Everyone should have an editor: someone who will push you to clarify the value in your message.  Mine is pushing me for two paragraphs that highlight the argument in my book draft.  I’ve gone for three.

  1. We live and work in a world of constant revision.  Our technology tools shift with increasing speed through software revisions, smaller, yet often more powerful, hardware, and just the vast diversity of tools to do our work.  Our organizations are driving towards global, interconnected, and transparent forms. Our people, both inside and outside the organizations walls, are more diverse than in the past and can expect to have multiple careers.  
  2. Technology tools, organizational practices, and people are the raw materials of our organizations -- I would say they were the building blocks of organizations, except that they cannot stand alone.  Technology tools, organizational practices, and people (with their knowledge, skills, and abilities) must be woven together, not separated or stacked, for our work and organizations to be effective. Systems savvy is the ability to do this weaving.  
  3. System savvy is the ability to weave successful organization solutions from the raw materials of technology tools, organizational practices, and people.  Systems savvy requires that we are aware of broad opportunities in tools, practices, and people; and the possible synergies and conflicts across them.  Systems savvy does not require that we be experts with these raw materials; we can work with those who are experts.  Like other forms of intelligence (e.g., emotional intelligence), systems savvy can be developed through broad experience, challenges, and/or organizational systems specifically designed to draw out the practice of systems savvy. We all need systems savvy.  As individual contributors, we use systems savvy as we decide the best way to do our work.  As team members, we use systems savvy to help our teams find the best combinations of tools, practices, and people for a particular task.  As managers, we use systems savvy to build organizations that are effective and efficient.  As leaders, we use systems savvy to co-create a vision for the future. Many of you have heard me talk about examples of extreme systems savvy (and this blog is full of wonderful examples). 

Have I left anything out with these three paragraphs?  Where would you want to hear more?