Systems Thinking: how organizations can analyze problems that will not be solved by changing a process flow.

Why did we make these particular decisions? How did we end up in our current state? Why is it that we always seem to make less-than-optimal decisions about our future? These questions can be summarized by the key question in systems thinking, how did we (through our internal thinking, our processes, our practices, and our procedures) contribute to or create the circumstances (good or bad) we face now? In this introductory session, the basic tools and methods for exploring this question are introduced.

Systems thinking is a set of tools and methods that dig deeper into the interrelatedness of the many forces at play in a system, including the very ways that we think. Within our organizations, we are often focused on linear thinking while exploring the many process-oriented problems we face. We tend to look only for simple cause-and-effect relationships rather than the more complex relationships at play between the many factors impacting a process/system. During these two-day sessions, we will introduce the basic concepts of systems thinking, focusing on the area of “systems dynamics,” which allows us to pictorially show the relationships between the many influences within a system. We will also explore the seven thinking modes that are key to shifting into a systems thinking mode. As organizations begin to explore the dynamics within their own systems, conversations can become challenging. Some key conversational tools are introduced that can help teams weather the storm of difficult conversations that arise when exploring systems issues.

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Our Systems Thinking course covers the following topics:

  • Definition of a system
  • The key question asked for systems issues
  • Levels of action on a system: events, patterns, structure, mental models
  • The seven thinking modes of effective systems thinkers
  • Causal Loop Diagrams, the building blocks of systems dynamics
  • Archetypes, the most common ways in which systems operate
  • The steps for designing a systems intervention
  • Vision Deployment Matrix, a tool for documenting a systems intervention
  • The laws of systems
  • The ways of a systems thinker
  • Communications tools for systems thinkers

At the end of this course, the attendees will have the tools and thinking modes needed to explore organizational challenges that cannot be addressed by traditional problem-solving methods.

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Current Classroom Training Schedule

Six Sigma WebinarSystems Thinking Webinar [ ]

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