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Making Better Decisions Using Systems Thinking

How to stop firefighting, deal with root causes and deliver permanent solutions

Paperback Engels 2018 9783319876627
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This book provides a framework to help managers go beyond simply fighting fires every day, offering the tools to address the underlying causes of recurring problems and deliver long-term solutions.

The most obvious part of any problem is the pain it causes. The desire to end the pain and find a solution – any solution – that will make it go away now is usually so great that it blinds managers to the underlying systemic cause of the problem. The result is that we ‘solve’ the problem today and then it comes back again tomorrow or next week, again and again.

We are only addressing the symptoms but never understanding the cause – like picking the flower heads off weeds but not digging them out at the roots.Schaveling and Bryan offer the insights and tools managers and leaders need to achieve a longer term and more effective approach by stepping back and analysing the system as a whole. And at the heart of any system are human beings – notoriously short-term and pain-averse creatures who will behave in whatever way minimises pain today even at the expense of pain tomorrow.

They show how to detect the behavior patterns that have become engrained in the organisation and which underlie complex situations so that root causes of problems can be identified. Once the system responsible for the problem is understood smarter decisions can be made to devise interventions that solve the core problem instead of wasting energy fighting the symptoms.


Uitgever:Springer International Publishing


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1.     Making better decisions using Systems Thinking<p>2.     What is systems thinking?</p> <p>Looking at the whole picture</p> <p>Unintended side effects</p> <p>Uncover the underlying dynamics</p> <p>Looking below the surface of the lily pond</p> <p>Reacting</p> <p>Adaptation</p> <p>3.     The evolutionary heritage</p> <p>Reacting</p> <p>Two systems</p> <p>Theory of reality</p> <p>Compression of data</p> <p>Groupsize</p> <p>4.     Good management: dealing wisely with dilemmas</p> <p>Time dilemma: Do you make short- or long-term choices?</p> <p>Scope dilemma: Do you choose a narrow or a broad scope?</p> <p>Awareness dilemma: do you choose to face the facts or take refuge in fantasies?</p> <p>Dealing with dilemmas: leadership and wisdom</p> <p>Leadership</p> <p>What should we understand by wisdom?</p> <p>Dealing wisely with organisations</p> <p>5.     A systemic view of organisations</p> <p>Reinforcing effects: why do things get out of hand?</p> <p>The Pygmalion effect: higher expectations lead to higher performance</p> Exponential growth<p></p> <p>Balancing feedback: why things don’t budge</p> <p>6.     Impatient managers create chaos</p> <p>The effects of time delays</p> <p>Systems thinking and time delays</p> <p>What are our steering criteria?</p> <p>7.     The Value Creation Model</p> <p>What is the Value Creation Model? Why, What, How</p> <p>Creating value with distinctive competences</p> <p>Internal and external developments</p> <p>The strategic function typology</p> <p>8.     The value creation model in action</p> <p>Laboratory for bakery ingredients</p> <p>Employment agency for surveillance duties</p> <p>Public agency</p> <p>Dealing wisely with your reinforcing loop</p> <p>Pitfalls</p> <p>9.     What has been done when the work is done?</p> <p>The current situation</p> <p>The vision</p> <p>And what do you do next?</p> <p>10.      Driving forces that generate and sustain patterns</p> <p>Genetic disposition and system </p> <p>Our early years and system </p> <p>Our tribe and system </p> The rational system <p></p> <p>Vision</p> <p>Reality check</p> <p>11.      Two driving forces in depth: Mental models and Team learning</p> <p>Mental models: what are the dominant mental models?</p> <p>Team learning: which group dynamics play a role?</p> <p>The results of our dive into the lily pond</p> <p>12.      Looking under the surface of the lily pond: Applying systems thinking in six steps    </p> <p>Going under the water level: assessing reality and the driving structure</p> <p>Step 1: tell the whole story</p> <p>Step 2: describe the behaviour over time in graphs</p> Step 3: formulate the focusing question and your scope<p></p> <p>Step 4: identify archetypes or fixed patterns</p> <p>Step 5: increase your understanding by looking closer at the driving forces</p> <p>Step 6: planning an intervention</p> <p>13.      Pitfalls of short time horizon</p> <p>Fixes that backfire</p> <p>Shifting the burden</p> <p>14.      Pitfalls of not looking far enough around you</p> <p>Escalation</p> <p>Success to the successful</p> <p>15.      Pitfalls of fear of facing reality</p> <p>Drifting goals</p> <p>Limits to growth</p> <p>16.      Pitfall of a combination of short time horizon and not looking far enough around you           </p> <p>Accidental adversaries</p> <p>Not building trust</p> <p>17.      Pitfalls of a combination of short time horizon, not looking far enough around you and fear of facing reality</p> <p>Growth and under-investment</p> <p>Tragedy of the commons</p> <p>18.      Adaptive leadership</p> Sit still<p></p> <p>Know the value creation model of your organisation</p> <p>Don’t think you can make the system perfect</p> <p>Sometimes you have to begin a new system or organisation</p> <p>Think holistically: keep the whole system in mind</p> <p>Make an honest assessment of the situation</p> <p>Discover the hidden assumptions; verify if everybody is discussing the same subject</p> <p>Bring the whole system into the room</p> <p>Look for actions with leverage; don’t use a bigger hammer</p> <p>Ask yourself the questions of the system thinker</p> <p>19.      Systemic Pitfalls in Cooperation; The pitfalls from a bird’s eye view.....  </p> <p>The Value Creation Model</p> Fixes that backfire<p></p> <p>Shifting the burden</p> <p>Escalation</p> <p>Success to the successful</p> <p>Drifting goals</p> <p>Limits to growth</p> <p>Accidental adversaries</p> <p>Growth and underinvestment</p> <p>Tragedy of the commons</p> <p>The patterns from a bird’s eye view on 1 A4</p> <p> References</p> <p> Annexe: Language of systems thinking</p> <p>Variables and causal relations</p> <p>Causal relations: same and opposite</p> <p>Looping technique</p>

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        Making Better Decisions Using Systems Thinking