What Is Systems Thinking?

Systems thinking is a management discipline that involves understanding systems by analyzing linkages and interactions between the parts that make up the whole of a defined system. Systems thinking uses tools, concepts and habits to gain an understanding of the interdependent structures of active systems.

Visual, listening and speaking, and kinesthetic are the three categories of systems thinking. Visual tools are the ladder of interference, behavior-over-time graphs, stock/flow diagrams, iceberg visual, and casual loop diagrams. These tools help communicate, analyze, synthesize, and collect thoughts about systems. Listening and speaking help develop a common vocabulary and using different communication techniques enhances the understanding of how systems work by using many perspectives to see the larger picture.

Kinesthetic strategies study how and why a system function does what it does by using the body and the mind.