To What End?

Systemic & Systematic – AEA Gem 2

January 27, 2015

limited perspective

Every endeavor is bounded. We cannot do or see everything. Every viewpoint is partial. Therefore, holism is not about trying to deal with everything, but being methodical, informed, pragmatic and ethical about what to leave out. And, it’s about taking responsibility for those decisions.”  Bob Williams 

This is another gem from AEA 2014. It reflects the clarity and conciseness of Bob Williams a leading thinker and practitioner in systems thinking, brings to his work. He reminded me again that I should have taken Latin in school when he referenced that the word system was greek in origin and that it functioned as both a noun and a verb meaning together.

Bob offered the following:

  • Think systemic – Consider, explore and make explicit, to the degree possible, inter-relationships, interconnections, varying perspectives and the boundaries that exist between and among elements of the “big picture.”
  • Be systematic – This is not about looking at everything, including everything and doing everything. It is about being clear about what to leave out and why.

To dive a little deeper, check out these three resources:

  1. Thinking Systemically
  2. The Viable Systems Model 
  3. Bob Williams: A Systems Practitioner’s Journey



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