Applying Systems Thinking
Discussion: Applying Systems Thinking
Imagine you are the manager of a unit that handles custom projects for a large manufacturer. Although your unit is small, it is highly visible because it produces unique and complex components. Recently, some performance problems began to surface in your unit. Your team has always done well, so this is very concerning. A colleague suggests using gap analysis to identify issues that you may not have seen using other tools. You are skeptical—could this work in such a unique unit? Your colleague gently suggests that perhaps your problems are not so unique. Using systems analysis tools, such as gap analysis and feedback loops, you may find that the problems in your unit fit a pattern—a pattern that other managers have addressed with proven solutions.
Gap analysis can be applicable to systems in all types of organizations. For example, as you review the case study “Starbucks: Delivering customer service,” consider the issues related to customer satisfaction facing Starbucks. Consider how systems thinking might provide insights. Think of changes you might make to the company’s processes that may offer improvements.
By Day 3
Post the following:
A description of the root causes that are creating negative outcomes at the Starbucks, based on both a “5-Whys” and a basic systems analysis (Hint: Refer to the Weekly Briefing for more information about a basic systems analysis.)
A specific explanation, based on your systems analysis, of how you would improve the system (for example, this could include ways to eliminate negative feedback loops or other negative branches of the system)
A description of the lessons you learned from this case study and how those might apply to your organization or one with which you are familiar
Be sure to attach your Word document (or other document/image) that includes your diagrams with a summary analysis, so that your peers can review and learn from your work.