Seeing the Forest for the Trees A Manager's Guide to Applying Systems Thinking

ISBN-10: 185788311X

ISBN-13: 9781857883114

Edition: 2002

Authors: Dennis Sherwood

List price: $35.00
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'Seeing The Forest For The Trees' provides managers with all the tools and techniques they need to apply systems thinking successfully. Many practical examples are included.
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Book details

List price: $35.00
Copyright year: 2002
Publisher: Nicholas Brealey Publishing
Publication date: 7/11/2002
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 228
Size: 6.25" wide x 9.00" long x 1.25" tall
Weight: 0.616
Language: English

Prologue: What is systems thinking?
Systems thinking is a big idea
So what is systems thinking all about?
Why systems must be studied as a whole
The systems thinking toolkit
The benefits of systems thinking
How the book works
Taming Complexity
The systems perspective
Emergence and self-organization
Systems thinking
On with our journey...
Carrying the back office rock
The story
The context
The issue
A diagrammatic representation
Enriching the diagram
What happens as a consequence of error?
A nasty vicious circle
What else drives the ability to cope?
But what about cost?
There's still one thing missing...
Back to wisdom
Quality, creativity, and cutting costs
The story
The context
The picture
Another nasty vicious circle
What should we do?
Who's right?
Deciding policy
Tools and Techniques
Feedback loops
The central role of feedback loops
Reinforcing loops
Balancing loops
Dangles, boundaries, and real systems
There are only two types of link--the S and the O
Distinguishing between reinforcing loops and balancing loops
The two fundamental building blocks
The importance of language
Are all links always either an S or an O?
Fuzzy variables
Ss and Os that work in one direction only
A final thought
The engines of growth--and decline
Vicious and virtuous circles
Vicious and virtuous circles really do have the same structure
The engine of growth
Patterns of growth
Exponential growth becomes very fast
Explicit and implicit dangles
Boom and bust
Reinforcing loops can be linked
Setting targets, seeking goals
More on balancing loops
Balancing loops in business
Balancing loops are often linked
Balancing loops and time delays
What is the definition of variance?
Time to reflect
How to draw causal loop diagrams
Know your boundaries
Start somewhere interesting
Ask "What does this drive?" and "What is this driven by?"
Don't get cluttered
Use nouns, not verbs
Don't use terms such as "increase in" or "decrease in"
Don't be afraid of unusual items
Do the Ss and the Os as you go along
Keep going
A good diagram must be recognized as real
Don't fall in love with your diagrams
No diagram is ever "finished"
Stimulating growth
In real life, exponential growth does not go on for ever
Breaking through the constraints
The growth of urban populations
The context
The dynamics of population growth
Driving economic prosperity
Urban growth doesn't go on for ever
The final causal loop diagram
The moral of this story
Don't pedal harder, take the brakes off
Decisions, teamwork, and leadership
The talent problem
The senior executive's perspective
The star's perspective
The perspective of the more junior staff
What is the best policy?
But that's all so obvious, isn't it?
Mental models
Outsourcing, partnering, and cross-boundary conflict
How the world looks to the buyer
How the world looks to the contractor
Is there a better way?
The systems perspective
Levers, outcomes, and strategy
How are the levers and the outcomes connected?
Levers, outcomes, and systems thinking
Levers, outcomes, and loops
Connecting the loops
The last link
What about the other levers?
A general business model
The big picture
Encouraging ambition, vision, and imagination
How to be creative
Back to levers and outcomes
Public Policy
Systems thinking also applies to matters of public policy
Back to population
What are the consequences of economic activity?
What is the structure of this system and how does it behave?
Global warming
Linking the loops together
The impact of storms
The four horsemen ride again
This goes way beyond global warming
What should we do?
How to Build a "Laboratory of the Future"
Turbo-charging your systems thinking
System dynamics
System dynamics and spreadsheets
Stocks and flows
Stocks and flows in business
Two more unifying concepts
Causal loop diagrams and plumbing diagrams
Modeling in ithink
Modeling business growth
A business example
Fuzzy variables
Models for answers, models for learning
Managing the marketing mix
What policies would you invoke to optimize the business?
Is the 80:20 split the best deal?
Epilogue: Complexity tamed
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