The business environment is becoming increasingly complex; so too are the decisions today’s business leaders are being asked to make. As a result, many decisions are made without a thorough knowledge of those complexities and without understanding their consequences. Too often, they fail to produce the desired results. Systems thinking can help leaders make better decisions.

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. 

This half-day workshop is designed to immerse attendees in the basic concepts and applications of systems thinking in the business world.  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.


Date: TBD
Time: 8 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
PDHs: 4 | CEUs: 0.4
Price: $675

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

Associated Courses

  • Lead with Impact: Leadership & Management Methodologies
  • Navigating and Understanding Competing Views


  • Gain a holistic view of your organization.
  • Spark creativity and impactful solutions.
  • Promote cross-functional collaboration.
  • Develop adaptive leadership skills.
  • Apply systems thinking for immediate positive change.

Learning Outcomes

  • 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    
  • 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

About the Instructor

Dr. Dirk Baldwin is Dean Emeritus of the College of Business, Economics, and Computing at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside. Dr. Baldwin has a Ph.D. in Management Information Systems. His books and scholarship have focused on database management, model management, innovative practices in higher education, e-government, multiple views for decision-making, and IT support for organizational adaptability. He has also consulted and developed IT systems for several organizations in Wisconsin. Dr. Baldwin has received numerous awards for community engagement, service, and teaching throughout his career. 

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.