If everyone in a company learns the basics of “systems thinking” life
would be very simple. Here is a definition of a system from the late
Austrian Biologist Ludwig von Bertalanffy
A system is an entity which maintains its existence through the mutual interaction of its parts.
Systems thinking, in essence, is an understanding of the system as a
whole and the mutual interaction of the underlying parts of the system.
The effect of changing on part on the other part(s) of the system needs
to be understood.
You will find systems everywhere. An organization is a system, the
project that you are working on is a system. Imagine a scenario
where everyone on your project has a solid understanding of the goals
of the project, players involved, inter-relationships between the
components of the project and understanding of the overall impact of
the success (or failure) of the project across the organization.
Automatically, team members would become more accountable as they have
insight into how the piece they are working on affects every other
piece of the project. They exactly know where their piece fits in the
For starters, please read The Fifth Discipline by Peter Senge. This book provides an excellent introduction to systems thinking.