The leadership we need next cannot try to escape the complexity of the world but has to develop a capacity for effectiveness that acknowledges that the fundamental reality is one of inherent unity. That’s why the primary revolution that we need is a spiritual revolution as opposed to a political or an economic one.
—LEO BURKE, DIRECTOR OF EXECUTIVE EDUCATION, UNIVERSITY OF NOTRE DAME
BASICS OF SYSTEMS THINKING
As discussed in Chapter 2, systems thinking is the application of systems theory in organizations. Peter Senge, author of The Fifth Discipline
, describes it as “a framework for seeing interrelationships rather than things, for seeing patterns of change rather than static ‘snapshots.’ ” 1
In today’s business environment, the amount of information being created is far greater than at any time in history. And there appears to be no end in sight. The beauty of systems thinking is that it is ideal for managing dynamic organizations that are rich in information.
Mechanics of Systems Thinking
Reality is made up of circles but we see straight lines.
—PETER SENGE, THE FIFTH DISCIPLINE
Most businesses have a plethora of sophisticated tools for forecasting and analysis, the results of which are fed into elegant strategic plans.
However, they often fall short in achieving business breakthroughs because they are designed to handle detail complexity. A more pervasive dynamic is one in which the effects are subtle and measured over time; it is called ...