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Systems thinking has long been valued in organizational change for its ability to see the big picture and understand how different parts of a system influence one another.

As our world grows increasingly complex, systems thinking is more relevant than ever. At the same time, new models like Enterprise Agility offer innovative frameworks to help companies adapt and thrive amid constant change.

In our experience guiding major transformation efforts, systems thinking and Enterprise Agility make a powerful combination. Each approach brings unique strengths that, when integrated thoughtfully, can propel an organization forward.

Let's first look at systems thinking. It teaches us to understand issues not in isolation, but as part of an interconnected system. We learn to identify the circular causal relationships, feedback loops and systemic structures that drive behavior. This helps prevent "fixing" one issue in a way that causes problems elsewhere. With systems thinking, we can craft solutions that account for the whole, rather than optimizing isolated parts.

Now let's explore some of Enterprise Agility's newest frameworks. The Enterprise Agility Body of Knowledge (EABOK) offers a wealth of models to help companies sense changes in the environment, explore the implications, and respond with agility. For instance, the ATOM model provides a simple but powerful quadrant view to categorize decisions and innovations based on whether they increase revenue, reduce costs, avoid costs or protect revenue.

When overlaid with a systems thinking perspective, the connections between these EABOK frameworks become clearer. We can see how changes in one area cascade to others. ATOM decisions to reduce costs in one department might negatively impact another team's ability to increase revenue. Only by using a systems view do we identify potential conflicts or opportunities for collaboration early.

Enterprise Agility also provides the TriValue Company Model (TVC) as a new way to evaluate business decisions from the perspective of customer value, company value and workforce wellbeing. This moves far beyond traditional financially-driven models to a more systemic, holistic view. With systems thinking, we can trace the tangible and intangible impacts on each element of the TriValue system.

Finally, Enterprise Agility emphasizes facilitating dialogue and collaboration across silos during fast-paced change. Whether through the Memorable Learning Experience (MLE) framework to create a new social contract for accelerated change or leadership committed to systems thinking, both approaches break down barriers to think bigger and see solutions that aren't apparent from a narrow view.

In today's fast-changing business environment, companies cannot afford to optimize isolated departments at the expense of the larger organization. They need the ability to continually adapt and respond to market disruptions. By combining systems thinking and Enterprise Agility foundations and models, organizations can drive transformation in a way that accounts for interconnectedness, promotes cross-functional collaboration and sustainably grows value.

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