Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Got a “System” Problem? No Confusion... Just Start!

Systems don’t just reside in the working environment--we have them at home too. Every couple has their systems ‘of work’ that help them operate the family in a way that’s palatable to all. These range from what chores each does, to how and when the shopping and washing’s done.

The world runs on systems. When one system, or a part of a system, falls down it affects other things and tends to bring chaos. Systems are hence there to establish and support order. If the public transport system falls over, for instance, and everyone is late for where they’re going it sends numerous systems and plans into disarray.

The point is systems can not only fail in small ways (producing disarray) they can also be impacted and affected positively in small ways. It’s about ‘joining the dots,’ i.e. joining a few unrelated dots has the circle completed in other, seemingly unrelated, areas and ways.

I learned this quite some time ago using a facilitated method for safety improvement. Improve safety training, for instance, and then we get opportunities to improve the design of work for safety and we encourage communications as well.

Or structure the approach to setting chores for children means they’re not only helping you, their parent, but they’re also not playing as many computer games or ‘getting bored.’ There’s a knock-on effect. These are but a sample of positive spin-offs.

When we attend to issues and problems in one part of any system we’ll inevitably (and inadvertently) raise the profile or attend to issues and problems in areas that were not in sharp focus.

The final point is, just start.

By simply starting and keeping the flow going in a positive sense we engender more and more improvement. And, we know, don’t we, the sky’s the limit.

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