What is Systems Thinking? LO6232

james rieley (rieleyj@milwaukee.tec.wi.us)
Mon, 25 Mar 1996 08:05:23 -0600

Replying to LO6174 --

Rick, as I was reading your reply, I was focusing on how a lack of vision
can be a limiting factor to organizational success, as evidenced by the
attached LTG Archetype.


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Rick wrote:
>Well, I'll tell the story related to me by a very talented colleague and
>superb systems dynamics/systems thinking analyst, Jenny Kemeny. She says,
>"Earlier in my career, I discovered that as I got better and better as an
>analyst, I was getting kicked out of my cleints faster and faster. They
>were always nice, appreciative, told me 'good job' and all that, but
>still I was shown the door.
>"I was looking at their problems from a systems thinking perspective, I
>was finding the ways in which they were creating their own problems. For
>an organization that's not vision driven, this is just plain bad news.
>Blameful, etc. They understood my message rationally, but they just
>couldn't do anything with it.
>"When I began working with vision-driven organizations, or when our work
>was successful in building capabilities in all five disciplines, then the
>same kind of results -- showing how they had created their own problems --
>these results were pure good news. Good news because if they created the
>problems, then there was nothing in the way of their eliminating the
>And, I'll add a piece from my own early career experience. Trained in the
>operations research, management science disciplines, I saw a lot of good
>work that just wasn't implemented. Good works that never had any impact.
>So, if an organization has systems thinking skills, but not the other
>disciplines, I think their effectiveness is diminished. I think a
>reasonable skill in all the disciplines is important for organizational
>learning to be strong.


rieleyj@milwaukee.tec.wi.us (james rieley)

Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <rkarash@karash.com> -or- <http://world.std.com/~lo/>