Dear Santa, All I want for Christmas is a pony

You’ll not like this, but you’re not getting a pony for Christmas.
You’re also not going to persuade your organisation to go systemsy. 

You’re not going to get managers to ditch targets.

You’ll not be introducing control charts throughout the organisation, there’ll not be a mass burning of dashboards. 

Just not going to happen. 

Doubt me? Well did it happen last year? 

The thing with going systemsy is it seems so obvious, that SURELY EVERYBODY will join in when they hear about it? 

This is an example of the Focussing Illusion. When something appears REALLY IMPORTANT because you’re thinking about it.

Thing is, nobody else is thinking about it.

“The Focus Illusion can be summed up in a single sentence: Nothing in life is as important as you think it is when you are thinking about it.” —Nobel Prize-winning psychologist and economist Daniel Kahneman

In systemsy thinking, there’s loads of stuff on how to get people curious, on intervention theory, on how people learn and change etc. 

What there isn’t, is anything about how to drum your fingers, bite your lip and bide your time whilst nothing changes. 

You could say that’s not really within the remit of systemsy thinking, which is about change. It’s more within the remit of psychology or philosophy. How to put up with stuff is the foundation of Buddhism, Stoicism etc and I reckon any introduction to systems thinking should touch on it to some degree, cos whilst you’re all excited about getting a pony, Santa ain’t getting you a pony. 

So on that characteristically bleak but truthful point, have a Merry Christmas and a pony-free New Year from us all at ThinkPurpose!

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4 Responses to Dear Santa, All I want for Christmas is a pony

  1. Bob Ainsworth says:


    Merry Christmas


  2. Chris says:

    “What really frightens and dismays us is not external events themselves, but the way in which we think about them. It is not things that disturb us, but our interpretation of their significance.”
    ― Epictetus


  3. biddly says:

    to be fair TP, once you’ve listened to the NHS saying that all the delays in hospital are the fault of social care for the umpteenth time, whilst merrily contracting out their transport arrangements and keeping the pharmacy on standard hours you develop a form of stoicism, happy new year


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