I FORGOT EVERYTHING I LEARNED AT MY MBA, EXCEPT THIS
I spent 4 years doing my MBA. (And that was the minimum – 17 full year subjects plus a thesis; none of these ‘semester’ baby subjects. Those were the days.)
But truth be told, even though I think it was a pretty tough, demanding course, I can count on the one hand the things that I have learned and have kept using to this day. But these few lessons were so powerful that I consider my time and money well-spent…
One of those life-long insights was the discovery of the idea of General Systems Theory – or commonly referred to as Systems Thinking. (The topic of my thesis in the end.)
Anyway, the nomenclature is misleading in some ways because people’s notion of a ‘system’ has bureaucratic undertones, when in fact it is closer to a philosophy.
I am not going to try and educate you about systems thinking. That will take a lifetime because it is a broad church. I only want you, dear friend, follower and colleague, to have the opportunity to become aware of it, and if you so please, to start the journey to discover more about systems thinking.
If you explore my blog posts and other writings, you will see there is a constant reference to the power of little things, the laws of unintended consequences and the misunderstanding of the nature of outcomes.
You can get a collection of writings ON SUCCESS here, if you want to read some of it in a handy eBook format. (Or simply use the search function on the blog or explore the archives by topics.)
In any event, the notion of systems thinking is firmly entrenched as mental model, and it has governed how I think for a long time. Being a self-critical AND cynical old bastard, I am prone to question the things I believe constantly, and I can honestly say that every period of introspection is followed be DEEPER commitment to the validity and power of this particular worldview.
The following image does not explain what systems thinking is at all, but it lists some 17 steps or practical applications that illustrate how a systems thinker approaches problems.