Category: Articles

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Balancing Loops with Delays

A simple balancing loop can be thought of as a basic control loop. In this type of feedback loop, any discrepancies between desired…

Why Few Organizations Adopt Systems Thinking

I frequently talk to groups of managers on the nature of systems thinking and its radical implications to management. In doing so, I use…

Guidelines for Drawing Causal Loop Diagrams

The old adage “if the only tool you have is a hammer, everything begins to look like a nail” can also apply to language.

Action-to-Outcome Mapping: Testing Strategy with Systems Thinking

In the “classic” systems thinking approach, a group uses mapping and modeling to help explain an important behavior over time. While we occasionally encounter…

Structure-Behavior Pairs: A Starting Point for Problem Diagnosis

There are many possible starting points for drawing a systems diagram. One way to begin is by telling the story behind the problem, and…

Superstitious Learning

The drive toward improvement has become a way of life in corporations today. Total Quality Management, Business Process Reengineering, and other improvement techniques have…

From Individual to Shared Mental Models

Making individual mental models explicit is only one step toward fostering organizationwide learning. Since perceptions of reality can vary widely among different people in…

Check In, Check Out: A Tool for “Real” Conversations

Your daughter was sick last night and you didn’t get much sleep. Tony’s car was rear-ended on the way to the office. Vivian has…

Facilitative Modeling: Using Small Models to Generate Big Insights

All you need to do is read the paper or watch the news to realize that the world is becoming more difficult to understand…

From Spreadsheets to System Dynamics Models

Decision-makers often turn to computer models when they face a problem too “big” to grasp all at once. Having the computer keep track of…