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With an astonishing 75% of major change efforts failing to achieve their intended results, what can you do to be in the successful minority? The Systems Thinking Approach™ rides to the rescue!
The Systems Thinking Approach™ gives you tools to be strategic and therefore more successful. By applying this process you will understand and manage complex changes, create a different future for yourself and your organization, be aware of possible influences from outside, mitigate unintended consequences, and challenge unfounded assumptions.
The February 2014 Harvard Business Review published a study that concluded that “the strategic approach to leadership was, on average, 10 times more important to the perception of effectiveness than other behaviors studied.” It was twice as important as communication (the second most important behavior) and almost 50 times more important than hands-on tactical behaviors. The study stated “Developing a strategic approach is not easy, but the result often makes the difference between an average and an exceptional leader.”
Systems thinking means maintaining a broad perspective about the overall goals of your organization – a focus on the end results – that guides your priorities and actions on a daily basis. Using The Systems Thinking Approach™ gives you a long-term orientation. You understand your role in achieving the organization’s goals and how your organization should function in relation to the external environment to be successful. Within this big-picture context you then focus on the connection between the parts of the organization and also develop effective communication channels.
To help you be more strategic, here’s a three-part overview:
Work on the enterprise: Start with a high-level perspective or your organization. What needs it meets, who benefits from your good & services, why do your organization exist? You can call it vision, mission, goals, objectives, outcomes, or outputs. Also, scan outside your enterprise at trends that might impact you in the future. The first thing you must understand to be strategic is the “end” you are working towards within the perspective of the rapidly changing external environment.
Work in the enterprise: Analyze the parts of the organization and their relationship to each other. Understand the possible consequences of any actions that you take upon other parts of your enterprise, your clients/customers, and the outside world.
Check on the enterprise: It is crucial that you check to see if you got the results that you planned for, and to handle any negative unintended consequences. This second look at the organization, as if you were in a helicopter, ensures that you remain a strategic thinker.
Strategic thinkers are made, not born! If you want to be an exceptional leader, then let go of tactical expertise and add Systems Thinking to your skill set.
To learn more about Systems Thinking review Systems Thinking and Strategic Thinking
You might be interested in reading some of my other blog posts: Everything you wanted to know about systems thinking but were afraid to ask and Ballet vs. Hockey - Are you being strategic?
I coach leaders in improving their strategic skills – both in person and via technology. Let’s talk! Valerie.MacLeod@HainesCentre.com
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