Leaders and managers are sometimes surprised by the results we because we don’t take into account the entire social system in which the situation resides.
We may analyze the immediate cause and effect but we sometimes don’t take into account the larger system.
The Waters Foundation Systems Thinking in Schools Project has a series of tools including some short, helpful videos which are a great way to learn the basics of a systems thinking approach. The graphics are a little primitive (they’re updating the videos now) but the ideas are great.
Here’s one example:
Additional videos and tools, including the habits of a systems thinker and a set of rubrics for assessing the extent to which one demonstrates the individual habits of a systems thinker are available on the SystemsWiki.
You can learn more here: http://www.systemswiki.org/index.php?title=Systemic_Perspective