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Tue, 23 Apr 2024 Feature Article

A Guide to Systems (Holistic) Thinking – The Art of Seeing the Bigger Picture Even in a Small Matter.

A Guide to Systems Holistic Thinking – The Art of Seeing the Bigger Picture Even in a Small Matter.
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In the book, The Smart Decision Handbook, I describe THINKING as the open-minded and objective processing of information towards effective decision making and informed action.

This definition helps us to see that there is a connection between applying your mind to something before you make a decision.

I am very passionate about the art of thinking and decision making because the decisions you make influences the action you take and this in turn determines the outcome (results) that you get and consequently these results determine your reality or the way you experience life.

Basically, when it comes to decision making, its either you make a wise decision, or you make a foolish decision. A wise decision results in a positive outcome while a foolish decision results in a negative outcome.

Even though it may be everyone’s intention to make a wise decision, some people unintentionally end up making foolish decisions because they lack proper grooming, training, and the thinking tools which enables them to use sound judgement in making critical decisions.

As such, one of the approaches that you can employ in making smart decisions is to use the Systems Thinking approach.

The Systems Thinking approach is basically the broader or multi-directional application of the thinking definition mentioned above since it takes into consideration many things that can be affected by the decision you make in one aspect of your life.

In order for you to appreciate the relevance of Systems Thinking, you need to understand the definition of a SYSTEM.

I describe a SYSTEM as the sum total of components which makes something functionally whole.

Based on this definition, you can see that the failure to see the connection between the issue you are deciding on, and many other aspects of your life or enterprise can cause you to make short-sighted decisions that can temporarily seem to work but backfire in the long run.

When you use the Systems Thinking approach, you will realise that every decision that is made on earth is dependent on the information which you have about yourself and other people as well as about the subject matter you are dealing with and the environment around you.

As such, in order for you to exercise sound judgement in making a decision, the information which you have about yourself and other people as well as about the subject matter you are dealing with and the environment around you must be true or accurate.

No matter how much you may be interested in or excited about something or somebody, if the information you have about that thing or that person is wrong or false, you will make a wrong or foolish decision and thus consequently experience a negative outcome.

Fraudsters, scammers, and conmen are well are aware of the fact decisions and actions are determined by information you have on a certain subject and that is why quite often they nicely package false/wrong information to influence your decision in their favor.

These people manipulate your decisions by short-circuiting your thinking, and as such, the best way to guard yourself against them is to train your mind to properly and broadly process the information you have about any subject on which you want to make a decision.

When I say that fraudsters, scammers, and conman short-circuit your thinking, I mean that they try by all means to ensure that that you do not pay much attention to many things during the process of engagement.

They do this by making sure that you quickly make a decision without careful consideration of many other important aspects of the issue at hand. In short, they don’t want you to connect the dots because they want you to decide without THINKING.

By the words, lack of thinking, I simply refer to the failure to process information open-mindedly and objectively towards effective decision making and informed action.

Lack of thinking which is simply the failure to process information open-mindedly and objectively in decision making is one of the greatest dangers faced by humanity because it makes people to be shortsighted in their decision making.

If you don’t have, or don’t know how to apply thinking techniques, you will make foolish decisions even though nobody is trying to scam you since you won’t notice the need for safeguards to protect you from manipulation or to defend yourself from scoring an own goal.

As a person, you are in constant communication with the people around you and with nature, and thus, you use the information that you get from them to make decisions, and they also use the information they can from you in order for them to decide.

Those who understand the broad spectrum of communication and possess the necessary thinking skills are the ones that tend to make the best and fulfilling decisions in life.

Your understanding of communication must go beyond knowing it as a mere exchange of information.

An understanding of the meaning of communication is important because it is the most significant determinant of the type and quality of decisions that people make in life as seen in the example of fraudsters, scammers, and conman given above.

I describe Effective Communication as the intentional and purposeful exchange of mutually and equitably beneficial data using common and or easily agreeable symbols.

In your communication with other people and your environment, you must use what I refer to as Data Integrity Analysis which deals with the careful analysis and consideration of information before you make use of it.

This includes verifying the source, analysing the purpose of information and the intention of the sender as well as checking the medium used and assessing the quality of the data.

Once that is done, you can therefore approach any subject which you want to make a decision on using what I termed the Smart Decision Toolkit.

The Smart Decision Toolkit is premised on the Fundamental Congruence Checklist which is basically a set of ten questions that helps you to broadly or systematically process information about any subject in order for you to understand it better.

By answering the ten questions on the Fundamental Congruence Checklist, you will be able to open-mindedly analyse critical information towards making informed decisions.

This checklist is a multi-versatile decision-making resource which gives any subject complete and broader attention, and as such, it can be used to gauge the relevance, effectiveness, and impact of anything in life through answering the following ten questions:

  1. What is this thing? Who is this person?
  2. What does he/she/it do and how? – What are the key result areas or objectives and how are they accomplished?
  3. Why does he/she/it do so? – Why are those the key result areas, objective, or purpose?
  4. What happens if he/she/it does do not anything or does not perform as expected?
  5. Where is this thing or person situated in the whole matrix – what position does he/she/it occupy?
  6. Why is he/she/it situated there? – Why is he/she/it occupying that space?
  7. What happens if he/she/it is completely removed, moved somewhere, misplaced or even altered?
  8. Who is in charge of him/her/it and why? – Who makes he/she/it work as planned?
  9. How is his/her/its effectiveness assessed? - How do I or other people know if he/she/it is effective or not?
  10. What happens if he/she/it is effective or not – What are the related consequences?

By using a Congruence Checklist, you will be able to clearly define the purpose of anything and then determine its relevance and interconnectedness to other things which are dear to you in life before you commit your energy, time, and resources to it.

When you don’t ask yourself these ten questions, you are most likely to make impulsive decisions out of emotions (excitement) and do things that are very costly and regrettable.

The ten questions in the Congruence Checklist gives you a broader perspective when you want to make a decision on a certain matter especially on issues which has an effect on your health, time, money and other resources.

For training and assistance on Systems Thinking and on how to effectively use the Smart Decision Toolkit (Fundamental Congruence Checklist), contact Brian on – [email protected]

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