3rd Oct 2013: What is systems thinking? by Fiona Savage

W. E. Demming

Come along to The Counting House at 7pm for a talk by Fiona Savage. Enjoy meeting someone new and sharing a crust of bread. Click here for details

Name of speaker and subject:

Fiona Savage

Title of talk:

What is systems thinking?

Summary of talk

Systems thinking offers you a powerful new perspective. Systems thinking is a way of understanding reality that emphasizes the relationships among a system’s parts, rather than the parts themselves.  Based on a field of study known as system dynamics, systems thinking has a practical value that rests on a solid researched foundation and case studies and has been adopted by forward thinking organisation, but they are few and far between.
Systems thinking verses reductions thinking, the latter  creates an inordinate waste within our organisations especially in the public sector. In particular we waste the potential of our people, plus financial wastage and results in poor customer service, we cannot afford this waste.  A massive opportunity is open to us But only if; We are prepared to THINK differently
The Christie report Scotland 2011 did a great analysis however it lacked a method for sorting thing out ie the Christie report estimated that failure demand was at least 40% across the public sector in Scotland. (Demand caused by a failure to do something or do something right for the customer first time)
The fundamental cause of the problem is our  current management structures which is underpinned by Command and Control structure.  Early proponents of this style of management were Daniel McCallum, Henry Ford and Fredrick Taylor; three Americans who were all born before the American Civil War! It was appropriate to their time where people were coming off the land and were not instilled with the 9-5 discipline of the modern working world. Later the  Command and Control structure introduced targets and KPI and as the Which Banking Report demonstrates  (see below link ) .the targets become the standard against which the organisation measures its self not the customer.

Suggested you-tube links, websites and / or texts where
further information may be found:

Which Banking Report

Deming’s Red Bead Experiment:

A few words about you and your passion:

Deming and others showed that when you look at the performance of an organisation (however you measure performance), about 85% to 95% (one can argue pointlessly about the precise figure but the scale is key) is due to the system, i.e. the way the work works and is designed. That leaves roughly only about 10% that is due wholly or in the total control of the person doing the work. How often have you heard people say in their 1:1 appraisal “that goal was out of my total control to deliver”. Think about the profundity of what Deming discovered and taught for many years, but which we have ignored to our great organisational, societal and human cost. This is because we have focussed on the wrong problem. It’s not the people but the system.

Deming, John Seddon in Vanguard, Senge, Ackoff, Scholtes, and countless others have demonstrated many times over that you need to get people to begin recognising the organisation as a system, understand human motivation (Dan Pink), look at the design of the work from the outside in, and focus on what is the real purpose and what matters to the customer. Then you simply get the people who do the work to re-design the work in order to achieve purpose and what really matters, and what happens is almost magical! Service improves, costs reduce, morale increases, and the culture change happens for free. At no time do we do anything to the people, we simple get the people to work on the work.