The business environment is becoming increasingly complex; so too are the decisions today’s business leaders are being asked to make. Yet many decisions are made without a thorough knowledge of those complexities and without understanding their consequences. As a result, decisions far too often fail to produce the desired results. How can leaders make better decisions? By employing the concepts of “systems thinking.”


Date: TBD
Time: 8 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
PDHs: 4 | CEUs: 0.4
Price: $575

Systems thinking is based in the tenet of connection: nothing stands alone, it is always part of a system that influences how it behaves. Systems exist in nature (eco-systems); our body (the nervous system); and in business organizations (people and processes). To understand the true result of decisions, leaders must understand the connections and system in which the part exists. In business, for example, a decision to change suppliers can result in negative unintended consequences affecting ability to deliver, product quality, access to natural resources, transportation, and logistics. If leaders understand the full system that will be impacted by changing suppliers, they will have insight into the consequences and potential outcomes before making a final decision. This information and knowledge will help ensure the best possible decisions are made.

This half-day workshop is designed to immerse attendees in the basic concepts and applications of systems thinking in the business world. We’ll define systems that exist in the workplace, look at system archetypes, discuss how systems behave, and consider their counter intuitive behavior. The class format will include both discussion and experiential activities that will focus on application of systems thinking tools and analysis in the workplace. Participants will be asked to forecast the outcomes of decisions being considered in their own workplace.

Immediate Takeaways

  • Systems, systems thinking and tenets defined
  • Why we need systems thinking in business
  • How systems behave
  • Understanding systems structures and stability
  • Counter-intuitive system behavior
  • Using systems thinking to develop foresight
  • How system structure and behavior influence the outcomes and consequences of your decisions

Who should attend

  • Organizational leaders and decision makers
  • Strategists, supply chain professionals, operational managers, engineers, business unit/function leads
  • Anyone interested in learning how to understand potential future outcomes and consequences of decisions

Upon completion, you will be able to:

  • Understand how to use systems thinking to improve your decision making
  • Identify how today’s decisions can impact and shape the future
  • Break down problems so they are manageable

Milwaukee School of Engineering reserves the right to revise at any time, without notice, any and all programs, fees and costs stated herein in accordance with the best academic and industrial standards as recommended by its advisory committees. The right also is reserved to cancel any course or subject at any time because of insufficient registration or other valid reason.