The quality of your life, personally and professionally, is based on how you make decisions.
There is the old way and the new way: hint, the new way is actually older than the old way. The indigenous cultures all knew and still know that everything is connected. Somewhere along the way as we became “sophisticated intellectuals” and “rugged individualists” the idea of inter-connection became old-fashioned.
Take business decisions.
Most companies use a variation of the Gap Analysis. First you are supposed to look at where you are; then where you envision you want to be; and finally create a plan to get from here to there. Simple. It’s like: think, vision, execute.
However, there is a missing piece.
It’s about the invisible patterns of behavior that have a nasty habit of repeating and repeating unless a light is focused to see why decisions always end up causing the same headaches and financial issues time after time.
YOU MAKE BETTER DECISIONS WHEN YOU ARE PATTERN AWARE.
In making decisions you are in a better place when you think long range and ask yourself and each other more effective open ended questions that take into account not only what you decide, also how it will have impact into the future.
Take plastic for example.
There is a great scene in the classic film The Graduate where Dustin Hoffman is not sure of where he wants to use his newly minted business skills. At a party one of his father’s friends pulls him aside and smugly says “plastics.” Yup, that’s it. There is money to be made with plastic. And that has proven to be true.
Except now, decades later, we are paying a vast price for the linear rather than systems thinking that was never done.
SYSTEMS THINKING IS NEEDED RIGHT HERE AND RIGHT NOW
Systems thinking, the native Americans knew, meant that we are all in it together with Father Sky and Mother Earth. They taught respect for all living beings including the one-leggeds (the trees) and the four leggeds (the animals).
We went astray and are now at a critical juncture to re-learn what has been forgotten.
George Lakoff, PhD and Professor at UC Berkeley states that systems thinking is not innate, it has to be taught. What is innate is sorting, putting into separate categories of right or wrong, good or bad, like or not like, etc.
Here’s a great recent example of systems thinking: as I watched the opening ceremony of the Olympics in Rio I was struck by the brilliance of the creative directors to offer a powerful visual of how all is connected, systems thinking in action.
Rather than the usual opening ceremony, like the one in London in 2012 where they went about showing how “mod” and cool they are in the UK; or the Chinese spectacular with over the top precision and perfection; the one in Brazil tackled vital issues affecting us around the world today.
In Rio you saw the living conditions in the favelas, the slums that are only five miles from the Olympic Stadium. This is not ordinary stuff of media events.
Not only was poverty front and center. So was the strangling of some of the earth’s major resources in the Amazon rain forest.
I don’t want to be doom and gloom.
However, we need to find a way OUT of the extreme weather we have all participated in creating and the seemingly endless generations of poverty and crime that abound all over this planet. Help to change the patterns that no longer work. Join us to renew the depth of systems thinking. Learn a new way.
The #PatternPioneers movement is gaining traction. It means that each one of us will commit to the way OUT: Observe, Understand and Transform our personal behavior patterns and decide to think long term about what we will leave for next generations.
Commit to one act of change each day. Just one. This will become a new pattern and as we all decide to decide differently, maybe we can save ourselves and this beautiful planet we all need to nourish.