Systems Thinking: A Series by Andy Lipok

The purpose of the series of articles you are about the read is primarily to enable you to investigate and indeed apply new or different approaches to how we make our work, work better for staff and customers, and thus to return the essentials of our humanity into all our organisations.

Andy Lipok

The place to start, when managing change, is to understand the ‘what and why’ of current performance as a system. We call this ‘starting at ‘check’. When you know the ‘what and why’ of performance as a system, you can see two things – what is possible and what is stopping you from achieving it. The three steps in managing change are Check – Plan – Do. 


  • What is the purpose of this system?
  • What are its core processes?
  • Capability – what are the system and its processes predictably achieving?
  • System conditions – why does the process or system behave in this way?


  • What needs changing to improve performance?
  • What action could be taken with what predictable consequences?
  • Against what measures should action be taken (to ensure the organisation learns)?


  • Take the planned action and monitor the consequences versus prediction and purpose.

And then go back to check, working through the cycle of continuous improvement, what Deming and others referred to as aiming for perfection!


Six articles to introduce Systems Thinking:

  1. Systems Thinking: Purpose

  2. Systems Thinking: Establishing Purpose

  3. Systems Thinking: Demand

  4. Systems Thinking: Measures

  5. Systems Thinking: Flow

  6. Systems Thinking: The System


Why I got into Systems Thinking in the first place

Throughout my career in business I always wanted the organisation and its people to achieve massive performance improvement and to get employees wholly engaged in their work. I’ve worked in Human Resources from the most junior to senior roles for almost 20 years, in line management for 3, and as a business consultant for about 10 years. During those years I worked with HR Managment best practice, Investors in People, Lean, 6Sigma, the Business Excellence Model, etc. For about 80% of my career I had the right intentions, the right attitude, the right motivation…but the WRONG ‘thinking’!


In 2002 I came across a video of a conference John Seddon the MD of Vanguard had hosted in Edinburgh. I was so impressed with what he said, I bought and read his books, met with him and others in his organisation, saw the transformation they delivered, and it simply blew my mind! What he said struck such a harmonic chord with me, I realised then that I must have been a systems thinker all my life, but had never had the words or concepts with which to articulate these things. I’ve certainly changed my thinking about the nature of the organisation, the role of management and what motivates people, and I wish for everyone in places of work everywhere to do the same. Systems Thinking is now my passion!

People can contact me via the details here:

Andy Lippok Resolis Associates Ltd.

E-mail: [email protected]

Mob: 07795 682570

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