Appreciating Systems

Appreciating Systems for Genuine Efficiency
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Autonomy dynamic model (#systemsthinking from @doingwhatworks article)

SD Analysis of Autonomy

SD Analysis of Autonomy

Reading Coert Visser’s blog post “People prefer to choose for themselves what they initiate and they want to control as much as possible what they do“, I decided to give it a shot at modelling what comes to my mind using my preferred tool of choice: Vensim.

The first analytical thinking through a problematic autonomy situation would be that people’s desire and actions to increase their autonomy is motivated by Others’ action. “Their faulty behavior against me motivates and authorizes my reacting to it“.

Of course, from the view point of others, the same thing happen with us (‘A‘ in the attached diagram).

So, although each actions from A or other tend to reach an equilibrium toward one’s own autonomy desired level (loops B1 and B2), the connection between actions (center of picture, R1) creates an overall reinforcing dynamical structure where A and Others are competing for their autonomy levels. In the end, it’s more than probable that all will loose: a typical loose-loose situation resulting from a “win-loose” mental model.

So, I added, as a proposed solution, that an overall external loop (in dotted lines on the diagram) be added where A and Others exchange on their similar desire to achieve some autonomy, and do listen to and respect the corresponding desire of the partner. In doing so, they might lower their desired autonomy level but in the mean time counter balance the negative and reinforcing loop of their action and we could hope that they reach some form of win-win equilibrium.

That solution can only exist if Dialogue is possible between A and Others.

How are you communicating about problematic situations in your organization? Do you talk them through or do you complain, finger point to one another and stick to phone and mail to fire reactive actions to one another?


“A model of success” from @doingwhatworks (#systemsthinking )

Success to the Successful systems archetype wikimedia commonsCoert Visser, again, gives some interesting insights with regards to self-reinforcing feedback of success and virtuous circles of the kind in his blog article: DOING WHAT WORKS: A model of success.

I’d like to also point to the Systems Thinking / Dynamics archetype of Success to the Successful (click on the CLD link to see a schematic representation) where, once someone achieve a result, he gets more visibility and maybe more resources to continue its successes, to the detriment of possibly others.


#Changement, #Lean et #systémique: Les comportements d’évitement comme résultat d’une double contrainte

Pour une fois, je me permets un article en français. J’aimerai rappeler cet excellent papier portant sur la théorie de la communicationde l’école de Palo Alto (qui a appliqué la systémique à la communication). Il y est question de la possibilité que certains comportements d’évitement soient le résultat de l’existence d’une double contrainte.

La théorie de la double contrainte a été proposée par l’école de Palo Alto et notamment Gregory Bateson.

L’article joint ci-dessous explique comment ce comportement d’évitement peut être émergent à une situation de double contrainte. Le résultat, vu de l’extérieur, est ce que l’on appellerait de la “résistance au changement”.

Je ne vais pas répliquer le papier dans ce post mais je vous invite à le lire (c’est en français pour une fois !) et à voir comment cette situation ne pourrait pas être une explication au manque de résultat en matière de changement Lean (par exemple).

Le papier a été écrit par Olivier Millet d’Interaction et ChangementsLes comportements d’évitement – opportunité ou fléau.

Carl Rogers concepts #mindmap: a reminder of coaching attitude for #change and #Lean #management

I’ve just uploaded a mindmap out of material I’ve scouted on the net: Carl Rogers concepts MindManager Map.

I find Carl Rogers position toward people very interesting and something terribly necessary to have in mind when considering changing organizations (either using Lean or Systems Thinking), because it reminds us that:

  • things did not occurred out of nothing
  • the system (organization) is perfectly adapted to do what it does (hence the difficulty of changing it)
  • everything currently being done makes sense to the people working inside the system

It reminds me of that Socrates quote: “All I know is that I know nothing“.

All of this is highly impregnated of Systems Thinking stuff: people adapt to their environment (the system around them), which allows them to change it for their own purpose, which will retro-act on themselves. It concludes that people are adapted to the variety of the system around them and, corolarly, that someone outside of the system can’t have the requisite variety. So it’s a necessity to be unconditionnally accepting of the collaborators.

Also, because a change is perceived as a threat (whether consciously or not), a perfectly safe environment must be set up (between the coach and the manager or the manager and the employees) for the new experience to be integrated and make sense of. This environment mwill be in the relationships established between employees and their management.


