Systems Thinking and ROI LO13626

Richard C. \ (
Thu, 15 May 1997 20:22:16 -0700

Replying to LO13601 -- wrote:

> I find myself in a quandary. We have built a Systems Thinking workshop
> and conducted it, say, a dozen or more times. We ask the participants to
> come prepared to work on a complex problem (bring one along if they have
> one in mind), and then engage another two or three people from the class
> to work with them.
> But lately we have begun to get questions along the lines of, 'Well, this
> was certainly enjoyable but my manager will never buy this unless I can
> show some hard dollar returns. I have to show some tangible benefit.
> Have you got any examples where you can demonstrate that engaging in a
> systems thinking effort to examine a complex problem has resulted in clear
> dollar savings?'


my experience is admittedly limited to the self-directed teams I help to
develop consisting of business support teams at four behavioral health
offices (a total of 24 staff). We first created a cadre of team coaches
(4 leadworkers) and began immersing them into systems thinking through
workshops in Senge's fieldbook and other sources. A year after we began
the process, these teams have become relatively autonomous, yet are very
systems and customer conscious. The payoff--the elimination of a middle
manager FTE (in our little nonprofit, worth about $35,000/annually). The
cadre work to problem solve among each other and "supervision" is minimal
and removed to a higher management level. Morale, productivity,
relationships have all improved. They still have much work to do, but
I've been real impressed with the results--and the pay off.

Richard C. "Doc" Holloway, Limen Development Network -

"I am myself and my circumstances." Jose Ortega y Gasset

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