Systems Thinking for Business Leaders

A Two-Day Seminar

Too often business leaders find themselves playing management roulette…evaluating organization, technology or process changes without having great confidence that promised results can be achieved. Why do so many well-conceived programs fall short? Why do better improvement opportunities go unseen? Systems Thinking provides the answers.

Systems Thinking: The Key to Making Better Business Decisions

Imagine trying to move one strand in a spider’s web. It’s impossible to do so without impacting the entire structure. Your company is like that web. It is comprised of a business system that is much more complex than simple organization charts and process maps reveal. That’s why the true impact of tactical solutions like process reengineering, technology upgrades or policy changes is so hard to predict. The solutions to your organization’s most complex challenges cannot be one-dimensional. Simple solutions, while elegant, often fail to address key factors that later undermine business results. Systems analysis techniques are a natural extension of the process management techniques your leaders currently utilize. However systems thinking tools give you a greater understanding of the cause-and-effect cycles that:

1) Reveal the true root causes of problems
2) Foretell the real, big picture impact of tactical alternatives.

Armed with the tools and knowledge to manage your business systemically, you will be able to evaluate current organizational performance, design a desired future state, enact systemic changes that have enduring impact and face ongoing business challenges more effectively.

Who Should Attend

  • Manager or Executive responsible for making strategic decisions
  • Process Owner or Manager
  • Executive, Manager or Director who needs to leverage innovation to meet organizational objectives
  • Chief Information Officer
  • Change Management Leader
  • Member of a strategic planning team
  • Leader of a BPM, process improvement or innovation team

What You Will Learn

  • Map your company’s business system
  • Evaluate data from feedback and feed forward loops
  • Determine the complex root causes of persistent business challenges
  • Determine if business solutions require process design or process deployment changes
  • Discover which challenges cannot be resolved by process and technology changes alone
  • Define a desired future state for your business system
  • Evaluate the impact of proposed improvement solutions
  • Discover the “hidden” causes of organizational resistance to change
  • Charter appropriate process, technology and policy improvement initiatives
  • Achieve sustainable high performance by establishing a more reliable business system

Seminar Outline

I. Complexity and Simple Solutions

  • Structure and behavior of dynamic systems
  • Organizational components and behaviors that create complexity in businesses
  • Solving problems in a complex environment
  • Understanding systemic constraints
  • Differentiating between the fire and the fuel
  • How to find root causes of business problems

III. Seeing The Big Picture

  • Moving from a tactical to systems approach
  • The Causal Loop Diagram
  • Identifying systemic problems
  • The System Map
  • Feedback and feed-forward loops
  • Measuring performance gaps
  • Identifying the need for process redesign vs. redeployment

IV. Defining the “To Be” Business System

  • Tools for modeling dynamic business systems
  • understanding common design flaws
  • The State Change chart
  • Understanding the changes required to achieve “To Be” performance
  • Alternative system models and archetypes

V. System Solutions

  • Creating strategic solutions
  • Chartering improvement activities
  • Integrating a systems management approach