Systems thinking

Many individuals have heard about critical thinking, strategic thinking, lateral thinking and a number of other terms associated with thinking. However, very few have heard or been exposed to the idea of systems thinking, which is a relatively new term and concept. The idea of systems thinking is based on the premise that complex problems cannot be solved by isolating factors and dealing with them individually. Rather, the approach recognizes that often there are a number of factors at play, some of which we do not even know, and therefore, a more holistic approach to problem solving is required.

In addition, for a system to work well, not only do all the parts have to be present, but all the parts must work well and interdependently. The parts do not simply depend on each other for support, they depend on each other for their well-being.

The purpose of a system is not imprinted on any one part of the system. Rather, the purpose of a system lies outside the system itself, and at times, is not readily apparent to us.

An organization is a system made up of people, and people are complex. A systems thinking approach is required to solve the complex problems confronted by individuals in today’s workplace.