We cannot understand the nature of a system 
by analysis of its parts.

"Problems cannot be solved at the same level of awareness that created them." 
Albert Einstein

Why Systems Thinking?... because systems thinking principles provide a conceptual base and a powerful tool-set for working the most complex issues that confront us as individuals, in teams, or in organizations. It provides ways of viewing the world as a whole and using that view to find the leverage points for fundamental change. It enables a new level of understanding of why things are as they are, and offers insight for breakthrough solutions.

C Squares ®:  A Systems Approach to Critical Thinking

The ability to anticipate what can go wrong and what to do when it does,
knowing there are always other ways of solving or reframing any problem.

~ Inter-relationships at a high level are often more critical than the detail of components.
~ Events, Behavior, and Structure, three levels of perspective, provide increasing insight into behavior and change.
~ Acknowledgement of feedback loops, time-delays, and nonlinearities are driving factors in a system's performance.
~ Focus on the relationships that tie system components together, as opposed to focusing on improving components only.
~ Acknowledgement that no one of us can truly comprehend the whole system - we have to learn to rely on people in different parts of the system to improve our understanding. We must listen.

"To optimize the whole, we must sub-optimize the parts."
W. Edwards Deming

C Squares ® As a Critical Thinking Tool Provides:

  • Mapping methods for visual representation of system structure
  • Behavior over time for describing relevant dynamic patterns
  • Archetypes that illuminate the structures behind common behaviors
  • Simulations for building system models that enable the exploration of Matrices for scenario planning and strategy assessment
  • Facilitation instructions and principles of dialogue and skillful conversation (after the activity) that enable people, who may historically be at odds, to work together essentially seeing the "whole elephant"

The Blind Men and the Elephant

It was six men of Indostan, to learning much inclined,
who went to see the elephant (Though all of them were blind),
that each by observation, might satisfy his mind.

The first approached the elephant, and, happening to fall,
against his broad and sturdy side, at once began to bawl:
"God bless me! but the elephant, is nothing but a wall !"

The second feeling of the tusk, cried: "Ho! what have we here,
so very round and smooth and sharp? To me ‘tis mighty clear,
this wonder of an elephant, is very like a spear!"

The third approached the animal, and, happening to take,
the squirming trunk within his hands, "I see," quoth he,
"the elephant is very like a snake!"

The fourth reached out his eager hand, and felt about the knee:
"What most this wondrous beast is like, is mighty plain," quoth he;
"Tis clear enough the elephant is very like a tree."

The fifth, who chanced to touch the ear, Said; "E'en the blindest man
can tell what this resembles most; Deny the fact who can,
This marvel of an elephant, is very like a fan!"

The sixth no sooner had begun, about the beast to grope,
than, seizing on the swinging tail, that fell within his scope,
"I see," quothe he, "the elephant is very like a rope!"

And so these men of Indostan, disputed loud and long,
each in his own opinion, exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right, and all were in the wrong!

So, oft in theologic wars, the disputants, I ween,
tread on in utter ignorance, of what each other mean,
and prate about the elephant, not one of them has seen!

by John Godfrey Saxe (1816-1887)