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October 2016 • SMT Magazine 35 systems in which they work? Remember, approxi- mately 94% of the results are a function of the sys- tems in which people work, not the efforts of peo- ple. Most of the time when we measure results we attribute to people, we are measuring results pro- duced by the systems. ______________________________________ This question tests the responder in a cou- ple of ways. First, it gets to the heart of sys- tems thinking and if the responder is a systems thinker. The best answer is systems thinking and tools. Only 10.71% of responders chose this best answer while 38.57% chose vision, mission and values. If vision, mission and values do not in- clude systems thinking and tools, it is very diffi- cult to set people or the company up to be suc- cessful—or at least optimally successful. Sec- ond, although a widely accepted practice, spe- cific job training by a superior is simply wrong. It adds variation to systems making them less ef- ficient over time. While sexual harassment train- ing is important, sexual harassment itself in the workplace is a cultural problem that must be ad- dressed at that higher level before training itself will be effective. Policies and procedures are use- ful, but usually only in disciplining employees. Instead, build policies and procedures around optimized systems. ____________________________________ This question looks at the responder's un- derstanding of systems thinking. There is only one best answer to this question and that is ab- solutely. You either are a systems thinker or not. If you are a systems thinker, you know it abso- lutely. If you're not a systems thinker or only on your way to becoming a systems thinker, you will have responded something other than ab- solutely. Systems thinking is much like learning a foreign language. At first we translate the for- eign language back into our native thinking to make sense of it. As we progress, we are able to translate more and more back into our native thinking. One day, with ongoing practice, we reach a point where we don't have to translate back. We simply think in the foreign language. At that point we are fluent. Systems thinking can be a curse in that, when you think in sys- tems, it's often difficult to believe the workplace works at all with all the non-systematic think- ing entrenched within the vast majority of lead- ers and managers.

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