If you wish to truly make a difference in the world, if you wish to advance, it is not enough to solve the problem right in front of you. Rather, you must go further (the proverbial extra mile!), analyze how and why that problem was created. Then, find the best way to prevent future occurrences – address the entire system. Most problems are not truly one offs, or unique one-of-a-kinds. Generally, if you collect enough of them and analyze their root causes, you will find similarities, things you can address to reduce the possibility of future re-occurrences.

Systems Thinking:

“A cloud masses, the sky darkens, leaves twist upward, and we know that it will rain. We also know the storm runoff will feed into groundwater miles away, and the sky will clear by tomorrow. All these events are distant in time and space, and yet they are all connected within the same pattern. Each has an influence on the rest, an influence that is usually hidden from view. You can only understand the system of a rainstorm by contemplating the whole, not any individual part of the pattern. 

Business and other human endeavors are also systems. They, too, are bound by invisible fabrics of interrelated actions, which often take years to fully play out their effects on each other. 

Since we are part of that lacework ourselves, it’s doubly hard to see the whole pattern of change. Instead, we tend to focus on snapshots of isolated parts of the system, and wonder why our deepest problems never seem to get solved. Systems thinking is a conceptual framework, a body of knowledge and tools developed to help us see how to change them effectively.” – Peter M. Senge, The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of The Learning Organization (pp. 6-7)

Closing Quotes:

“All systems are perfectly aligned to produce the results they produce. Don’t like the result? Fix The System.”

“The fastest way out of a complex situation is often the quickest way back in. Painting over rust never works!”

“Many know the way, few walk it. To change the world, first become the change you seek.”

“For every hacking at the root of a problem, there are a thousand hacking at the leaves. Successful solutions address causes, not symptoms.”

“If it were easy, it would’ve already been done.” 

“When the tub is over flowing, all too many start mopping the floor. Why? Because they understand mops, they have not taken the time to learn plumbing or find the cut off valve.”

As always, I share what I most want and need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier