How to learn systematic thinking?

We often hear content related to the system, such as circulatory system, transportation system, human body system, etc. In the field of systems, a relatively mature system theory has been developed for analyzing various system problems, which is used in almost any discipline. Systematic thinking is a way of thinking based on system theory.

1. What is systematic thinking

1. What is a system

Department means connection, unity and unity. The so-called system refers to a unified whole composed of various elements that are related to each other. For example, society, country, company, family, and our body are all systems.

2. Three characteristics of the system

First, the system is composed of various elements. Elements can be tangible entities, such as office buildings, employees, leaders, office supplies, etc. in the company system, or intangible states, such as regulations, systems, orders, culture, etc.

Second, there are various connections between elements in the system. For example, according to the leadership arrangement, employees obey the company system, sell their time through office supplies, produce work results, and obtain work compensation.

Third, the system has its own purpose or function. For example, companies generally make profits.

3. What is system thinking

Earlier we learned about linear thinking (a way of thinking about things as simple, straight-line, straight-line causality). Systematic thinking, on the contrary, refers to the ability to see more complex and multidimensional connections between things from the perspective of overall dynamics. It is a way of thinking based on macrocognition.

2. Why study systematic thinking

1. One more perspective to observe the world

System thinking belongs to a relatively advanced way of thinking. If you don’t know, you won’t know. Once you know it, you will have a perspective to observe the world when you have this string in your heart. You will find that many problems are system problems. For example, why does it seem to be a personnel problem? After replacing the personnel, the problem still exists; obviously it is a very small problem, and it takes a lot of resources to solve it; it seems that a targeted policy has played the opposite role after it was promulgated. effect.

2. One more problem-solving ability

For simple linear problems, there is a clear cause and effect relationship, and as long as the cause is solved, the problem can be solved. For example, for the pneumonia caused by this new coronavirus, the most direct way is to find symptomatic drugs and eliminate the virus. If an effective drug cannot be developed within a short period of time, then in the face of the spread of the epidemic, the handling method is relatively simple, isolate the infected person, cut off the transmission route, and protect the susceptible people. For complex problems that do not have a clear cause and effect relationship, they need to be solved through systematic thinking.

3. One more method for analyzing products

As a product manager, I always think that the most important thing is to create the ultimate product and create the ultimate reputation. But with the development of the Internet, it is also necessary to establish a systematic thinking product concept. For example, Guevara, an online movie ticketing website that started earlier, has the best product experience and a good reputation among users. But two years later, Meituan entered and quickly defeated Guevara, with a market share of over 70%. In terms of experience, Meituan is indeed not as good as Guevara, but Meituan sells movie tickets not to make money, but to attract traffic to its own group-buying website. It seems to be losing money, but it attracts a large number of new users. Meituan defeated Guevara’s product thinking through systematic thinking.

3. How to learn systematic thinking

1. Focus on the whole rather than the local

If the blind person touches the elephant, even if he understands the various components of the elephant, he cannot realize the overall characteristics of the elephant. If you cut the elephant in half, you won’t get two baby elephants. So if our purpose is to understand how the elephant system works, then cutting the elephant into small pieces and studying the nature of each piece will not achieve the goal at all, because we only focus on the local parts, but ignore the parts. Connection.

2. Focus on structure rather than surface

Piao Ding Jie Niu was able to handle it because he knew the internal body structure of the cattle through the surface of the cattle, followed the trend, and practiced a lot until he reached a state of fascination. For the system, structure affects behavior. Only by paying attention to structure can one understand behavior and ultimately understand the purpose of the system.

3. Focus on connections rather than elements

In a system, the connections between elements are more important than the elements themselves. For example, our body will replace most of the cells every few weeks, but as long as the blood is still flowing, our body is still that body. In a company, people move every year, but as long as the culture and management methods remain unchanged, the company is still that company.

4. Focus on change rather than static

The system changes dynamically with time. When analyzing system problems, it is necessary to add time variables and consider how the system will develop with changes over time. It is necessary to observe the operating mode and dominant factors of the system’s enhanced and balanced circuits, and analyze the dynamic stability of the system.

5. Focus on purpose rather than phenomena

Each system has its own function or purpose. When analyzing the system, the purpose of the system should be used to infer the purpose. For example, some companies claim that the goal is to create value for users, treat customers as God, but the actual behavior is to use information asymmetry to deceive customers, the real purpose is for profit. Some schools claim that the purpose is to teach and educate people, but in fact charge high tuition fees, the real purpose is just to make money.

to sum up

Our brains tend to think in one direction. When we encounter problems, we always feel that there must be a fundamental reason behind it. Just solve this reason. But most problems in the real world are not linear. It is possible that there are mutual influences and dynamic effects between problems and problems, between problems and results, and between results. Therefore, in the face of complex system problems, we must pay attention to the integrity, structure, relevance, variability and purpose, and gradually establish a system thinking mode to add a way of solving complex problems for ourselves.