Have you ever made a decision that led to an unintended consequence? America’s Funniest Home Video’s has built a franchise on this premise. Trampolines, piñatas and grandparents on skateboards remind us that we have all been victims of this principle.
Effective leaders acquire skills that help them minimize the surprise of unintended consequences. In technical terms, we can do this through something called ‘systems thinking”. In layman’s language, this is simply a fancy term for becoming good at consequence consideration. This principle is wonderfully illustrated in this three minute video.
Systems thinking is a way of looking at the world that focuses on the relationships between things, rather than the individual parts.
In systems thinking, problems are seen as being caused by the interactions between different elements of a system, rather than by any one element itself. This means that to understand and solve a problem, you need to understand the system as a whole.
Systems thinking has its roots in systems science, which was developed in the 1940s and 1950s. Systems thinking was popularized in the 1960s and 1970s by thinkers such as Peter Senge and Donella Meadows. In recent years, there has been a renewed interest in systems thinking, as it provides a useful framework for dealing with the complex problems we face in the world today.
Systems thinking is not just about problem-solving; it is also about creating solutions that are sustainable and equitable. To do this, we need to understand how systems work, and how we can change them for the better.
So in summary:
Stay tuned next week to see how this ripple effect from driverless cars will have far-reaching impact! Check it out here
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Jeff Suderman is a futurist, consultant and professor who works in the field of organizational development. He partners with clients to improve culture, leadership, teamwork, organizational alignment, strategy and organizational future-readiness. He resides in Palm Desert, California. Twitter: @jlsuderman Email: firstname.lastname@example.org