There is this myth that some of us are details-people and some of us are big-picture folks. Most of us are able to toggle between the two ways of making sense of the world. The more successful of us are able to do this effectively and efficiently. Others struggle, focusing too intently on one or the other way of thinking. This isn’t a personal failing–it is

This isn’t a personal failing–it is human nature. We all get trapped in eddies of focus. We all find moments when we can only gaze at the wide expanse of a project expanding out into the horizon.  The best leader finds ways to choose to rise above their personal inclinations as the situation needs.

Systems thinking is one particular strategy that helps me rise above the details to think holistically. In its essence, systems thinking is where you focus on seeing how a whole system is interconnected.

So, if you think of your life as a system, where do all the parts of the machine go together? Where do the gears turn? Where are there creaks? Where are there extraneous cogs? In other words, which parts work together and which don’t?

How do you get started with systems thinking? Here are a few resources:

Why Social Ventures Need Systems Thinking?

A Definition of Systems Thinking: A Systems Approach

System Thinking for NonProfits


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