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Systems Thinking Tools For Nonprofit Leaders


This workshop can be offered on site.

An increasingly complex world requires new ways of thinking. The old solutions simply don't work anymore. If you've heard yourself and others say things like "The situation seems to be getting worse", "I feel like I'm butting my head up against a wall", "We seem to be stuck", or "We're going to hell in a hand basket", it's time to consider a systems thinking approach to problem-solving. 

Systems thinking is a way to see beyond isolated events to the deeper patterns, connections and root causes that explain many of the problems that confront us in organizations and communities.  The systems approach to management is a highly effective method for helping leaders understand the relationships that shape environment in which their organizations operate.  It provides nonprofit leaders with an fresh understanding of relationships between our underlying assumptions, the actions we take based on these assumptions and the consequences of these actions - both intended and unintended.


The workshop will provide a practical understanding of systems thinking principles, approaches and tools in order to integrate and use them in individual and team work. The session will include a variety of exercises, worksheets, planning guides and assessment tools for practical application of the concepts back home as well as a resource bibliography. As a result of the training program, participants will:

  1. Learn how to apply selected systems thinking tools in order to reach a deeper understanding of management problems and generate solutions more likely to work.
  1. Work through at least one current critical management issue using a systems approach process to identify possible solutions for action when they return to their organization
  1. Become familiar with other systems thinking resources including training programs, books, software, and websites.
  1. Develop a plan for bringing workshop learning back home to share and apply selected systems thinking tools with others in some of the common decision-making and problem solving arenas that nonprofit leaders operate within: staff, board meetings committee meetings, strategic planning sessions


For persons seeking a practical introduction to systems thinking. The session will be especially useful for executive directors, staff, and board leaders looking for ways to address persistent problems in new ways.

The follow-up systems approach workshop will build on the introduction to systems thinking offered in the all day workshop.  The follow-up half-day session will present additional systems thinking tools and techniques that can help nonprofit leadership address pressing organizational problems.  Special emphasis will be placed on how to develop causal loop diagrams to understand organizational issues in new ways, leading to solutions that address root causes. Participants will work in small groups to practice application of selected tools on their own issues. Additional systems thinking resources will be offered to support professional development.

"There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all." Peter F. Drucker  View Past Quotes

frank@createthefuture.com susan@createthefuture.com

2016 Creative Information Systems 

 In Association with Amazon.com

Revised: June 20, 2016