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Growing Adaptive Organizations

Step A1: Define the System in Focus

Purpose To select a unit as the System-in-Focus and clarify its boundaries. Abstract The VSM is a recursive model, i.e. it describes units on each abstraction level in the same way. This reduces greatly the complexity of the context that we focus on. On the other hand, this requires some discipline: we restrict our findings […]

Step A2: System One, the Operation

System One: the operation

Purpose To specify those parts of the system-in-focus which undertake System One (primary) activities. Abstract The system is what it does. Stafford Beer. We start now investigating the inner workings of the System and we start looking at the operational parts. As a first step, we want to get an overview of all value-creating units. […]

Step A3: System Two, Stability and conflict resolution

Purpose To identify those parts of the System-in-Focus that ensure that the Opera¬≠tional units interact in a stable manner. Abstract Find the tasks which cannot be executed locally by the Systems 1. Do not underestimate this step. A strong System 2 is one of the most effective ways to absorb variety. Tasks A3.1 Review your Operational […]

Step A4: System Three, Optimization

Purpose To identify the relations between the organization as a whole and its units, i.e. Systems One. Deal with aspects that cannot be handled by the Operational units or through horizontal coordination. Abstract We look first at the elements of System 3. We will describe the operational management. Also, most of the cost centers like […]

Step A5: System Four, Outside and Then

Purpose To identify those parts of the System-in-Focus that are concerned with future plans and strategies in the context of environmental information. Leading Question Which parts of the System in Focus produce strategies for future planning. Abstract Dealing with the future and the external world. Tasks A5.1 Look for relevant external factors and trends System […]

Step A6: System Five, Identify the policy making

Purpose To identify those parts of the System-in-Focus which are concerned with Policy. Abstract System 5 is the mechanism that formulates the Identity, the Mission, or the North Star. Tasks A6.1 Note the Identity statement of the System-in-Focus Write down the identity statement of the System-in-Focus (or confirm that the SiF does not have one). […]

Step B1: Review the results of the observations

Purpose Achieve an understanding of the System from a VSM perspective. Abstract Review the results of the analysis/preliminary diagnosis steps and draw first conclusions. Tasks B1.1 Review Review the system: you should have identified the major parts of your System-in-Focus which render it viable. B1.2 Missing Note which parts are missing, i.e. do not have […]