“Systems” Thinking

Hiring the ideal team and focusing on culture are among the most important high impact leadership practices. But in addition to these “people” priorities, successful leaders and organizations also recognize the importance of “systems.” 

Leaders and organizations that struggle often do so because they lack in their attention to systems thinking.  As a result, change is implemented haphazardly or in a piecemeal manner.  Systems, on the other hand, ensure that an organization’s mission, goals, policies and practices, roles and divisions and so on work harmoniously. Moreover, systems make it possible for leaders and organizations to promote equity, to motivate stakeholders and to build cohesiveness.


  • Equity–Employees, customers and other stakeholders receive support and access to opportunities in a consistent way when leaders and organizations promote systems.  Systems ensure that policies and practices affect everyone consistently and equitably. This also contributes positively to the culture.
  • Motivation – Systems establish rules and the framework for decision-making. When in place, leaders direct less and are able to promote autonomy and the notion that there are multiple “right” answers.   
  • Cohesiveness – Systems build cohesiveness and galvanize stakeholders around a common purpose and shared commitments.  They ensure that the priorities, activities and work align with the mission and purpose of the organization.

What do you do to promote systems thinking?  What additional benefits arise when effective systems are in place?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s