Are you doing the biggest thing that holds complexity and systems back?

by | 9 Jul 2021

Some practitioners seem to think that saying “… and I didn’t tell them we were using systems thinking” is a good thing. It’s not.

If we don’t tell people what we are doing, how will the ideas and practices spread?

I know that complexity and systems thinking can be challenging. It is intellectually stretching, psychologically stressful, and goes against the grain of most major management and corporate orthodoxies. But we don’t help ourselves or anyone else when we smuggle systems thinking into the building under a blanket as though it’s embarrassing.

I also hear people say it’s much easier to talk about than it was ten years ago.

However, many are still singing the “and I don’t tell them” refrain.

As a community, we need to come clean and come out about what we are thinking, doing and seeing.

We need to accelerate the awareness, the take-up and the evolution of complexity and systems thinking ideas.

Some people are getting the surface level practices from an external consultant or an insider in their organisation who then doesn’t reveal how they do the magic trick. Then not only can they not perform that trick for others, but they are not getting the insight of how and why it works, so they can’t take the principles and adapt them for novel situations.

Some are explicit about their use of complexity and systems thinking ideas, methods and practices, and I applaud those few.

But there are still too many who are coy about where their principles come from. That reluctance to reveal the source is holding everyone back.

When we use complexity and systems thinking, let’s shout and be proud.

Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

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