Project Management

Cause and effect in complex systems

From the Manifesting Business Agility Blog
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Ever notice how sometimes doing one thing wrong can mess up a situation but doing one thing right doesn't necessarily fix this? That’s because there is an asymmetry in cause and effect. If often takes only one event to mess things up. But fixing one thing won’t fix the system when several bad events are taking place.

This is made more complicated when relationships between the parts of the system can’t be seen. This has led many people to abandon looking for what’s causing problems in knowledge work.

But this is throwing the baby out with the bathwater, so to speak. When we see actions that are causing problems, we can often discern if they are contributing to poor results. We don't know that stopping the action will help, but it might, and by attending to these negative activities one of 3 things will happen:
1) We’ll get improvement
2) We’ll see why we don’t
3) We’ll learn about a new relationship we hadn’t seen

This can lead to predictably good results. We always have to get feedback to see what's the result of any introduced change. But this feedback can be used to improve our understanding.

Posted on: January 16, 2021 05:04 PM | Permalink

Comments (2)

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Interesting article, thank you! - The quicker the action the sooner the resolution; systems are complex and sometimes could have multiple causes even abstracts to the mindfulness and, it requires the approach of particular solutions.

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