There Are No Perfect Systems

There is a saying that systems are perfectly designed to produce the results they get. I wrote about it over at Shape Shift Strategies in 2017, and that post garnered a lot attention. At Worldview Intelligence we draw on systems thinking, pointing to how Worldview Shifts can be fundamental to success in systems change. That is still true.

However, in a recent conversation with a good friend and colleague in the field of education, we were sharing our observations about all that is going on in the world and how what is in the collective field affects us at the individual and personal level. Some of the impact is less tangible, less visible and affects us empathically or through our electromagnetic fields, through which emotions are transmitted. This is why so many of us are beyond exhausted.

Much of the impact is direct and observable, showing up in the systems in which we are a part – like the fields of education or health care. Systems that are currently more over-burdened than ever, due to the impact of the pandemic. Systems that we can’t help but wonder how or if they will recover.

Then it hit me. There are no perfect systems. Maybe there never have been. Maybe there never will be. We can bring all our individual and collective wisdom to redesigning systems and we will still encounter unintended consequences, although there will be fewer when we think in terms of systems. If a perfect system is a fantasy, what are we left with? And, what does Worldview Intelligence have to offer in a world that can seem increasingly chaotic, or that doesn’t seem to make sense anymore?

Business technology concept, Professional business man walking on future network city background and futuristic interface graphic at night, Cyberpunk color style

It is all about relationships.

Systems are made of people. Human dynamics make or break systems. Worldview Intelligence creates the foundation for building trust and relationship, for creating connections between people and building bridges across differences or differing views. The knowledge, skills and language of Worldview Intelligence changes conversations which changes outcomes. For systems to succeed, to find their way through unintended consequences, to work with greater ease, healthy relationships are essential.

There is so much going on around us that we have no influence or control over. There are no quick fixes to complex challenges, there never have been. It is helpful to keep what is directly in front of us in our sights. We can each influence the relationships we have in our own networks and environments, including at work. Our experience, and what people tell us, is that Worldview Intelligence inspires hope and courage, giving us the ability to bring people together on issues that matter, including our concerns about today’s most pressing social, ecological, economic and business challenges.

Maybe there are no perfect systems, just imperfect human beings willing to risk enough to build trust and healthy relationships, to live and work in an imperfect world. We find, this offers hope and inspiration in the face of the challenges we see and experience in all the places we show up.

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