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The parable of the 6 blind men and the elephant has been used to illustrate a range of truths and untruths. We use it here to describe the importance of system thinking in understanding that an organisation is made up of many parts and although they have different functions they need to be connected, organised and understood to create a single purpose.
A group of 6 blind men are asked to touch different parts of the elephant and describe what it is. Each man describes the elephant differently. The one who has the tail as a rope, the one who touches the side as a wall, the one who touches the ear as an fan, the one who touches the trunk as a snake, the one who touches the tusk as a spear and the one that touches the leg as a tree.
Broadly the parable is implying that one’s subjective experience can be true but such experience is inherently limited by its failure to account for other truths or a totality of truth. It demonstrates a deficit due to inaccessibility of information, the lack of communication between them, and respect for different perspectives. We help connect the different parts of an organisation through better understanding of role and purpose and how each part contributes to organisational goals.
Most organisations exist to produce an output; this could be a product in the case of a manufacturing industry, a service in a service industry or information in a researched based organisation. In all organisations there are processes that relate to inputs (resources, assets, suppliers, information etc), and these inputs need to be processed or transformed within the organisation to produce an output, (products and services, profits and losses, employee growth and satisfaction). We help organisations better understand the processes and their connection to the larger system.
We are advocates of the concept of Cybernetics and Learning to Learn. Cybernetics as a term was first used by mathematician Norbert Wiener in the 1940’s and related to the study of what and how information is gathered, how it is communicated and used and who has control and influence of that information. It is about having appropriate feedback systems that allow you to learn.
When Cybernetics is applied to studying organisations as a system there are four principals that are explored. First, that organisation's should have systems with the capacity of sensing, monitoring and scanning significant aspects of their environment. Second, systems should be able to match that information to the organisational strategies, values, goals and policies. Third, systems need to be able to review any major deviations and finally systems need to have a process of implementing any corrective action. This concept also requires organisations to have good systems and processes for capturing and managing data and knowledge.
Calibrations Consulting offers the following services under systems & processes
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