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$149 USD

Leveraging Systems: Thinking for Adaptive Challenges

Leveragig Systems Thinking

Adaptive challenges (as coined by Ron Heifetz of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government) are new to the organization, have no easy answers, and typically generate contentious debate. Learn how Systems Thinking guides individuals and work groups through adaptive challenges with productive, communal learning, solution testing, and stakeholder buy-in.

Adaptive challenges often bring opposing viewpoints to the table: executives from an acquired company and their counterparts from the buyer company; inventors with a specific product vision and marketers with their own (and vastly different) vision; Democrats with their healthcare plan and Republicans with another.

Instructors Chris Soderquist and Craig Weber introduce you to a process for turning fractured work groups into solution-oriented learning teams that successfully address adaptive challenges. Using real-world examples, Chris and Craig demonstrate how Systems Thinking can be used to develop high-leverage solutions by improving work team communication, analyzing issues holistically, and developing a more systemic view. You’ll develop practical skills for engaging team members with divergent viewpoints to reach common understanding and work together to achieve buy-in from other stakeholders.

Each class is followed with a question and answer session with Chris. Online access to these class recordings, sample models, handouts, and homework assignments are included to cement your learning.

Course Overview

Class 1: Framing Adaptive Challenges

Ensure your adaptive change process starts on the right track with an “out of the weeds” and “onto the balcony” perspective:

  • define the complex, adaptive changes facing your organization
  • identify the key stakeholders who should – and shouldn’t – be involved in the change process
  • determine the group’s capacity for discussing the adaptive challenge and barriers to productive engagement in the work

Class 2: Engaging Others

Increase the group’s capacity for doing adaptive work by increasing the quality of conversations.

  • surface and integrate disagreements through productive, rigorous dialogue
  • use the stock/flow language of STELLA and iThink as a framework for group facilitation
  • map systems to reduce defensive routines

Class 3: Building Simple and Effective Mental Models

Build collective understanding using Systems Thinking maps and simulation capabilities.

  • distinguish symptoms from causes to understand what is happening in a rapidly evolving system
  • determine where feedback loops and unintended consequences present hurdles to adaptive change
  • find ways to engender buy-in from stakeholders

Class 4: Developing a Culture of Continual Learning

Create a framework for embedding Systems Thinking and the conversational capacities you’ve learned into your organization.

  • use every problem, meeting, or conversation as an opportunity to learn and improve
  • monitor change implementation with a dynamic dashboard and build a library of models to improve on-going Systems Thinking
  • tie Systems Thinking and conversational skills into a decision-making process that works by generating “honest to goodness” buy-in
Chris Soderquist

About the Instructor

Chris Soderquist is the president of Pontifex Consulting and a long-time partner of isee systems. Chris has over sixteen years experience helping organizations apply the principles of System Thinking to achieve their strategic goals. During that time he has provided consulting and training to organizations in the public and private sector, including teaching systems thinking (for health policy) to legislators in Georgia, New Hampshire and Kansas. Clients include: Boeing, Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Dow Chemical, Hewlett-Packard, Nissan, UNDP, World Bank, and the World Economic Forum.

Craig Weber

About the Instructor

Craig Weber is the founder of The Weber Consulting Group, an alliance that helps managers, teams and executives develop actionable competencies for leadership, teamwork and change. His cogent work focuses on improving the caliber of collaboration as people engage difficult, complex, non-routine challenges.

Craig's formal education in organizational development at BYU-Hawaii and organizational psychology at Columbia University, combined with his extensive consulting work, has led to a distinctive approach improving the caliber of collaboration as people engage their toughest challenges. He has worked with people and teams from such organizations as Boeing, Vistage, Pfizer, The US Air Force, Clif Bar, Sense Corp, Novo Nordisk, and Los Alamos National Labs. He has conducted graduate and executive development seminars at the American Graduate School of International Management (Thunderbird), Santa Clara University, and the Work Place Learning Institute at Columbia University.

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