Systems thinking

All systems have a purpose & are comprised of various parts. For the whole system to work well, each of the system’s parts must work both well & interdependently.

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Leadership

A leader’s value in today’s complex society cannot be underestimated. Often, the success of an organization is contingent on the effectiveness of the leader.

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Relationship

Work is accomplished through relationships, and relationships are strengthened through effective conversation.

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Collaboration

Most leaders agree that effective collaboration is more important than ever in today’s turbulent business environment.

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Start well. End well!

The value of leaders in today’s complex society cannot be underestimated. Leaders, in particular, are well-positioned to influence the ultimate well-being of the organizations they oversee. A leader brings to the position of leadership the sum total of his/her experiences and thinking.

Therefore, it is incumbent on every leader to “think about their thinking”, to examine if the thinking that influences their behavior is helping or hindering the organization. As Peter Senge notes, “At its essence, an organization is a reflection of how its members think and interact.”

Leaders also have responsibility in determining the corporate culture they wish to perpetuate. Culture is a subject that few leaders actually discuss and even fewer set out to intentionally shape.

Culture tends to develop “ad hoc” unless strategic steps are taken to influence the nature of the culture you wish to perpetuate.

In this day of enlightened employees, the command and control style of leadership is archaic, in most circumstances. Today’s employees need to understand what is expected of them, and how they are to behave, to achieve results. Behavior modeling is a powerful force when influencing employees and leaders need to be conscious of their own behavior at all times because they are constantly being observed. Since this is so, it stands to reason, as Albert Schweitzer once said, “Example isn’t the main thing in influencing others, it’s the only thing.”

Work is accomplished through relationships, and relationships are strengthened through effective conversation. For this to occur, leaders must consider a variety of “soft skills” factors. Of the many that are required, five skills are essential when reflecting on the quality of relationships:
1. Self/other awareness   2. Trust   3. Effective conversation   4. Collaboration   5. Feedback

Even then, it’s not quite that simple. Each of these factors cannot be considered in isolation, but rather as part of a larger whole. Essentially, a systems thinking approach is required to understand the importance of interdependency between these factors, for the whole to be greater than the sum of its parts.

If you want an organization that promotes a culture of choice for employees, consider the importance of leadership, the enhancement of relationships and the use of systems thinking.