Systems lead to effectiveness

by | Jul 1, 2024

This micro-video is .55 secs.

Key points

Systems are everywhere
Make them go away
Correct question

Systems are everywhere

Wondering if it would help your business if you implemented systems?’ No. No. That’s the wrong question. You can’t implement them because they are already there. You can’t banish them either, although you can ignore them.

Systems are everywhere. There are natural systems, such as the planet or the human body; mental systems, such as mathematics or music theory; and mechanical systems, such as a car or washing machine.

Make them go away

Organisational systems can’t be seen and appear to work in mysterious ways. Not everyone is happy with systems. Managers who are seriously into control find it difficult to engage with systems thinking because they fear systems cannot be controlled.

Systems thinking acknowledges that change is non-linear, which is a polite way of saying it is messy and chaotic. People who prefer ordered, directed, lock-step change are uncomfortable with the view that chaos is acceptable and are happy with the delusion that they can manage the change process. Ironically, a system accommodates change and works to maintain its stability.

Correct question

Ask, ‘What are the systems in my business, and what are they doing?’ Systems are responsible for the effectiveness and efficiency, or lack thereof, of an organisation.

Once you see them, it is difficult to unsee them. Systems thinking is a powerful construct for making sense of what is happening and identifying the source of those persistent and annoying operational glitches.