Category: Articles

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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 …

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 …

The Next Great Frontier: Designing Managerial & Social Systems

The 1990s are shaping up to be a decade of dramatic changes. The recent shake-ups at IBM and General Motors are ominous signs that …

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 …

Toyota’s Current Crisis: The Price of Focusing on Growth Not Quality

For the past 15 years or so, I have told audiences a story about how my perception of what determines good business performance has …

Working in an Unhappy Place: Reengaging Disaffected Employees Through Conflict Resolution

Why can’t we all just get along?” asked Rodney King famously, echoing the sentiments of many of us who have at some point or …

Sustainability: The Inner and Outer Work

Over the years, many people devoted to sustainability have used the phrase “the triple bottom line” to articulate strategy. They don’t focus solely on …

What Are Mental Models? Part 2

TEAM TIP Look for things that rise and fall in your organization, such as employee motivation, product sales, progress on goals, etc. What are …

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, …