This is an old post, but if you’re going to read one of my posts read this one, especially if you’re new to systems thinking and it sounds interesting . It’s not necessarily a warning, but it seems to be a common experience, as it’s by far the most read of any of anything else I’ve typed , with ten times more views than the second most read post and seemed to strike a chord with a lot of people, which is why I’ve promoted it to the front page.
Here’s seven things you’ll have to put up with if you start getting curious and learning.
- You’ll still work in command-and-control land. Everything around you won’t have changed but you will have. This causes a huge disconnect. You’ve just joined another organisation-the real one.
- No-one else will understand what you are on about. At all. Give up talking about work, other people will be using a different mental model to you, you will have different frames of reference, different vocabulary, different assumptions and different conclusions.
- Performance reviews will be impossible. You’ve learned that about 95% of performance is down to the system you are in and not you. Try and talk usefully in a performance review now, go on. If you know what to say and what not, please tell me in the comments below as I don’t have a clue. Performance reviews will still go on, and you will still be in them.
- KPIs, unit costs, benchmarking, targets, robust project plans, key priorities, strategic priorities, key strategic priorities. All of this will still be around you and you will have to pretend they exist, like unicorns or Santa Claus. Good luck!
- Are you a leader? If so, keep at it! Leadership is exactly about this. Shaping purpose, principles and facilitating method. If not, then you’re pushing a snowball uphill with your nose.
- “oh, we tried that last year”
- Genuine unhappiness. You might be dis-satisfiedwith the way things are, you may know that ISO/Lean/6 sigma/whatever is a pile of crap. But knowing WHY it is a pile of crap and how it could be made better, and not being able to effect that change…that is the thing that will make you properly unhappy. Genuinely and for the foreseeable.
But you don’t have any choice. Curiosity is it’s own master.