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Managers today are faced with a lot of challenges in work places, they have to ensure that their organizations are in a status to face the competitive business world. The organization has to be strong enough to survive turbulences of the outside world and also obstacles they encounter, in a more effective and efficient way. Therefore managers must be able to assist their employees develop certain skills and traits that in overall help the organization as a whole to shift to the next level of success. Systems thinking is an essential concept that helps managers of the 21st century to solve complex problems that arise or already exist within an organization.
Systems thinking is an important aspect that organizations should consider since it gives a broader and clear picture of the system as a whole. As a result, the staff is then able to choose solutions to help resolve certain problems in the system, the linkages and interconnection between systems and how it is related to the external environment is examined. Systems thinking is a conceptual foundation that helps us to be able to deal with issues that we face from day to day.
Managers as well as employees come across different issues that require different approaches throughout their careers, whereby they have to apply systems thinking by looking at the entire organisation and also using the picture to find the proper segments in which they can make changes. Focus on the ties that keep the organisation together must be maximized rather than focusing on some parts while neglecting other parts which maybe the same areas that are causing the organisation to fail to accomplish some of its goals. Systems thinking is in fact mostly based on having a ''helicopter view'' or a broad picture of the whole system. Employees working in all areas of the organisation are to be given the chance to share their ideas and also give comments on issues discussed in meetings.
Managers have to value their employees, treating them as assets and not liabilities as a result employees will work whole heartedly and strive to bring out the best for their organisation, lowering the number of problems within an organisation. Managers will be able to know the problems in all segments of the business and with the interaction with employees, they will be able to enhance their understanding and come up with solutions. Developing systems thinking within an organisation, requires all the people involved in the system to take part in tackling various problems ahead of them. Firstly problems causing concern to the management have to be dealt with immediately. While identifying the problem, gathering of supporting materials such as historical reports and also statistical records has to be done, this is to make people making decisions aware of previous situations that the organisation has encountered. For example if the business in the past faced deficits at the end of each accounting period, close monitoring has to be done such as cross checking the balance sheets and also the movements of inventory which may help solve particular problems on why the business had deficits. It does not imply that when problems are solved through the systems thinking approach everything will be dealt with easily. Teamwork helps develop systems thinking, having a shared vision enlightens everyone in the system of where the organisation is planning on heading to. Vision also helps bring innovational spirit and also sustains high energy levels amongst each team member by so doing making work enjoyable and also increasing the level of productivity in the work place.
Managers also have to bear in mind not only the ways in which the organisation has to be interconnected and how it tackles its problems, they have to be able to identify the leverage points which are the influences that are within the system that can cause slight changes to the whole system. There is a way in which certain changes are made to particular influences within the system, but with all other components remaining constant. It helps to notify the impact of changes being made on other elements of the system refered to as sensitivity analysis. Managers must also reinforce sensitivity analysis among employees and the management staff as well because some decisions maybe finalized and put into action without firstly assessing the repercussion of such actions. Later after finalizing decisions they now become aware of how the decision made affects the rest of the system leading to even complexed matters. Some problems occur in relation to one another, if something goes wrong on the left then automatically the right side goes wrong too.
For example customers may have a problem purchasing goods at a certain store, because everytime they went shopping in that store, they always struggled to be assisted when looking for items they wanted. Consequently customers then shifted to go buy goods in a store near town which is quite far from their residential area. The reason why customers choose the store near town was not because the store close to the residential area did not have the goods they wanted but mainly because their identity as customers was not recognized. The owners of the shop would respond by loading more stock into the shelves thinking there are some goods that customers want but they do not have. When using the Systems thinking approach the shop owners should not have only identified the isolated problem of customers shifting to buy elsewhere but should have also looked at interconnection of certain factors, maybe say the type of customer service they offer and the interaction they have with their customers as well as the goods they offer. Systems thinking helps bring about the negatives and also positives pertaining the issue at hand. If the shop owners had developed systems thinking they would have attempted the problem by looking at the bigger picture and not using the parts that lead to the core problem. Looking at the bigger picture is the main factor behind systems thinking, because it makes understanding issues better and less complexed. Many organisations usually use the same style of approaching matters whilst they know it does not bring any better outcomes, thinking hard usually does not bring results but changing the way we think and restructuring our programs, policies and practices within the system. The organization will then have a clear path on where they are heading to.
Developing systems thinking in businesses is important because challenges that managers are facing need strategic planning and also thinking inorder to perform the daily routines of the business. Relying on the techniques that were used back then is not worth it now because those skills and also techniques that were used in that era cannot be used to resolve problems of the 21st century, managers have to now come up with ways in which they will be able to deal with different problems of today, building an organization that is innovative is another task for managers because having people with low energy levels and also hopeless does not take the firm anywhere but rather brings a lot of chaos within the organization. Therefore the management should be extra careful when recruiting its staff because hiring the wrong people brings more calamities into the organisation, so hiring and also keeping the right people is one essential step in helping the business flourish. When a business has the right people, they can work together in achieving their mission and also goals.
There are times when managers fail to develop systems thinking in their employees, this will shatter most of the business's dreams, the staff will be unable to appropriately solve problems they encounter because they do not have the right skills to tackle complexities. Employees will usually make decisions they feel will help the business but not looking at how hazardous their decisions maybe. An organisation with no logical way of solving problems, mostly collapses and makes losses because problems are not embraced correctly. The organization faces downturns in their total sales because of lack of executive support and also unclear objectives. Employees need to be motivated by their leader, he or she has to show the rest of the business the way forward. Without systems thinking long term goals may be shattered down because employees together with the management have no hope to reach the time period they have allocated due to the chaotic situations taking place in the organisation, as a result productivity levels continue to drop. The outside world is too competitive that once a mistake is done and no corrective measures taken, the business will lose more of its customers even loyal ones as well which may be difficult for the business to win them back. Managers have to also be creative and innovative to avoid short term mentality, where they would only aim for the short term goals and not looking at the future and its potential to maximize profits. Short term mentality is another obstacle for managers to get rid of because it can shatter most of the plans that the organisation is planning to achieve. Building an organisation where innovation is the key term helps take the business a thousand miles because, having an innovative cultural way of living brings more and more new ideas that differentiate the organisation from its rivals because of the standard at which its utilising and also producing its goods and services. Within the organisation a strategic mind set has to be built since it helps employees and also the managers to think in a certain way on how to accomplish the company's mission and also ways of staying competitive in the long run.