Talking Points on Systems Thinking
George Poe-Global Supply Chain Leader
DuPont-Crop Protection, May, 2011 Speech
- Quick fixes do not create lasting change.
- Change management and planning is leadership’s role not something left to delegation.
- Do not confuse some effective improvement tools (6 Sigma, TQM, etc) as a strategy for change.
- Change requires focused “constancy of purpose” with people engagement.
- If you cannot put strategy into words on paper, it’s a good sign that you really do not understand it yourself.
- Strategic management is a journey towards the goal. It allows for fluid change, hence less critical that everything be perfect and correct at the start.
- You have to convince yourself of these messages and beliefs through experience….there are not enough of others who practice strategic management to learn from!
Tested and Proven Beliefs:
- Systems based thinking is rare among organizations and leaders. Pure analytical approaches are the norm. While strategy creation is common, strategic management is not.
- Maximizing all the parts never optimizes the “whole”.
- Good strategy is made up of defined choices and decisions. It is the roadmap to reach an aspiration.
- Real change comes through “constancy of purpose” and requires time. A three year plan view has always worked well.
- Standardizing simple document formats and messages help to reinforce the “constancy” message.
- People hunger for understanding the big picture and how they fit in. When competent people have this clarity, leaders can get out of their way and coach. Keep the Plan summary concise and simple.
- People support what they create. The time and energy devoted by leaders to this in the beginning is returned seven-fold through less time and effort during the execution phase. Systems Thinking Approach can be used anywhere, with any scope.
On the subject of strategy development and execution, I credit the exposure acquired through Haines Centre for Strategic Management as the most significant contributor to my competency and trust as “go to tool” in this area.
NOTE: George Poe has consistently been promoted to bigger and bigger jobs over the years within DuPont as he uses the ABCs of Strategic Management over and over again. He now is responsible for many Dupont plants world-wide.