What's New?
 This Site
 Organizational Basics
 Systems Thoughts
 Business Applications
 Working Papers
 Social Issues
 Systems Links
 Consulting Links
 ST Class
 Libertarian Objections
 Liberal Moments(SM)
 Political & Economic Links

Get our Bulletin

Home > Business Applications
ST Leadership
by Bob Powell, 6/06/01
Printer-friendly page Printer page
Email Page Email article

Structure connects Values, Purpose & Vision to Events (i.e., Results).

The behaviors we observe and experience are a result of the structure -- whether we designed it or not -- of the system.

If we wish to understand what's happening and what to do to make the results better or even less destructive, we have to understand the structure of the system.
Gary Larson Cartoon Caption: "You know, Omar, I've got it, too. The feeling that we're just going in circles."

These two Vikings have plenty of "Vision" and "Mission", but Vision and Mission aren't enough.

True leaders must look at the structure behind them to see why this is happening.

Sadly, we don't do that in business or in government. We're distracted by Events ... it's like, "Look! Squirrel."
Systems thinking leadership is the approach we take in a garden. For the reinforcing processes we provide sun, water, and fertilizer; and for the balancing processes we pull the weeds. We nurture a garden; we don't "drive" it. Leadership is understanding and designing the feedback processes and information systems that determine organizational performance. We use systems thinking to design structures to take an organization to its Vision while fulfilling its Purpose and living by its Values.

In a systems thinking leadership workshop we:

  • Define and examine Structure & Mental Models for alignment with Vision, Purpose and Values.
  • Identify weak links in the key loops.
  • Identify what promotes limits beneficial activity at the weak links.
  • Take action to increase beneficial activity & reduce constraints at weak links.
  • Develop & implement new measures to monitor loop performance.
  • Create new structures, communication links & information systems to monitor progress.

The cartoon at right illustrates that no matter how clearly defined are Vision and Purpose, it is only by understanding the Structure of the system (including Mental Models because we humans are part of the system) can we get to where we want to go. Once we understand Structure, we can define policies that produce the Patterns of Events and Events that we desire.

For a more detailed description of this approach, see the two page paper on Systems Thinking Leadership (112K)













URL: http://www.exponentialimprovement.com/cms/STLeader.shtml

Top of Page Top of Page Email this Article Email Article Printer

© 2003 Continuous Improvement Associates
Workshop Overview
Facilitating Group Action
Exponential Improvement
Create Strategic Focus
Making Strategic Choices
Project Management Dynamics
Workshop Report on Project Management Dynamics 10/23/04
ST Leadership
Human Resource Structures
Product Life Cycle