#Change Resistance as viewed from a #systemsthinking point of view

Thinking to that well talked about subject (232,000 results in google for “Chance Resistance” – quoted included), I decided to give it a shot… The result if the image below (click on it to zoom it).

Systems Dynamics view of Change resistance

Systems Dynamics view of Change resistance

You start in the upper right corner: there a change needed and a suspected resistance to change from the system that needs to be changed. So, the change plan is devised without too much involving the soon-to-be impacted people, to avoid raising their resistance to change. The result, once the change plan is rolled on, is double: a lack of requisite variety of the plan to the impacted people and their local situation and a feeling that everything’s been already decided. Both feelings generate some form of resistance (active in the first case, passive in the second, a form of hopelessness). They add up to form an actual change resistance. This actual resistance then confirms the supposed change resistance and also the measures taken to prevent further resistance.

In the end, this is a nice reinforcing loop or self-fulfilling prophecy.

What can be done to it? Well, a short answer could be to kill the loop by not assuming that there is resistance to change AND do whatever is necessary not to raise this resistance:

  • involve soon-to-be impacted people as early as possible so they can own the process
  • and involve them so they can adapt the required change to their specific variety so that the change is assured to be will fitted to the system to be change

Don’t be afraid of change resistance: just don’t awake it yourself!


The Macroscope by Joël de Rosnay : a book about #systemsthinking

May 18th, 2011 Posted in Systems Thinking Tags: , , ,

The Macroscope, written by Joël de Rosnay is a high level introduction to Systems Thinking. It can be read in english on the Principia Cybernetica web site in HTML version.

As this was not convenient for me, I copied everything in Word and then converted it to PDF for better offline reading (should work in any ebook reader). Here is the link to the file: The Macroscope by Joël de Rosnay.


Reblog: How do I change the culture? (#Lean)

May 4th, 2011 Posted in Lean, Systems Thinking Tags: , , , ,

Michael Ballé has an interesting  (but long) post about his views regarding changing a company culture in order to sustain Lean management. Included at the beginning is some background about him that might light up his stance on Lean that can be read in his two excellent books: The Gold Mine (which got the Shingo Prize) and The Lean Manager.

While I’m talking about Michael, here is the book that got me started on Systems Thinking (written by the guy, of course): Managing with Systems Thinking.

Are You a Sheet or Shelf Thinker? #Lean and #Vanguard

Here is a nice article from Quality Digest author Tripp Babbitt: Are You a Sheet or Shelf Thinker?

I’m not an expert in the Vanguard method, though I recognize it’s an interesting approach and one that focuses on the real place (gemba).

What Tripp mentions in his article is that people trying to improve  should first go and see the place first before trying to do something. And most of all, not blindcopying tools used elsewhere.

What would be the consequences of using tools? Well, pick in the following list, but chances are that all apply:

  • the tool might not be adapted to the actual situation under consideration (from a systems thinking point of view, we would say it does not have “requisite variety”)
  • the tool didn’t grow out of the people’s mind in the actual place. As a consequence, their mind is not acquainted to it: this is how we tag people as being “change resistant”, when the change agent is in fact “people resistant” (or a tool head)
  • applying the tool steal the thinking and the corresponding learning of their own place of the people whom you’re about to subdue with it. What kind of respect in this?
  • trying to apply a tool to a situation which you’re not an expert of (because this actual situation is as different as the other one where you took the tool from just because people are different, along with the environment, organization, etc. Different variety, that is) will make you look arrogant and pretending you have the requisite variety (false, of course). Moreover, who said you had requisite variety with respect to the place you took the tool from? Where you an expert there anyway? If yes, you’re not an expert here. If no, that doesn’t make you an expert here and now either.

The Lean coach should make his own this quote from Socrates: “I know that I know nothing“.

Do you?


#Lean and #SystemsThinking: Jeff Liker: Resist your machine thinking! The Lean Edge

Here is an article from renowned Jeffrey Liker about Lean and Systems Thinking.

Jeff Liker: Resist your machine thinking! » The Lean Edge.

To be adapted to your changing environment, you need to constantly adapt your system to it so it features that requisite variety as requested by its environment to achieve the desired purpose. If you don’t, your system’s variety will less and less be adapted to that of its environment, and thus its performance will degrade over time.


#SystemsThinking presented in #french: Université de Bretagne Sud

(for french readers)

Voici une conférence en français qui présente la pensée systémique et le référentiel d’accès à la systémique de M. Bériot. Pour tous ceux qui supportent mes divagations sur la systémique, voici peut-être des explications plus claires 🙂


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