thinking in terms of “systems”

A few years ago, a personal coach taught me the value of thinking in terms of “systems”. The simple illustration he used was an assembly line. He described how, when one worker up the line develops and implements an innovative idea and applies it to the common product, everyone down the line from this person enjoys the benefits. The quality of the product increases and others are now motivated to also make improvements. Workers grow from being mindless robots to becoming creative and motivated innovators. When everyone makes an improvement, the advances are exponential.

That kind of thought development has helped me through the years to see the across-the-board progress that can be experienced when one person takes the initiative to make an improvement. When one person is passionate enough to invest creative energy into a product or service, others notice. This is a principle that should be applied to our organizations. If one person (you) makes one improvement to a project (whatever your team is working on), some great things can be experienced.

In order for this concept to work, we need to assure and provide a few elements:
An atmosphere that encourages creative/innovative thinking – reward those who explore.
Appropriate levels of authority for workers so they can make decisions that can impact the process.
Room to fail – not all innovations succeed. People need enough margin to trip and fall without it becoming fatal.
A culture of healthy risk – encourage dreaming and visioning.
An environment of change. Without change, stagnation occurs. People get bored. Organizations die.
Responsibility for success – make every individual must be responsible for quality and progress.

Isn’t this a great way to view the compounding impact that one person can have? Think in terms of “systems”.

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