Understanding how various solutions affect different stakeholders
WHAT IS IT?
Systems Thinking is the ability to take into consideration how decisions affect various stakeholders within a community. Leaders who are adept at systems thinking are able to see complex patterns and future implications of various courses of action. Because systems thinkers are able to understand the interests of other parties, they can usually forecast how others will receive a given solution and adjust trajectory if needed.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
The larger the decision, the more important Systems Thinking becomes. Leaders who can see complex patterns and map the interests of each stakeholder have the ability to create thoughtful solutions to multifaceted problems. They can make decisions that will be the most beneficial for multiple parties. and they can advocate for solutions that will be well-received and actively supported by as many stakeholders as possible.
- Practice Stakeholder Analyses
First, use current problems in your team or organization as example illustrations with which to draw up stakeholder analyses. Consider every group that an issue affects. Explicitly identify who would care about any change in this particular issue. If you prefer not to use your organization as the subject, find an example problem or business case online. Write out a stakeholder analysis and ask for feedback from a colleague. Their perspective may expand your idea of how various community solutions affect others.
- Practice Case Interviews
Case interviews are a common form of assessing decision making skills and analytical thinking. They involve considering the different parties that impact and are affected by certain decisions. Regardless of whether or not you are interviewing, practicing cases is a great way to expand the analytical way you consider to different parties. You are, in essence, practicing systems thinking. Plenty of cases are available online. Practice with someone who has prior experience with cases to get the most out of this experience.
- Diagram Complex Problems
Sometimes the best way to visualize a system is to draw it out. Draw out the issue or topic at hand and the various stakeholders. Stretch yourself to identify everyone who has a direct or indirect link to your decision making. Use words, pictures, and anything else that helps you imagine an issue. Get creative with your visualization. This diagram can look like anything from a geographical map to a football play. Using a whiteboard will likely be easier than pen and paper.