A system view of any organization views the flow of the processes to create products and services. As a systems thinker, I follow the work of Dr. Deming, who used a flow diagram to teach how the interrelated parts of a system contribute to the success of the whole. I created a flow chart to demonstrate how HR is a critical support system in a business of any size. Executing from a flow chart for HR practices can lead to an improved image or brand — and even a business successor. Read my blog article on Branding.
A system view helps create a long-term focus. Rather than seeing incidents as isolated (or blaming a person) a system view allows managers to focus on the systemic drivers of results because as Dr. Deming said, “A bad system beats a good person every time”. In his work, Dr. Deming continually increased the percentage of problems attributable to the system instead of to special causes, or those outside of the system. I see this with many of my clients’ operations where employees are blamed for mistakes, when in reality, the system, or lack of one, is at fault. Understanding this causal effect doesn’t mean that problems are inevitable, it just means that the most effective way to improve and avoid interruptions is to improve the system. The system can’t succeed when the flow is interrupted, or when only a fraction of the whole is in place, such as an Employee Handbook. One component, regardless of how well intentioned, cannot be expected to solve all the problems within the system. In summary, 94% of troubles and possibilities for improvement can be attributed to the system, a responsibility of leadership, and only 6% to special forces, such as a good intentioned employee.