Business System:

Business Process Management

Systems Thinking

Focusing On the Whole, Not the Parts, of a Complex System

By: Vadim Kotelnikov

Founder, Ten3 Business e-Coach Inspiration and Innovation Unlimited!

"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

"I shall proceed from the simple to the complex. But in war more than in any other subject we must begin by looking at the nature of the whole; for here more than elsewhere the part and the whole must always be thought of together." ~ Carl Von Clausewitz

Systems Thinking Systems Thinking Systematic Thinking Systemic Thinking Ten3 Business e-Coach Systems Thinking

 

 

 

Systematic vs. Systems vs. Systemic Thinking

  1. Systematic Thinking thinking methodically

  2. Systems Thinking dealing with the whole system and thinking about how things interact with one another

  3. Systemic Thinking combining analytical thinking with synthetical thinking to find system-wide focus and gain systemic insights into complex situations and problems.

 

 

The Five Organizational Learning Disciplines

By Peter Senge

  • Systems Thinking. Acting on the understanding that actions and decisions cannot be isolated, but have ramifications through the organization... More

10 Commandments of Innovation

Case in Point

Attributes of the Super Smart Sought by Microsoft

11 Traits of a True IT Leader

  • Foresight to connect disparate pieces into cohesive solutions... More

SMART Business Architect (Ten3 Mini-course)

 

 

 

 

System Defined

A system is an entity which maintains its existence and functioning as a whole for some purpose through the mutual interaction of its parts.

Systems Thinking Defined

Systems thinking is your ability to see things as a whole (or holistically) including the many different types of relationships between the many elements in a complex system. "Systems thinking is a sensibility for the subtle interconnectedness that gives living systems their unique character."7

The Goal of Systems Thinking

The goal of systems thinking is to manage the rapidly growing complexity of the worlds of business and technology. The task of a business architect and a process manager is to create systems, within a sensibly structured business, that empowers employees and enables people to achieve higher productivity and greater competitive advantage... More

SMART Business Architect (Ten3 Mini-course)

The Focus of Systems Thinking

Systems thinking "focuses on the whole, not the parts, of a complex system. It concentrates on the interfaces and boundaries of components, on their connections and arrangement, on the potential for holistic systems to achieve results that are greater than the sum of the parts. Mastering systems thinking means overcoming the major obstacles to building the process-managed enterprise for every business process is a whole system."2

Growing Demand for Systems Thinking

"End-to-end business processes are dynamic systems, but today's business professionals are generally not trained in general systems thinking. Too often constrained to a perspective limited by ingrained business practices, rigid scripts and structured input-output work, few professionals have a wide-angle view of, or experience dealing with, end-to-end business processes."2

Balancing the Five Basic Elements of Nature

The Five Basic Elements are Fire, Earth, Water, Metal, and Wood. According to the ancient Chinese belief, those are the basic elements of the universe and everything in our word is a compound of the five elements. These elements are understood as different types of energy in a state of constant interaction and flux with one another.

The most important of all is the balance of all five elements... More

Systems Thinking and Modern Management

The system approach to management is based on general system theory the theory that says that to understand fully the operation of an entity, the entity must be viewed as a system. This requires understanding the interdependence of its parts.

Systems thinking characterizes many of the world's leading executives. It is a formal discipline of management science that deals with the whole business system and in terms of the interconnections and interactions of its parts.

"Many managers fail to see the forest for the trees. This is not an either/or problem. The trick is to see both the forest and the trees. Systems thinking is a methodology for doing both simultaneously. It's more than a methodology, it's like learning a new language and takes nearly as long as learning a foreign language to achieve maturity. The human mind is notoriously poor at predicting the performance characteristics of multivariable systems. Systems thinking can help. What you can train your mind to do is to look for counterintuitive leverage points and to construct scenarios where results beyond the obvious are possible." (Botkin, 1999)

Systems Thinking and Cross-functional Management (CFM)

Cross-functional management (CFM) manages business processes across the traditional boundaries of the functional areas. In Total Quality Management (TQM) and Kaizen, the cross-functional goals of QCD (Quality, Cost, Delivery) are clearly defined as superior to such line functions as planning, design, production and sales. The positioning of cross-functional goal as superordinate ones necessitates a new systems approach to management, thinking and decision making... More

The Power of Your Cross-Functional Excellence

If you build broad cross-functional expertise, no idea will be wasted! Your mind can accept only those ideas that have a frame of reference with your existing knowledge. It rejects everything else. If your knowledge is functionally focused, you'll be open to new ideas related to your functional expertise only and will miss all other learning and innovation opportunities. If you develop a broad cross-functional expertise, no new idea will be wasted. It will immediately connect with the existing knowledge and will inspire  you, energize you, and encourage your entrepreneurial creativity. The broader your net, the more fish you catch... More

Apply 80/20 Analysis

80/20 Analysis examines the relationships between two sets of comparable data and can be used to change the relationships it describes. One its use is to discover the key causes of the relationship, the 20% of inputs that lead to 80% of outputs, and put your resources behind the best-performing efforts. The second main use of 80/20 Analysis is to improve the effectiveness of the underperfroming 80% of inputs that contribute only 20% of the output.

80/20 Analysis should be applied carefully, in a systemic way, as opposite to linear thinking that may lead to misunderstanding of the 80/20 Principle and its potential abuses. "Don't be seduced into thinking that the variable that everyone else is looking at... is what really matters. This is linear thinking. The most valuable insight from 80/20 Analysis will always come from examining non-linear relationships that others are neglecting."11... More

  Application  Value Chain Management and Value System Analysis

Your firm's value chain links to the value chains of upstream suppliers and downstream buyers. The result is a larger stream of activities known as the value system. The development of a competitive advantage depends not only on your firm's specific value chain, but also on the value system of which your firm is a part.

Making breakthrough improvements in your value chain requires out of the box, cross-functional, systems thinking.  You have to see the value creation process across the entire flow of work, not just single points... More

 Discover much more in the

FULL VERSION of e-Coach

Complex System Rules of Thumb...

NLP Solutions...

10 Strategic Management Schools...

Building Synergies...

Changing Mindset...

The Framework for a Growth Strategy: 4 Rules...

 Case in Point  Canon Production System (CPS)...

 

 

References

  1. "Systemic Thinking," Gary Bartlett

  2. "Business Process Management," Howard Smith and Peter Fingar

  3. "Managing Complexity," Robin Wood

  4. "Sloan Management Review"

  5. "Strategy  Safari: A Guided Tour Trough the Wilds of Strategic Management," Henry Mintzberg, Bruce Ahlstrand, and Joseph Lampel,

  6. "Strategy, Blind Men and the Elephant," Henry Mintzberg, Bruce Ahlstrand, and Joseph Lampel

  7. "The Fifth Discipline," Peter Senge

  8. "Smart Business," Jim Botkin

  9. Heller, Robert, "Roads to Success", London

  10. "Change Management: The Columbo Theory," Gene Bellinger

  11. "The 80/20 Principle," Richard Koch

  12. SMART Executive Vadim Kotelnikov

 

Effective Thinking Tests

Who Owns the Zebra

The Power of Balance

The Five Basic Elements of the Universe

Your Cross-functional Excellence

Lateral Thinking

Systemic Thinking

System Approach to Management

Business Architect

Sustainable Competitive Advantage

System Analysis

Synergy

Systemic Innovation

Managing Innovation by Cross-functional Teams

Leveraging the Power of Diversity

Enterprise-wide Business Process Management

Process Thinking

Change Management

Organizational Transformation

Case Studies

Silicon Valley 2010 Goals