Presentation on theme: "The Laws Of The Fifth Discipline. Ever have a bump in you carpet? Sales are off. Why? Why are drug related crimes up? Solutions that merely shift."— Presentation transcript:
Ever have a bump in you carpet? Sales are off. Why? Why are drug related crimes up? Solutions that merely shift problems to another part of the system are often undetected. Why? Those who “solve” the first problem are different from those that inherit the new problem.
Ever read Orwell’s “Animal Farm”? The horse Boxer always had the same answer to any difficulty ◦ I will work harder At first it’s inspirational Gradually this backfires in subtle ways ◦ The harder he worked, the more work there was to do
Managers will “use” and manipulate people for personal gain This blinds others from seeing what’s happening as well “Compensating Feedback” ◦ When well intentioned interventions bring responses from the system that offset the interventions
The more effort you expend trying to improve something, it seems the more effort is required Such as? ◦ Low income housing ◦ Food aid overseas ◦ Marketing campaigns ◦ Smoking ◦ The “mama’s boy”
So we push the system harder Glorifying the suffering of having to work so hard Blinding ourselves to how we’re contributing to the problem
Compensating Feedback usually involves a delay ◦ Time lag between short term benefit and long term disbenefit “Political Decision Making” ◦ Counterproductive; not based on intrinsic merits of alternative courses of actions ◦ Looking good ◦ Pleasing the boss ◦ Building your own power base
Eventually ◦ THIS is why systemic problems are so hard to recognize Initial improvement Maybe the problem even disappears Months? Years? The problem will return, or a new one will replace it ◦ And by this time someone new is in charge ◦ So here we go again…
So there was this drunk… We find comfort applying familiar solutions to problems Pushing harder on familiar solutions while the fundamental problem persists, or worsens BFH “What we need here is a bigger hammer!” syndrome
Sometimes the familiar solution is not only ineffective; it’s addictive and dangerous Alcoholism ◦ Simple social drinking used as a cure for low self esteem or work stress The consequence is more and more of the “solution” in non systemic solutions Think “Shifting The Burden” ◦ Government intervention programs ◦ Mama’s boys ◦ Ability to do math ◦ Writing
In business we bring in “consultants” ◦ Over time the intervener's power grows, be it a drug, alcohol, military budget over an economy Any long term solution must “strengthen the ability of the system to shoulder it’s own burdens” Instead of offloading HR issues to the HR department, maybe you should….? ◦ Learn how to deal with people!
Give me a “for instance”… ◦ The tortoise and the hare All systems have optimal rates of growth ◦ And it’s FAR less that ASAP! ◦ When growth becomes excessive… The system slows down These Systems Laws can become an excuse for inaction! A little knowledge is a dangerous thing Don’t do “nothing”; Do something different. Think of the System as a whole
The “effect” is easily seen ◦ Drug abuse, unemployment, starving children, falling orders, sagging profits The “cause” may not be anything close to the effect! If there’s a problem with: Fix: Manufacturing LineManufacturing Meeting Sales Targets Sales Incentives or Promotions Inadequate HousingBuild More Houses Inadequate FoodGet More food
In the Beer Game players eventually discover the problem lies… ◦ Correct; within ourselves The first step is to let go of the notion that cause and effect are close in time and space.
- - But The Areas Of Highest Leverage Are Often The Least Obvious Systems Thinking teaches us that… actually, you tell me… ◦ The most obvious solutions don’t work. At best they improve matters in the short run, only to make things worse in the long run ◦ But there’s another side
- - But The Areas Of Highest Leverage Are Often The Least Obvious Small well focused actions can sometime produce significant improvements, IF they’re in the right place. LEVERAGE The hard part is that high-leverage changes are usually highly nonobvious ◦ Not close in time and space
- - But The Areas Of Highest Leverage Are Often The Least Obvious What are trim tabs? Airplane flaps?
Very unobvious… yet EXTREMELY effective! Think “structure” rather than “events”.
Sometimes, the problem really isn’t ◦ It’s all in the view Better/quicker/cheaper… pick 2 Basic improvements in work processes can… Remember the delay found in system results and inputs? You CAN have each
You have to wait for one to catch up while you work on the other Initially, quality and costs may both go up But they will catch up to the system Anyone ever diet? Join a gym? Real “leverage” lies I seeing how to improve both, or the overall SYSTEM, over time
Does not produce two small elephants Three blind men approach an elephant… ◦ The first grabs an ear ◦ The second grabs the trunk ◦ The third a leg The Principle Of The System Boundary The interactions than must be examined are those most important to the issue at hand. Regardless of the organizational boundaries.
Does not produce two small elephants Why is this principle difficult to practice in organizations? ◦ Rigid internal divisions ◦ Leaving problems behind for someone else to clean up Most companies, people, do divide the elephant in half… The result is?
Stop thinking of whom, or what, to blame There is no “outside”, no “someone else” You and the cause of your problems are part of a single system The “cure” lies in the relationship with your “enemy” Who’s the enemy? ◦ Not “you” in total, just our way of thinking