Has she got it?
Well, has she?
This is what I’ve heard people ask, if someone has got it or not. Meaning systems thinking. Of course.
It’s not like getting the measles, I know that, but I’ve been puzzled for a while as to what it actually means. It’s a bit like art or pornography, you know it when you see it but otherwise can’t define it. I know what people mean when they say it, and I say it too, but I couldn’t describe it for people. In a sentence you can write down.
When I was doing the systems thinking fundamentals course with a team, there was a character who was loving it, nodding head furiously, agreeing etc. I overheard them say…
of course this is great stuff, finding out what staff are saying in reality too. We can put what they should be saying into scripts. You can control anything with the scripts, and ALL you have to do is change it once in the main script and everyone gets the same changes. No need to train it out.
They knew enough to see that there were problems, they hadn’t learnt enough to chuck out their old beliefs about controlling people through scrolling words on a computer screen.
They hadn’t yet got it.
That’s what getting it means. Meaning that you’ve learnt that you need to chuck stuff out of your head, because you’ve found it doesn’t work, not just cram more in on top of the old stuff. Another tool in the toolbox? No it’s not that. Its emptying the toolbox onto the kitchen lino and chucking most of them in the bin.
A test for “have they got it?” is “What have they learnt doesn’t work, and what will they stop doing as a consequence?”. That’s getting it.