“Systems thinking is a discipline for seeing wholes. It is a framework for seeing interrelationships rather than things, for seeing ‘patterns of change’ rather than ‘static snapshots.'”—Peter Senge
The third element we focus on is Systems Thinking, a trifecta of sensitivity, awareness, and acknowledgment of the role structure plays in our systems, the power of the laws it creates, and the consequences our actions have in relation to an organization’s sustainability and ability to innovate.
Using Systems Thinking, we can move from observing events or data to identifying patterns of behavior, so we can outline the underlying structures that drive and perpetuate those events and patterns. This allows us to understand and change the structures that are not serving us (including individual mental models and perceptions), and design ones that enable us to create more satisfying, long-term solutions to chronic problems.
In its purest form, Systems Thinking takes us down a path of curiosity, clarity, compassion, choice, and courage, necessitating a willingness to see situations more fully, recognize that they are interrelated, acknowledge that there are often multiple interventions, and champion the ones that may not be popular—but solve greater organizational challenges.
In short, it allows us to make better—more holistic—decisions by allowing us to transcend beyond what might be blocking our view to see all the possibilities beyond.