Systemic Thinking an Essential Tool for Leading in a Complex World

Only a few years ago the term systemic was one that rarely occurred in news reports and only occasionally in technical and academic articles. Today it rolls off the tongue of President Obama and other world leaders at regular intervals as they reflect on world issues and the approach required to address them.

The change has been brought about by the realization that thinking and working within narrow perceptions of the world has failed. We cannot make significant improvement in complex issues from a single worldview. Agencies working to address these complex problems need to meld multiple perceptions, identify emergent patterns of relationships and scope the consequences of their actions.

The knowledge and skills to do this work is called Systemic Thinking and Practice.

Systemic Thinking is a method based on systems thinking that utilizes experiential learning to make sense of complex issues. Systemic Practices incorporate techniques for bringing the knowledge of many different disciplines and worldviews into a single dataset; identifying emergent insights through which improvements can be levered, and assessing/enhancing resilience to the risks associated with future uncertainty.

At the Center for Systemic Leadership we have crafted learning programs for people who seek to be at the forefront of working with complexity. All of our leadership programs include systemic thinking and practice as foundational units and they are applied to the complex issues each participant is facing.

Whether it’s just you or your team who needs to manage and give leadership through working with complex issues, contact Leslie Loy at the Center and she will be pleased to discuss how we can best respond.

Bruce McKenzie is the Associate Director of the Center for Systemic Leadership. He holds a degree from the University of Melbourne, a Post-Graduate Diploma in Urban and Regional Planning, and a Masters Degree in Systemic Development from the University of Western Sydney. He is also an accredited “Cognitive Edge” practitioner. He currently contributes to University Ph.D. programs at Akershus University College in Norway and chaired the committee as the first group of PhD candidates defended their dissertations. He has been involved in building Master’s programs in business and systemics at University of Liverpool’s School of Management and Open University in the UK as well as Dominican University of California’s GreenMBA and Macquarie’s Graduate School of Management (Executive Leadership Program).

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