almost no one likes to be sold.”
Based on this awareness the STIA+ Systems Thinking Certification Program, beginning the week of May 4th, is intending to take a very different approach. The intent is for participants to learn how to solve problems so they stay solved and not create new ones in the process. There are aspects of Systems Thinking that support bringing this intent closer to a reality.
Gene Bellinger has put together a few interactive models that can be used to begin exploring some of the big picture ideas surrounding how systems work.
Again, this course begins the week of May 4th and is certain to broaden your understanding of Systems Thinking. We look forward to your participation!
About the Authors: Siraj Sirajuddin is the Founder and Curator of STIA+Temenos: Conferences & Labs, the largest gathering (physical and virtual) of Systems Thinkers in the world. Gene Bellinger is the Founder of the Systems Thinking in Action group, the largest Systems Thinking virtual group on LinkedIN. Both Siraj and Gene are committed to bringing Systems Thinking to the communities at large thru webinars, courses, conferences , virtual groups and books.