Systems Thinking For Leaders: How To Overcome Team Blindness And Strengthening Collaboration

In systems thinking, increases in understanding are believed to be obtainable by expanding the systems to be understood, not by reducing them to their elements. Understanding proceeds from the whole to its parts, not from the parts to the whole as knowledge does.
Russell L. Ackoff

Organizational life is a like a spider’s web and very complex. As a leader, it is virtually impossible to have one specific method to finding solutions for recurrent problems.  When you are a part of an organization you may find that you have a challenge and eventually you find a solution to solve the challenge. Then suddenly you notice that the old successful patterns of thoughts that assisted you to solve the original challenge is no longer valid.  What may have happened is that the old solution has now become a problem. This will require you to come up with a new strategy and a shift in paradigm in order to address the new challenge.

This is where systems thinking becomes an important asset to your ready set of mental tools.  Systems thinking focusses on how the behaviour of both individuals and organizations can be influenced and change to face new challenges successfully.  Systems Thinking will also focus on recognizing the inter-connectivity amongst the various parts of a system of operation and how these can be synthesized into a successful working system. By mastering the find art of Systems Thinking, leaders can ensure that the ‘whole will be greater than the sum of its parts” and assist in the process of strengthening collaboration. Leaders can use systems thinking to fully appreciate, model, and resolve complex business and human-based issues – without succumbing to unforeseen consequences that might rear its ugly head.  When practising systems thinking, leaders will be able to look at challenging situation with a calm disposition and come up with workable solution that does not cause too much disruption to the current system.

The benefits and returns on investment of this seeing systems workshop is that the participants will be trained in a powerful and multidimensional thinking skill set that can help them to identify and remedy chronic, complex problems – by understanding not only the full extent of the nature of the problem, rather why it is happening.  Leaders trained in Systems Thinking are better able to use the limited resources strategically for best results.  This 2 day result-oriented intensive workshop introduces four distinctive phases of Systems Thinking:

  • Learning to see things in systems and how it affects our thinking
  • Using journey mapping to under how everything fits into a System
  • Taking Action through Systems by strengthening collaboration
  • Influencing Behaviour over time to adapt to the System
  • Identifying and overcoming team blindness by addressing pain points
Course Benefits
  • Risk mitigation
  • Identifying emerging markets and product lines
  • Ability to see potential problems arising and taking steps to manage them even before they occur
  • Using the SWOT analysis more effectively and being result-oriented
  • Conducting effective meetings that are more solution-focused rather than being problem-centric
  • Creating a ‘Take the bull by the horn’ culture and tackling recurrent issues head on
Course Objectives
By the end of the workshop you will be able to:

  • Understand the four types of system blindness in organization
  • Recognize recurring patterns, or archetypes in systems – based on the behaviour of the system over time
  • Journey map the elements in a system and the flows between those elements
  • Identify the causes and effects within a system
  • How to engage stakeholders in collaborative action to influence the outcomes of a system
  • Apply systems thinking principles from the workshop to current challenges faced in your industry
  • Appreciate the nature of chronic and fuzzy problems
Course Outline
Understand what ‘Systems’ are

  • The basics of systems thinking
  • A case study of systems thinking in operation

Seeing Systems and Us – understanding the causal loops and archetypes

  • Why systems works so well
  • Systems Traps and looking for opportunities when systems fail

Creating Change in Systems and in our Structure of thoughts – learning to look at the big picture

  • Understanding the Universal structure of thoughts
  • Application of the universal structure of thoughts in systems thinking

Working with Systems – Taking action for collaborative problem solving

  • Understanding the nature of chronic problem and why it occurs
  • Strategies to overcome and manage chronic problems

Systems Approach to problem space and making decision

Psychology behind strengthening collaboration by seeing systems

  • Individual vs group decision making
  • The Hermann Brain Theory
  • Creating group dynamics

Avoiding Groupthink and a Mexican Standoff

  • What is ‘groupthink’ and how to avoid this?
  • How to manage a Mexican standoff

Endgames – Q & A and quiz to identify what has been learnt to manage Returns on Investment

  • Quiz on decision making
Who Should Attend
This workshop is targeted to business owners and leaders working in any industry. Leaders and managers will be equipped to leverage the powerful perspectives and tools of systems thinking to gain a deeper understanding of their situation – and to find the most impactful point of intervention to stop a downward spiral in performance
Training Methodology
This is a highly interactive and result-oriented workshop with hands on activities to stimulate the thinking process of the participants.  The participants will also be brought through a process of evolution in their thinking methodology such that they should start to see the changes in their thinking process and become solution-centric rather than being problem-centric.

Organizational Coach and Management Consultant: Mr Daniel Theyagu

Daniel Theyagu is an ACTA-certified corporate trainer, Associate Adult Educator (AAE),Licensed Master Practitioner of NLP® and LEGO® Serious Play – Certified Facilitator. He has a Master in Education [University of Sheffield]; Bachelor of Laws (Honours) from University of Buckingham and Diploma in English from University of London.

Since 1989, Daniel has conducted training for more than 600 organizations with his participants coming from more than 100 countries. He has designed and delivered customize training programs in areas of design thinking, crisis management, performance management, emotional intelligence, creative thinking, critical thinking, systems thinking, business and personal ethics. Daniel’s personal productivity programs have been very well received and has enriched the lives of countless individuals from different walks of life.

Daniel is an adjunct faculty with Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS). For more than two decades, Daniel has conducted Career Transition Workshops for SAF and SPF retiring officers and specialists. Daniel has also regularly conducted Design Thinking workshop for Air Force Technical personnel, banking officers and research scientists.


  9:00 am - 5:00 pm


2 Days


  S$850 (Nett)

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