The most intractable, hard to fix problems in organizations have three things in common:
• They span the entire organization -- not just one department
• There is no "bad guy" -- the causes are complicated and hard to pin down
• They are very hard to diagnose -- you think you have a solution here, but then the problem reappears over there
That's because these problems are systemic -- their causes are cyclical and cross departments and functions. Analyzing the problem from the point of view of one department is like the blind man describing the elephant -- woefully incomplete.
In this series, we discuss the fundamental tenets of systems thinking, as well as the classic archetypes that recur again and again in organizations. We connect these to the real world with examples drawn from both industry and the news.