The Systems Thinker Blog

Four Stages to Becoming a Systems Thinker

Posted byRon Carroll

One obstacle—above all the rest—prevents people from becoming System Thinkers and experiencing massive improvements to their business. PEOPLE DON'T KNOW WHAT THEY DON'T KNOW!

Becoming a Systems Thinker is a process based upon a learning model referred to as the "four stages of competence." Take a minute to ponder these four stages as they relate to you and your organization.

Stages of a Butterfly
  1. Unconscious incompetence - You don't know what you don't know. You are blissfully ignorant of your deficiency, or do not believe that System Thinking is relevant. You don't realize the remarkable benefits of effective business systems and processes. You haven't a clue how to develop good business systems and probably haven't had any desire to do so. You likely have a seat-of-the-pants operation, with rudimentary systems and processes created out of necessity by workers.

  2. Conscious incompetence - Maybe you read E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber, or my newsletter, and a light bulb came on. In daily life, you notice conversation or news reports regarding "good systems" and "bad systems." You now realize your deficiency—that perhaps Systems Thinking is important, and you need to learn this skill to reach your business goals. However, you're not sure where to begin and how exactly to create effective operational systems and processes. You make a commitment to learn more

  3. Conscious competence - You begin to gain new knowledge. Systems Thinking requires conscious effort, and creating effective business systems can be challenging at first. With ever-more practice and experience, the process becomes routine and your confidence grows. You become proficient at the MASTER SKILL of the entrepreneur.

  4. Unconscious competence - Systems Thinking is now easy and instinctive. You've had so much practice with developing your business systems and processes that it has become "second nature"—a habit! You perform the task without conscious effort or difficulty. You are alert to "cause and effect," continually refining your systems to solve problems and improve business performance. Without thinking, you teach and show others the way of a Systems Thinker.

Become an Unconscious-Competent Organization

We are all "unconscious competent" at such things as reading, typing, driving, and perhaps some sports skills. Are you ready to turn your business into an unconscious-competent organization?

By developing effective business systems and processes, your company will operate at peak performance even when you are not around. You can take time off, or get someone to run the business for you. After all, an unconscious-competent organization runs on autopilot. It has finally become the business you envisioned.

Decide what stage of Systems Thinking you are at and press forward to the next stage. Experience the awakening and exhilaration that come as you take each important step. Believe me, I know. I've come through the process, just like you will!

Check out these related articles:
Are You a Systems Thinker?
10 Values of a Systems Thinker!
Systems Thinking Can Double Your Sales!


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Tags: Systems Thinker, Systems