pain points:

  • Fixes that fail - agile/digital transformation, re-org, etc: changes don’t stick, fail outright, or have unintended consequences
  • Drifting goals - the goal posts keep moving
  • Shifting the burden - a quick fix only fixes an immediate problem, and doesn’t prevent future, similar problems (no chance for the system to learn and correct) can create an addiction loop
  1. we we taught and use the wrong tools
  2. have no way to visualize connections in the real world
  3. without viewing the connections, no idea how things impact each other

(there’s no representation of running software in space time)

The Problem

When problem solving, the parts dance and intertwine creating a “Gordian knot”—an unsolvable problem.* You make a change but it has no effect, or worse, the opposite effect you intended. It’s as if the system has a mind of its own…

When dealing with people and projects, naive, linear cause-and-effect solutions don’t work well. People and systems behave and interact in complex ways, and rarely in a simple linear fashion.

In an effort to find the “one right solution” we simplify by looking only at the recent event bothering us. We fail to look for patterns of behavior over time. Doing so hides the system structure, and we’re left with the organization chart as our mental model of the company. This means we build incomplete pictures of the problem we’re trying to solve. These pictures often mislead us. When interventions are built on these pictures, they usually fail.

What You’ll Learn

In this workshop, we’ll introduce you to the tools and techniques of Systems Thinking. You’ll use system diagrams to diagnose reinforcing and balancing feedback loops in teams, methods, and organizations.

You’ll practice the steps to thinking in terms of complete systems and in building useful systems diagrams. Topics include:

  • Using Systems Diagrams
  • Discovering the Shape of the Problem
  • Finding Factors That Sustain the Problem
  • Identifying how Factors Interact
  • Diagram Hidden and Powerful Effects


This workshop is available in these formats:

  • Online: three, two-hour, online sessions
  • In-Person: one day-long session

You will learn and practice the steps to thinking in systems and building useful systems diagrams.

Scheduling and Fees

For pricing and to schedule a private workshop, please email us at schedule at growsinstitute dot com with the dates you have in mind.

We have a limited number of public workshops available, follow us on twitter at @GrowsMethod, Mastodon or sign up to our mailing list for upcoming announcements.

* Technically, Alexander the Great didn’t solve the knot, he destroyed it.

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