This is a PDF format e-book of the first four chapters of the print version, chapters 1-4, of the Navigating Through Complexity: Systems Thinking Guide. See Table of Contents under the picture of the book. Part 2: Applying Systems Thinking has the chapters 5-8 of the Navigating Through Complexity: Systems Thinking Guide. You can purchase these parts separately, or as a package (see related products below).
Book Description: Without question, increasing change and complexity are creating a storm that few organizations are able to weather. As the storm gains momentum, it lashes out in unpredictable ways, leaving many complex problems in its wake. You may deal with the resulting problems by trying to control what you can. You may use tried-and-true methods to cope with the problems and opportunities that the storm brings, only to find that your efforts create little or no change in the situation, and may, in fact, make things worse. You may notice that almost every tack you take works less and less well, making you feel less effective. As change accelerates, it creates even more complexity, thus further eroding your sense of competency.
When you start feeling out of control, you can easily become a victim of forces that you do not understand. It is a vicious cycle: change and complexity feed off each other to create even more change and complexity! The end result can be an exhausted workforce, unable to deal with the overwhelming problems that change and complexity bring.
People are tired of dealing with the constant storm of complexity and its after-effects. This tiredness is a symptom of complexity overload. The symptoms of complexity overload can be found in every corner of the organization - it is only a question of degree. To cope with complexity overload, people navigate through the storm by using current skills and knowledge, which may help them to reach the eye of the storm, but not to clear the storm altogether. Systems thinking is an effective way to navigate out of the storm, and to be prepared for other storms.
Since publishing the first edition in 2000, MHA Institute has learned a tremendous amount from successes in applying this unique approach to systems thinking in many situations and organizations. This second edition includes this learning, as well as ways in which to apply this approach in life and work.