Critical Thinking: The Systems Thinking Approach

Critical Thinking: The Systems Thinking Approach®

Our Systems Thinking Approach® is a fundamental and systemic way of critically thinking that allows us to effectively change the way we think to eliminate biased, distorted, partial, uniformed, or prejudiced reasoning. It is based on 50 years of research on the science of Systems Thinking with it’s roots in biology. See our Systems Thinking Research Bibliography

In our A-B-C-D-E Systems Model we ask five fundamental and systemic questions based on the 12 Characteristics of Life on Earth in the research. Applying these to the way we think can provide discipline and structure to our critical thinking and improve the quality of our thoughts, our actions, and our results.

Phase A. What are our desired outcomes? Critical systems thinkers ask what is the purpose of their reasoning and what is the central aim and results they are trying to accomplish? Steven Covey calls it “Begin with the end in mind”.

Phase B. How will we know when we accomplish this? Critical systems thinkers measure their ability against goals. These include: “Smart” Goals: Specific, Manageable Attainable, Realistic, Time Based. Other words include: Clarity, Accuracy, Precision, Relevance, Depth, Breath and Logic.

Phase C. Where are we now? They state their assumptions, and the concepts of what they are taking for granted, allowing them to assess and understand their current state of thinking on a particular topic.

Phase D. How do we close the “gap” to get from where we are today to achieve our purposes or central aims? They clearly define the inferences or conclusions that they have come to and test them against the desired outcomes.

Phase E. What is happening in our environment that will affect our desired outcomes? Critical systems thinkers openly assess and recognize outside changes that may affect them and their system of thinking and clearly identify what the future environment scan tells them.

Our Systems Thinking Approach® to Critical Thinking will improve all your outcomes including your quality of life along with what you produce, make, or build. Click here to see these 5 phases in a visual model.