Evelyn Olivares | Whole Systems Thinking
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Whole Systems Thinking

Whole Systems Thinking

Whole Systems Thinking is a way to understand how elements are related, and how they influence one another.

Systems are made up of interconnected components that are grouped together as a whole to achieve a specific goal.

Here are some examples of Systems:

  • Atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere, and geosphere

Or, a simpler System:

  • Students, teachers, parents, administrators

Or, perhaps a more familiar System:

  • Employer, team leader, team members

In Whole Systems Thinking, all Systems are made up of inter-connected parts. In these Systems, the behavior of one part affects another. And furthermore, a change in any part affects the whole System.

Whole Systems Thinking takes a cyclical approach, rather than linear one, to the idea of cause and effect.

In a workplace, this helps us to:

  • Understand relationships between individuals
  • See and understand patterns as cyclical rather than linear
  • Discover how to shift patterns to achieve more effective outcomes
  • Optimize your team’s performance as a whole

When we finally understand the components of a System and relationships between them, we can discover how to shift the System into better patterns to achieve better outcomes.

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