System Thinking: Navigating through Complexity


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216.368.6413 or 800.736.6403

Managers need a global, comprehensive perspective to effectively deal with complex situations. The conventional method in traditional problem solving is to break difficult predicaments into sub-problems which are solved one-by-one, but this process can quickly become cumbersome and ineffective. Instead, learn an approach called “system thinking” that focuses on the interrelationships and dynamics of a situation, and develop a more global perspective that can open up the possibility of new and more effective solutions. Through discussions and hands-on exercises, learn simple tools and techniques you can apply immediately in your organization.


  • Introduction to systems thinking
    • The problems of linear thinking
    • Why unanticipated consequences are unanticipated
    • When is systems thinking helpful?
  • Drawing maps of systems
    • Identifying outputs, features and relationships
    • Feedback and delays as managerial issues
  • Diagnosing problems in systems
    • Using templates to diagnose organizational problems
    • Anticipating second order effects
  • Using systems thinking in your organization, using real situations

Learning Outcomes

As a result of attending this program, participants will:

  • Be able to represent complex situations more clearly
  • Better anticipate the effects/consequences of their decisions
  • Make better arguments for preferred courses of action

Who Should Attend

Managers who are interested in or responsible for solving complex problems for their organizations.


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Weatherhead School of Management
Case Western Reserve University

10900 Euclid Avenue
Cleveland, Ohio 44106-7235 USA