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Systems Thinking And Organisational Effectiveness

These sessions are intended to address larger-scale and longer-term organisational issues. They can be run as a facilitated group process when a team needs to address a work-related issue.

The management skills book serves as the manual for these workshops.

Systems Thinking For Effectiveness

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Approximately 16 participants — ½ or 1 Day

Why are there persistent issues that have resisted corrective efforts? From a systems viewpoint, the reason is typically systemic in origin and the issues are ripples from one or two unrecognised and unresolved underlying causative factors. Until these hidden causes are identified and corrected, organisational improvements will be hindered and limited. Perhaps it's time for a fresh approach?

Participants will visually represent their organisational system and its environment to address issues which require improvement. These sessions will draw upon ideas and techniques from Cognitive-/Causal-Mapping, Checkland's Soft Systems Methodology, Goldratt's Theory of Constraints and Congruent Business Models. Several examples can be seen on the Articles page.

Later, once a diagnostic hypothesis has been developed and possible corrective actions are being considered, thinking downstream will help to anticipate consequences and develop contingency options to minimise negative consequences or overcome obstacles.

Why Visually Represent The Organisational Business Model?

  • A visual representation identifies the important factors, the flows between them and the direction of any changes. This makes the systemic behaviours more apparent.
  • Causal maps of issues and systems makes it easier to discuss things with colleagues and makes it less likely to miss something important.
  • You and your colleagues can check the representation for completeness and correctness.
  • Since approximately 80% of people have a visual sensory preference, a visual approach will be more widely applicable.

Congruent Business Models – Framework For Strategy And Leadership

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Approximately 16 participants — 1 Day

All organisations (profit, not-for-profit and governmental) must live within their means if they wish to continue operating. This session draws upon ideas and techniques from Cognitive-/Causal-Mapping, The Business Model Canvas, Checkland's Soft Systems Methodology and Goldratt's Theory of Constraints.

I don't claim to have "the answer" to your organisational issues, but I do have good questions from systems thinking, Congruent Business Models, Checkland's Soft System Methodology and Goldratt's Theory of Constraints. These questions will help to identify what is holding back your organisation. Once this has been correctly identified, it becomes possible to develop more suitable and feasible corrective actions.

This session is an opportunity for senior management to consider how their current business model could be revised to better fit changing circumstances, customers and staff.

  • Representing the situation, circumstances and recent events
  • Appraising the situation – Why is business as usual no longer satisfactory?
  • What is the organisation's current business model and how well does it match the current and future environment?
  • Are the objectives and activities of the directors, staff and customers mutually consistent or are they pulling in different directions?
  • How can the organisational business model be sensibly and feasibly revised? Which aspects of the current situation and system:
    • are unexpected, unusual or unique?
    • are satisfactory and/or offer distinctive advantages?
    • are unsatisfactory and require improvement?
    • could be better aligned with each other?
    • could be readily developed?
  • What are the likely downstream consequences of a strategy? If there are negative consequences, can these be avoided, minimised or mitigated?
  • How can the revised business model be persuasively presented to the various stakeholders? Who is likely to help? Who is likely to resist and what can be done about this?


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