Still testing the waters around how to best present the ideas of systems savvy management to the broadest audience possible.  Systems savvy is the vision to see choices across each of an organization's dimensions of technology, organization, and people -- and the wisdom to mix them together into new and powerful organizational approaches. Systems savvy managers are always working to integrate technology tools, organizational practice, and human capabilities -- they never go for a silver bullet approach focused on one dimension without the consideration and adjustment of the others. Here’s a version based on the idea that people don’t want to read about cooking and management for an entire book. The Three Personas of a Systems Savvy Manager:

  • Kid. Systems savvy managers Stop — Look — Listen, just as kids are taught to cross the street.  Stop to reflect on the situation.  Look at at available data (or collect some via simple experiments) to narrow down the possibilities.  Listen to feedback from others involved at the core and in connecting roles.
  • Chef.  Systems savvy managers are master chefs when it comes to designing organizations and work.  Systems savvy managers mix together solutions that balance technology tools, organizational practice, and the people involved. They know that there are many ways to make a great meal, but ingredients and dishes must appropriately blend and balance across technology tools, organizational practice, and people.
  • Med Student.  Systems savvy managers watch one, do one, teach one, just like medical students learning different procedures.  Systems savvy managers learn from and share with others. They publicly model good systems savvy management and give their colleagues the chance to build their own systems savvy through experience.  They know that the more they share, the more the mixing process will become commonplace in their teams and organizations.

I certainly can explain each of the three practices from a food perspective, but is that going overboard?  Would love your thoughts.  Please think about yourself -- and the people you help in organizations who wouldn’t be reading a blog like this.