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Tools for Change: Systems Thinking and Mussar Marilyn Paul, Ph.D. National Jewish Day School Conference March 9, 2015 www.bridgewaypartners.com (c) 20141.

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Presentation on theme: "Tools for Change: Systems Thinking and Mussar Marilyn Paul, Ph.D. National Jewish Day School Conference March 9, 2015 www.bridgewaypartners.com (c) 20141."— Presentation transcript:

1 Tools for Change: Systems Thinking and Mussar Marilyn Paul, Ph.D. National Jewish Day School Conference March 9, (c) 20141

2 Goals of this Workshop Give an overview of systems thinking and Mussar Explore some things these approaches have in common Experience Systems Thinking and Mussar through a live example Foster discussion about these approaches Generate clear next steps (c) 20142

3 Learning Community Behaviors Be fully present Be self-responsible and self-challenging Listen, listen, listen and then respond Lean into discomfort Experiment with new behaviors in order to expand your range Commit to working through conflict to its resolution as a catalyst for learning Be crisp and core

4 Systems Thinking and Mussar Disciplines for understanding and change Move from reflex to reflection – cutting through habits of mind and heart Start with a learning orientation – metanoia and hitlamdut Close watching of the mind in action – mental models, heshbon nefesh Interest in current reality – what is true about now Require such character traits as curiosity, responsibility, compassion, courage and patience (c) 20144

5 Systems vs. Traditional Thinking: Acme Co. – One View Time Trends Sal es Effort on New Accounts Billing Errors & Delivery Problems Profita bility Billing errors Late deliveries Excessive sales time on new accounts Systems poorly used Rewrite billing manuals & retrain Install automated delivery routing system Create new account policies Develop new systems and documentation Problem s Solution s

6 Systems vs. Traditional Thinking: Acme Co. – Systems Thinking View Burden on Service Poor Service (billing & delivery problems) Lost Customers (& Sales) Efforts on New Accounts (time per sale) Pledges & Promises: Special Pricing, Non-Stocked Products, Delivery Outside Area Sales Targets

7 appropriate for simple problems Conventional appropriate for chronic, complex problems Systems Two Types of Thinking (c)

8 The connection between problems and their causes is obvious and easy to trace. Others, either within or outside our organization, are to blame for our problems and must be the ones to change. A policy designed to achieve short term success will also assure long term success. In order to optimize the whole, we must optimize the parts. Aggressively tackle many independent initiatives simultaneously. The relationship between problems and their causes is indirect and not obvious. We unwittingly create our own problems and have significant control or influence in solving them through changing our own behavior. Most quick fixes have unintended consequences: they make no difference or make matters worse in the long run. In order to optimize the whole, we must improve relationships among the parts. Only a few key coordinated changes sustained over time will produce large systems change. Conventional Thinking Systems vs. Conventional Thinking Systems Thinking (c) 20148

9 Paired Sharing Describe a difficult situation. What would you like to change about the situation? Or, how would you like it to be different? What factors contribute to the difficulty? (c) 20149

10 Systems Questions What is the problem as we see it now? What do we think the solution is? What might be some unintended consequences of this solution? What are the factors or elements of the problem or concern? How are these elements related or interdependent? (c)

11 Distinguish Different Levels of Reality: The Iceberg Focus Action or Response? Why? Trends and Patterns Structure (Forces and Pressures) Events What happened? React Firefight Anticipate Forecast Change Create What’s been happening? Learning Leverage Policies Processes Power Dynamics Perceptions Purpose 11 (c) 2014

12 Based on the work of Chris Argyris & Don Schon Ladder of Inference

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14 Seeing Our Blind Spots (c) What I am up against (my context) What I am trying to do (my intentions) What I am actually doing (my actions) What effect I have on you (my impact) What you are doing (your actions) What effect you have on me (your impact) What you are up against (your context) What you’re trying to do (your intentions) About Myself About You What I Can See What I Cannot See

15 Seeing Our Blind Spots – We can see what others do and we can feel the impact on us. So we are highly aware of how others contribute to difficulties. We often explain this by attributing negative intentions or motives to them. – We cannot see ourselves as we act. So, although we are aware of what we are trying to do, we are less aware of how we act in the moment (e.g., our tone of voice or choice of wording). And we are often unaware of the impact of our actions on others, because we cannot feel their reactions as we can our own. – These blind spots lead us to hold others responsible for difficulties and to see ourselves as blameless or as justified in acting as we do. These perceptions fuel our impatience, blaming, and anger. (c)

16 Drug Busts Increase Drug-Related Crime: A Fix that Backfires (c) Drug-Related Crime Drug Busts # Pushers and Drug Supply Drug Prices Pressure to Pay for Drugs Quick Fix Unintended and Delayed Consequences

17 Paired Sharing Questions Return to your difficult situation. What would you like to change about the situation? What is your vision for the situation? How would you like things to be? List the elements or factors of the situation. Draw the interdependencies between the factors? (c)

18 Paired Sharing Questions What do you intend, think, feel, do and don’t do in relationship to this change? How might you (inadvertently) be contributing to the difficulty? (c)

19 Mussar Questions What do you intend, think, feel, do and don’t do in relationship to this change? How might you (inadvertently) be contributing to the difficulty? What would you like to change about yourself in order to be more effective in this situation? What character traits would you like to develop in order to be more effective in this situation? Eg. Curiosity, responsibility, compassion, courage and patience. (c)

20 Mussar Principles Created in the image of G-d May we live in ways that bring holiness to our lives Most important is to become a mensch Yestser haRa – Yetser haTov Tiny shifts make a difference over time Every difficulty can offer us beneficial lessons (c)

21 Mussar Practices Become aware of and list character traits – middot Meet in a va’ad Daily journaling – hesbon nefesh Small activities – kabbalot Meditation and reflection – hitbonenut Intensive prayer – hitpailut Guiding phrase - (c)

22 Va’ad Structure Niggun Experiential sharing Journaling Text review Hevruta learning Large group discussion Close (c)

23 Connect with Marilyn Find articles on Bridgeway Partners Website Is Moving Too Fast Slowing You Down? Managing Your Time as a Leader Download the first chapter from It’s Hard to Make a Difference When You Can’t Find Your Keys (Penguin, 2004) at Marilyn’s website


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