100 Systems Thinking Resources for Leaders

 

© Microsoft

Why is Systems Thinking So Important?

People are made up of systems (circulatory, respiratory, etc.).

Organizations involve people (who are made up of systems) and organizations themselves are systems.

Organizations (which are systems) themselves work within systems (regulatory, legal, etc.).

Those systems that organizations operate within also work within larger societal and global systems.

Thinking in Connections

…Systems and connections are the stuff we and organizations are made of.  To begin to solve today’s complex problems, systemic and connected thinking is the kind of thinking we need to use.

Resources for Learning About Systems Thinking

Becoming a Strategic Thinker on a Daily Basis by Stephen Haines

Resources, Pegasus Communications Inc. Pegasuscom.com

Systems Thinking and Practice The Open University

10 Favorite Systems Thinking Books of the Past 10 Years (Or So) Pegasuscom.com

Systems Thinking and Systems Tools Managementhelp.org

Socio-Technical Systems anniversary and Systems Thinking Resources argentaeurop.wordpress.com

Systems Thinking Elementary School Resources FacingtheFuture.org

Systems Thinking and Dynamic Modeling Books iseesystems.com

Linda Fisher Thornton is Owner of Leading in Context LLC, a consulting firm that provides tools for leading responsibly in a complex world.  She is also Adjunct Assistant Professor of Leadership for the University of Richmond School of Continuing Studies.

Leadership and…Respect: The New Minimum Standard for Workplace Behavior

Respect is the New Minimum Standard for Workplace Behavior

This a themed post featuring earlier Leading in Context™ Blog Posts about respect. Each post illustrates a different way that ethical leaders show respect.  Enjoy!

Leaders are Expected to Build Respectful Cultures

Have you noticed a trend toward more respectful behavior? Customers and employees aren’t accepting anything less. People are helping each other more, and sharing what they know more. They are expecting a higher standard of trust, respect and ethics. Here are some ways that we are expected to respond:

1. Leaders respect others and to teach other leaders how to show respect.

Respecting People and Ideas Fuels Business Innovation

2. Leaders attack issues, never people.

Ethical Leadership Thinking: When We Attack an Issue

3. Treating people with respect builds trust.

5 Unethical Phrases: Low Trust

4. Our views aren’t necessarily the only ones that are “right.”  We must respond to “different” views with an open mind, avoiding the urge to judge, and listening to see what we can learn.

Ethical Leadership: Perceptions of “Different” Impact Our Behavior

Author’s Note: This post may be used as a discussion-starter for leader groups and leadership classes. To use it that way, have each leader read the articles in advance, then discuss what you learned when you gather as a group.

Need more help discussing the issue of respect with employees? Download a Sample from the latest Leading in Context LLC eBook “Different”  at the Leading in Context® Store.  “Different” is a complete leader module designed for use in leadership training or meetings.

Linda Fisher Thornton is Owner of Leading in Context LLC, a leadership development firm publishing about grey areas in what it means to lead ethically in a complex world. She is also Adjunct Assistant Professor of Leadership for the University of Richmond School of Professional and Continuing Studies.

Ethical Leadership Culture: The Case of the Dissenting Senior Leader

The Impact of the Unethical Senior Leader

When organizational leaders are trying to create an ethical culture, sometimes one of the Senior Leaders is not helping or is even blocking their efforts.  The distraction, fear and chaos created by an unethical Senior Leader can drain the company of engagement, creativity and productivity.

Is blocking a company’s efforts to create an ethical culture unethical? You bet. It may be the cause of company failure because of the negative systemic effects that it creates. The systemic effects created by even one Senior Leader leading unethically include loss of trust, loss of employee engagement, loss of customers, lowered productivity, increased complaints, failure of departments to work together, sabotage, blaming, etc…

Correct it Quickly

When a Senior Leader is operating against the best interests of the company and its stakeholders, the problem needs to be corrected by the other Senior Leaders as quickly as possible. How?

Clear Standards for Behavior

First, be sure that you have clear standards for leadership performance that include expectations for ethical leadership. Often companies have leadership standards, but they are vague and/or do not include specific expectations for leading ethically.

If you have clear standards, be sure that the behavior of the disruptive Senior Leaders is specified in the standards as not acceptable. If not, it’s time to change the standards.

Clear Accountability

If you have standards for ethical leadership, and they clearly state that the behaviors used by the dissenting Senior Leaders are not allowed, it’s time to hold the Senior Leader accountable for following the standards.  The individuals who are not following the company’s standards need to be made aware of:

  • the need for the Senior Leadership team to consistently model the leadership that is expected of others
  • the need for an ethical culture to appeal to today’s ethics-savvy consumers
  • the need for consistency and trust that starts with the Senior Leadership Team to be able to attract and keep good employees

Below are some articles about the Senior Leader’s impact on the company and the need for an ethical culture that could be the basis for discussion in Senior Leader meetings.

Articles About the Senior Leader Role in Building Ethical Culture

The Right Thing? Leaders Speak Out on Corporate Ethics CCL.org

The Role of Tone From the Top Ethisphere.com

Leadership, Not Codes, Are True Test of Company’s Ethics Newswise.com

The Importance of Ethical Culture: Increasing Trust and Driving Down Risk Ethics.org Research Brief

Why Trust Improves Both Ethics and Returns BPMMag.net

Author’s Note: This post may be used as a discussion-starter for leader groups and leadership classes. To use it that way, have each leader read the articles in advance, then discuss what you learned when you gather as a group.

Linda Fisher Thornton is Owner of Leading in Context LLC, providing Tools for Ethical Leadership in a Complex Workplace.  She is also Adjunct Assistant Professor of Leadership for the University of Richmond School of Continuing Studies.

Download a Sample from the latest Leading in Context LLC eBook “Different”  at the Leading in Context™ Store for Digital Goods (via Payloadz.com).

Leadership And…Ethical Thinking

5 Things to Remember About Ethical Thinking

This is a Themed Post featuring earlier Leading in Context™ Blog Posts about Ethical Thinking. Each Post illustrates a different aspect of ethical thinking.  Enjoy!

1. There’s a new way we need to make decisions, and it’s not linear.

Five Unintended Consequences of Linear Problem Solving

2. When we blame, we are not taking responsibility for our leadership.

Think Before You Blame: The Culture May be the Cause

3. As leaders, we need to include sustainability as a factor in every decision.

Sustainability is a Mindset, Not a Job

4. When budget drives us, our decisions are not strategic.

Traps in How We Think About Leading: The Case of Focusing Too Much on Budget

5. We need to be thinking broadly, deeply and long-term about our leadership responsibilities.

The Financial Crisis and the Sustainability Crisis Have a Common Cause

Author’s Note: This post can be used as a discussion-starter for leader groups and leadership classes. To use it that way, have each leader read the articles in advance, then discuss what you learned when you gather as a group.

Linda Fisher Thornton is Owner of Leading in Context LLC, providing Tools for Ethical Leadership in a Complex Interconnected Workplace.  She teaches “Strategic Thinking for Leaders” and “Leadership, Conflict Management and Group Dynamics” as Adjunct Assistant Professor of Leadership for the University of Richmond School of Continuing Studies.

Download a Sample from the latest Leading in Context LLC eBook “How Leaders Perceive Different”  at the Leading in Context™ Store for Digital Goods (via Payloadz.com).

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