Much is written comparing Linear vs Systems Thinking in Consulting, so I’ll summarise for you to decide if it’s worth more of your time.

Whilst both ‘Practices’ relate to management and problem solving, the key difference is not just in the ‘complexity’ of the situation(s); but on how we ‘decide’ to think and therefore how to approach it.

Linear Thinking works with ‘straight-line’ Cause vs Effect issues. Your car stops with no fuel, so re-fuel it and your problem is solved. If you approach your situation and believe it to be a Cause vs Effect issue, then your straight-line thinking will deliver a direct solution.

The question is, has this approach given you solutions that work immediately and that last?

Our recruitment businesses are ‘Complex’ operations, as our products and clients are people; they’re complex to manage, as can be our internal talent.

In Systems Thinking, you ‘Zoom Out’ from the issue to evaluate what factors affect it, in an expansive process of problem solving.

In his bestseller ‘The Fifth Discipline’, Peter Senge details the only sustainable competitive advantage is your business’s ability to learn faster than the competition.

How do you ‘Zoom Out?

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