Systems Thinking

System’s thinking is often in high demand but in short supply in today’s corporate world.

System’s thinking is merely working in such a way that all employees maximize the performance of the entire organization through greater self awareness, team work and group integration. Put more simply, every action, behavior and discussion that you and your team ever demonstrate or experience will have a profound effect on your entire division and organization.

If each small team or group can begin to proactively take charge of their performance and productivity while being aware of the overarching objectives of the organization (in other words, without hindering other larger segments of the organization), then you are working in sync and helping both the organization and each individual achieve his or her goals.

System’s thinking allows you to function more effectively, manage in a leaner manner and avoid the subtle unseen constraints that often plague many of today’s organization (poor communication, ineffective teamwork, counter productive leadership, watered down strategic planning with less than desirable execution.).  Only by understanding the Processing underlying each task, can any organization learn not to blame individuals but learn Process mastery.

Process Mastery means:

  1. Becoming conscious of the processes themselves
  2. Gaining control over processes by removing old ineffective processes
  3. Locking in new effective processes that allow the entire organization to achieve its objectives

System’s thinking helps your team to understand the often prolonged cycle time between “cause and effect” so that you stay on track strategically and achieve sustained success.  

With increased international competition, there is a tremendous need to do more with less and to be more efficient whether you are manufacturing a product or simply offering a unique service. There is no longer room for waste and working under the constraints of old fashioned, traditional silo thinking. In order to change this type of less efficient thinking, it is necessary to expose all participants in the organization (at every level) to Systems Thinking. Only when you have total and complete buy-in for change from every level of your organization, will change really happen in a lasting manner that creates Sustained Success.

This can be done through lengthy classroom training or through a series of short powerful interactive experiential exercises combined with powerful debriefing after each iteration. All of the exercises listed below allow entire teams of participant to learn quickly through intense learning experiences and thus understand and apply the power of systems thinking immediately back in the workplace. Experiential learning helps players to absorb and deeply embed the learning quickly through repetition and strong neuron-associative emotional conditioning.

Very simply, everyone gets it quickly and hits the ground running.

This simple but fun oversized team buidling game of Giant Chinese Checkers is much more complex than meets the eye. In order to win, incredible big team integration is required and teams must constantly adapt based on constantly changing participants location, position and priorities.

The chaos that consumes every player in this crazy, big chunk process improvement chicken passing game (plastic or stuffed, no livestock involved) closely resembles the real life work place. This chaos is inescapable until all teams synchronize and work in unity. Process breakdown is inevitable in the workplace but as teams use their creativity, all problem can be overcome, even the presence of loud squawking chickens and other zany animals. A hysterical game that drives home Big team – small team integration in is simplest form.

Enhance process improvement and leadership. Promote risk taking and careful proactive planning. While having FUN!

In this small chunk incremental process improvement game, teams must simply pass a beach ball from one group to the next without “dropping the ball.” Dropping the ball has dire consequences in this game just as in the work place. The simple tasks requires absolute focus and tactical execution to succeed. Each team must manage their own circle of problems as well as look outside of their immediate environment to find best practice solutions. Nothing short of extreme strategic planning and outrageous communication will permit participants to achieve the desired results.

This 3D Tic-Tac-Toe Project Management Strategy Board Game starts out with a very simple task of playing a 3 D version of Tic-Tac-Toe and adding layers of complexity. Suddenly when you least expect it, this simple fun game takes off with rocket power and transforms info an increasingly complex systems thinking matrix-driven task that will stump even the highest level management and executives.

This manufacturing simulation looks like a real “nightmare” at first glance but is really much more like reality that most participants would wish to admit. The goal of the game is simply to produce as many quality sets of A’s and X’s that meet the proper specifications as physically possible within the time limit.

Each of four teams is given a wheeled mini-cart which is controlled directly by teammates. The only way to prevent "Gridlock" is for the teams to plan together strategically, act as a team, and choose whether to serve their own team or the bigger unit.

In order to visit all the islands in the time allotted in this extremely mentally challenging game, strong clearly defined leadership and powerful follower-ship must be implemented. Bridging the communication gap between team members seems almost impossible unless teams learn quickly how to manage their limited time and resources. In fact, getting from one island to the next can be a futile process closely resembling the corporate world unless there is a clear synchronicity of effort.

In this wild card game of double strategy, players are at the mercy of the special dice and luck of the draw. While trying to achieve the simple task of arranging 10 number cards of any color in ascending order, players must overcome and deal with the impingement of other teams while trying to maintain and execute their own objectives.

Pegged is the most powerful game for learning strategic based system's thinking that I have ever invented. Pegged is at one and the same time, one of our simplest games to learn but one of the most complex games to master. Each team gets its own peg board and must try to complete various predetermined patterns to earn points. This innocuous game is much trickier than it looks at first glance because each team has free will to make choices that affect their own performance and the performance of other teams as well just as in the real day to day workings of the organization.

In this game of logic, teams attempt to put tiles together to form certain predetermined patterns. As each round progresses, an additional tile is added. Although the first few puzzles are simple, the game becomes exponentially more difficult very quickly. The ability to see many possibilities and focused teamwork are necessary to finish first in this unique competition.

High energy "jumping" combined with lots of fun keeps this competitive game moving at maximum speed. With the purely competitive goal of wiping out the other team though traditional checker moves, this game of Three Way Checkers adds a tricky twist: the fact that each team can take multiple offensive and defensive moves on the same turn. In perhaps the most rapidly changing game of all, no one ever knows what to expect next. The only way to survive and win is to control your reactions and make spur of the minute decisions and hopefully strategically relevant moves.

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