Category: Articles

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The Vocabulary of Systems Thinking: A Pocket Guide

Systems thinking can be thought of as a language for communicating about complexity and interdependencies (see “Systems Thinking as a Language,” Viewpoint, April 1991). To…

Transforming the Character of a Corporation

We judge others by what they do; we judge ourselves by our intentions.” “What you do thunders so loud, I can’t hear what you…

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…

Guidelines for Daily Systems Thinking Practice

Individual Practice Becoming a seasoned systems thinker starts with a strong commitment to developing your own awarenesses and skills. Ask Different Questions. Systems thinking offers…

The CEO’s Role in Organizational Transformation

Why are attempts to transform organizations usually painful and so often unsuccessful? Why is it that, even when leaders recognize the value of the…

What Are Mental Models?

In writing and teaching people about systems thinking, my colleagues and I at I see systems often refer to “mental models.” For some people,…

Leanness

Corporations today face many pressures to become “lean.” Unfortunately, most people also attach “mean” to lean, which can lead us to confuse leanness with…

Mental Models and Systems Thinking: Going Deeper into Systemic Issues

In a causal loop diagram of a systemic issue, variables are connected in cause-and-effect relationships. But often the implicit thought processes behind those links…

From Riots to Resolution: Engaging Conflict for Reconciliation

As members of communities and organizations, many people feel their days (and their energy!) being consumed by contentious conflicts between diverse stakeholder groups. Organizations…

The Nature and Creation of Chaordic Organizations

We are living on the knife’s edge of one of those rare and momentous turning points in human history. Liveable lives for our grandchildren,…