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Solve HR Problems Using Systems Thinking

Train HR professionals to reframe their approach to problem solving.

  • HR struggles to balance short-term problem solving with a strategic approach to the organization’s long-term vision and goals.
  • Without a long-term, big-picture view of the organization and the challenges it faces, the solutions HR introduces can introduce additional volatility, unpredictability, complexity, and ambiguity and have negative long-term impacts.
  • Most disciplinary training teaches us to solve problems in a linear, cause-and-effect fashion, but this can result in ineffective short-term solutions to larger systemic problems.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • Systems thinking is a problem-solving methodology that encourages you to identify and change the conditions that allow problems to happen, rather than isolating a perceived single cause and developing a short-term solution.
  • From a systems thinking perspective, organizations aren’t static structures that function predictably – they are dynamic systems of relationships between components.
  • The “3 Ds” of systems thinking – Discover, Diagram, and Decide – capture fundamental systems thinking best practices by breaking the problem-solving process down into manageable steps.

Impact and Result

  • When HR incorporates a systems thinking approach, it improves HR professionals' capability to self-reflect, empathize, collaborate with others, and think beyond disciplinary boundaries to solve problems.
  • Systems thinking is a mindset shift that helps HR professionals better understand their organization’s strategic needs, improve business acumen, and use data-driven insights to support decision making.
  • With a systems thinking approach, HR professionals can effectively communicate with other stakeholders in their organization, including how they frame problems, provide context, demonstrate solutions, and describe the long-term impacts of these solutions.

Solve HR Problems Using Systems Thinking


About McLean & Company

McLean & Company is an HR research and advisory firm providing practical solutions to human resources challenges via executable research, tools, diagnostics, and advisory services that have a clear and measurable impact on your business.

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A blueprint is designed to be a roadmap, containing a methodology and the tools and templates you need to solve your HR problems.

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Contributors

  • Amanda Mathieson, Research Director, CIO Practice People & Leadership, Info-Tech Research Group