Are You Used to Thinking Systemically?

by | Mar 20, 2019 | Formation, Systemic change | 1 comment

We talk a lot about systemic change.  What about being a systems thinker? Do we have the habits of systems thinking?

Habits of Systemic Thinkers

According to the Waters Foundation, “Systems thinking utilizes habits, tools and concepts to develop an understanding of the interdependent structures of dynamic systems. When individuals have a better understanding of systems, they are better able to identify the leverage points that lead to desired outcomes.”

If we really want to change the systems that trap people we need to develop our understanding of things such as leverage points.

The graphic, Habits of a Systems Thinker, describe ways of thinking about how systems work and how actions taken can impact results seen over time.  They encompass a spectrum of thinking strategies that foster problem-solving and encourage questioning.

Though “habit” is defined as a usual way of doing things, the Habits of a Systems Thinker do not suggest that systems thinkers are limited by routine ways of thinking.  Rather, the Habits encourage flexible thinking and appreciation of new, emerging insights and multiple perspectives.

To learn about the 14 habits of systems thinking, go to the website and click on each box.
You will see a description, illustration and questions related to the selected habit.

I have written often that Vincent was not a systems thinker but was very much a systems doer. He literally changed systems to the degree that he was described as having changed the face of France. Based on the description of the 14 habits of systems thinking it might be enlightening to see how many of these habits Vincent exhibited.

Thinking about systems

  • How many of these habits would characterize your way of thinking?
  • Which of these habits would help you become more effective in serving people in need?
  • Are you willing to learn some of these skills?

1 Comment

  1. Sr. Marjory Ann Baez, D.C.

    Great graphic and text! Thank you!