Vic Citarella and Debbie Sorkin Muse on Systems Leadership

Everyone has a system they favour, while it seems we all like to discuss a system. Plus, we all seem to know a better system then the one being used!

But joking aside, systems thinking is applicable in all walks of life and is the basic stuff of leadership. Here are our top ten systems thinking tips, we hope you find them useful:

1. Follow the money‘Make the money do all the work’ is a timeless truism (and may explain why good betting ‘systems’ are probably the systems most written about!)

2. Pass and move quicklyShort passes are often best; they really help build towards a goal – thus the Liverpool (FC) Groove and it works. Systems are made up of good habits that you repeat

3. Know when to get out of the wayHeroic leadership may not be in vogue right now, but the hallmark of a top person is someone who stands aside at the right time, in the right way and because it helps the system work well

Stevie Gerrard’s Homework

4. Understand place and spaceThere’s a time and place for everything; an observation that leads to real understanding of how systems work. In business they say never take your eye off the ball, but in systems it is what happens in the spaces ‘off the ball’ that matters as well…

5. Look good, but be effectiveSay no more – we all know what we are talking about here. Don’t be taken in by appearances and check the system does what it says on the tin

6. Always have a ‘Route One’ up your sleeveA system that gets the results in the most direct way is often a welcome option. Know the pitfalls

7. Put the time in to training and preparationSystems work best when they are looked after; true ‘fitness for purpose’ involves skills and leadership coaching

8. Always a marathon, never a sprintExcept when it’s not – always worth challenging a cliché. Horses for courses is your watchword here

9. Stick by your team-matesIn the world of systems we are all leaders and our behaviour as team members is critical

10. If all else fails – sack the managerSadly, even the most effective systems break down sometimes. Scapegoating rarely works, but systems which anticipate problems, learn from mistakes and plan leadership succession are a good bet to follow.

Why don’t you now help us by telling us what systems you participate in – and do you have any hot tips?