Strategic and systems thinking are interrelated and interdependent. Technology initiatives, especially complex ones, rely on both. Avoid drowning in the gaps between them. Build bridges with strong collective decision making.
Teamwork is a strategic decision. –Patrick Lencioni
In our last article, we explored strategic thinking. In this article, we’ll examine systems thinking as collective decision making. Successful initiatives depend on both strategic and systems thinking — they are interrelated. To be honest, I find them difficult to extricate because they meet similar needs.
Both conceptualize circumstances as ecosystems, evolving holistically from a present state to a future state. Both predict how changes in one area will impact, positively or negatively, the whole. Both seek to optimize those ecosystems.
Strategic and systems thinking are also interdependent. Strategies manifest as systems and systems embody a strategic purpose. The system’s priority is work that is valuable to that purpose.
They are merely divergent points of view. Oversimply, strategic thinking focuses on Why and What. Systems thinking looks at How. Both, in their own way, value emergence: the whole becoming greater than the sum of its parts.