What is Systems Thinking?

In it's simplest terms Systems Thinking can be defined as a way of looking at a system, such as a business process, as a whole. It is applicable in a wide range of fields and if you are interested in learning more about its use in other fields you can do so here.

Applied in our context it is a management methodology which promotes common sense thinking, adaptability in the face of change and the elimination of waste in work processes.

Vanguard Systems Thinking definition

Traditional management methods encourage a fragmented view of processes and silo like mentalities that often both create and hide ineffective practice. Thinking about work design and policies in a more systemic way has proved extremely effective at helping managers and organisations to:

If you'd like us to come and explain systems thinking management and what it can do for you to your management team take a look at our 2-hour Taster Session.

What can it do for me?

Using a Systems Thinking approach will help you create value for your customers.  What distinguishes you from your competitors is your ability to deliver a higher quality of service in the eyes of your customers.

Pull not Push.  Good customer service is designed to work on directly meeting customer demands rather than expecting customers to work around the organisation’s processes to try to get what they want or need.  You can design an optimal response to your customer’s needs if you understand what matters to them, the variety in these responses and how predictable they are. Systems Thinking management methods will help you build this in and keep on top of changes. The results are lower costs for you, better responsiveness to changing demands and improved customer satisfaction.

Act on the system not the people.  Acting on the system is the best leverage organisations have if they want to improve performance.  As management Guru W. Edwards Deming said, 95% of performance is down to the system and only 5% is down to your people, yet most management approaches still microfocus on people management, missing out on opportunities to achieve much more substantial and sustainable performance changes.  To get serious improvement, we will show you how to act on the system.

For examples of the results you can gain from putting Systems Thinking management methods into action you are welcome to check out our case studies on our free resources page at anytime. You could also sign up to our free management advice blog for tips and stories. If you'd like to tackle your organisation's issues right away please visit our Training & Consultancy pages to see your options.

Or if you'd like to talk to us about the needs and issues of your organisation and how we might be able to help, contact us on 0131 440 2600 or email office@vanguardscotland.co.uk