Systems practices you can do every day
Systems practices develop your
ability to better understand and
make sense of complex situations,
which enables more effective
decision making. Applying these
practices helps you to see the
system, its parts, relationships
IN THE SYSTEM
BE AWARE OF
Engaging in systems practice is an ongoing activity – like a
muscle, it continually needs to be exercised. Use these prompts
to help you apply systems practices every day.
Step back from the details to see the bigger picture and
explore what else may be influencing a situation. What
else is going on here?
Be aware of your mental model and how it influences
your perspective and actions. What beliefs and values
inform how I see, engage, and react to this situation?
See yourself in the system and how you engage,
contribute and influence it. What is my role in this
situation? What can I influence?
Engage diverse perspectives to see a situation from
different vantage points. Who has a different perspective
from my own on this situation and how might they see it?
Whose voice is not being heard?
Be present in the moment and listen deeply, without
trying to ‘fix’ a problem. Am I listening or waiting to talk?
Am I suspending judgement and criticism? Am I being
open to new information?
Question assumptions to surface what has informed
them and to question if they are true. What assumptions
am I making about this situation and how can I test them?
Uncover unintended consequences before committing
to a decision or action. What else might happen if we do
this? What adaptations need to be made as a result?
Use visual modelling to make sense of, or explain a
complex situation, which may reveal new insights. Can I
draw or illustrate this situation with diagrams, metaphors,
relationships or symbols?
Look for connections and relationships between parts
to gain new insights about the whole. Which parts have
a connection? What is their relationship? Is there an
emerging or reoccurring pattern?
Reflect regularly on a situation, interpret and give it
meaning to draw deeper learning. What did I intend to
happen and what actually happened? What does it tell me
about the system? How can I work with this new insight?
For further information, visit preventioncentre.org.au/resources/
learn-about-systems August, 2018
We would like to acknowledge and are grateful for the work of others to identify
and develop systems practices. Our practices are drawn both from these
existing resources and our own experience working in systems. There are many
more practices, but we feel these are the most practical for everyday use.
Which practice will
you apply today?