Figure 1 illustrates what needs to happen in order for the flow model to work well. Pay attention to the different shades for the solution blocks. Although there is no one set order, it is usual for the darker ones to come before the others. While many people talk about starting with “low-hanging” fruit, at scale a different approach is needed. This is to start with those items that are feasible that make following items easier to do. Systems-thinking reminds us that all of these changes are interrelated so it is important to attend to both what change people can accommodate as well as what sets up the next win.
Figure 1. What needs to happen in order for the flow model to work well.
Starting with intent
FLEX is based on looking where you are, what your challenges are, what is the intent that those challenges are impeding and only then do we look for solutions. So before going into solutions, let’s look at intentions:
Typical starting points
Here are some next steps to explore.
The figure shows flow and the activities that can help achieve it. But there are other factors that guide our action. These are:
These are added to the diagram as shown below:
The role of management: Middle-up-down management
The role of management is to create the environment within which those people doing the work can get their jobs done in a way that aligns with the direction and goals set by business stakeholders. This is called Middle-Up-Down Management because middle management looks up to the business stakeholders to see the direction and then down to those people reporting them to see how to help them implement that.
A system is an entity with interrelated and interdependent parts; it is defined by its boundaries and it is more than the sum of its parts (sub-systems). Changing one part of the system affects other parts and the whole system, with predictable patterns of behavior. Positive growth and adaptation of a system depend upon how well the system is adjusted with its environment, and systems often exist to accomplish a common purpose (a work function) that also aids in the maintenance of the system or the operations may result in system failure.
The best way to get a better understanding of systems thinking is to watch this 12 minute video: What if Russ Ackoff Gave a TED Talk.
All resources in FLEX Solutions
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