System thinking is the most significant component of tackling complex problems while achieving simplicity. Senge (2010) addressed the 11 laws of the 5th problem that are important in a learning organization, one that applies system thinking to recognize and evaluate the presence of universal patterns of behavior in the workplace as well as life. As a result, the use of system thinking in an organization promotes patience, prudence, sound judgment vital for success. Therefore, Senge (2010) developed his understanding of the patterns of the universal behavior in what he termed as the 11 laws of system thinking. Most importantly is the implication of these rules in management, leadership, and the overall organizational behavior (Maani & Cavana, 2010). With this note, I will define and experienced while working with Yahoo. The experience has been very educative and has helped me to strive to unleash my potential in business leadership and management.
According to Senge (2010), the harder you push, the harder the system pushes back is the second law of the eleven rules of system thinking. The law simply means that the implementation of change in an organization takes time. When the system is pushed towards a certain direction or solution, there is a tendency of the system to resist change resulting in compensative feedback. In life and business, people respond to change with fierce criticism, aggression, or passive aggression (Maani & Cavana, 2010). As such, only when change is accompanied by the incentives and explanation for the shift in operations, do most people accept change. Flexibility is a virtue that everyone and businesses should have but people are always static, and it takes time to adapt to new changes (Senge, 2010). Commitment, patience, and humility are essential aspects of the equation to achieve success in change.
Yahoo has suffered due to the neglect of this law of system thinking. All CEOs should have a complete understanding of 11 laws as stipulated by Senge (2010) in his book The Fifth Discipline. Unfortunately, Marissa Mayer the CEO at Yahoo and the organization itself have fallen short of the second law. In a case of compensation feedback, investors have rejected and resisted the management style, companys business strategy, and financial judgments by reducing Yahoos market capitalization. Investors have explained their position in almost every publication whether online or on business magazines. Similarly, the top executives at the company have rejected the management style of Marissa and fled the company. Yahoo has experienced a high turnover of top-level management because of the resistance to change. However, Yahoo has recognized the setback and is on the right verge of recovery, but the more the company makes wrong judgments, the more stakeholders demand different incentives. This law has taught me that patience is a virtue of maintaining even when things go wrong. Whenever I encounter challenges, I should not flee but help the management to make the right choices.
According to Senge (2010), the third law is that behavior will grow better before it grows worse. The law implies that people tend to create problems unconsciously. When businesses, managers, and employees may perform incredibly well in their chores, they may be creating future problems without their knowledge. When the problems come to fruition, they contradict the previous performance (Romero, 2013). In the case of Yahoo, the acquisition strategy adopted by the company had delayed the inevitable. The strategy seemed viable because it provided a good income and cash flow for the company. However, the ugly truth of the matter is that Yahoo lost its market dominance and can never catch up with its closest competitor, Google. In light of this challenge, it is important for organizations to carry out the cost and benefit analysis of a strategy before implementing it. If the strategy looks ripe, it is crucial to undertake further assessments by looking into future implications for business.
Faster is slower is the last law experienced at Yahoo. According to Senge (2010), every system is unique regarding its optimal speed. In the workplace, it is common to hire a consultant or new manager to fix and improve business operations. However, fixing problems at a fast rate leads to a slow cure because it takes time to acquire or create sustainable solutions (Romero, 2013). For instance, if a company is having the challenge of generating profits, it can fix the profit margin by cutting costs by reducing pay and laying off employees or even use cheap raw materials. These are short-term solutions that Yahoo has experienced. It is effortless for Yahoo to write big checks to buy or acquire companies to leverage its market position. However, it is difficult for the company to beat Google and succeed in the future internet business. With this note, sustainable solutions and strategies are the most effective tools for achieving a competitive edge and market dominance. If a company pursues short-term gains, it may never grow to full potential.
In conclusion, Senges laws of system thinking are important factors that determine the success or failure of an organization. An organization that utilizes this law is a learning organization with the culture of coordinating all systems to work towards achieving its set goals and objectives. Without a clear understanding of business strategies, system design, strategic management, and leadership, companies like Yahoo break the 11 laws and suffer hefty consequences.
Maani, K., & Cavana, R. (2010). Systems thinking, system dynamics. Rosedale: Pearson Prentice
Hall.Romero, L. (2013). Solving Complex Problems with the 11 Laws of Systems Thinking - Luis E.
Romero. Luis E. Romero. Retrieved 25 January 2018, from https://www.leromero.com/2013/07/15/the-11-laws-of-systems-thinking/
Senge, P. (2010). The fifth discipline: The Art & Practice of The Learning Organization.
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