Are you a One System Thinker?

Test yourself on how good a One System Thinker you believe you are.

Reading time: 5 minutes

1. How do you score?

For each statement, score yourself on this scale of 0 -10.

Statement                           Scale
I put myself first I put my team first
I put my team first I put my organisation first
I move from one task to the next. I just crack on with the job I’m good at sharing with others and seeing my work in context
My focus is on me and my team My focus is the organisation and how my team fits into it
I’m naturally focused on what’s in front of me I naturally see the bigger picture
My personal goals are the most important thing The organisation’s success is more important than my personal success
We’re busy, I sometimes forget to tell others what we’re doing I’m good at telling others what they need to know
I couldn’t clearly tell you the goals and objectives of other teams I’ve a great understanding of how we all work together
I often think “no one told me/us” I’m really good at proactively finding out about what is going on – the big picture
I find myself frequently competing for internal resources Our competitors are our competition
I’m naturally independent I’m naturally collaborative

2. Your score

A score of 90 to 110 – you’re a One System Thinking Champion! Keep this up and play a lead role in encouraging others to follow your lead.

A score of 70 to 90 – you’re doing an ok job here, neither helping nor hindering your organisation to perform as one in achieving what it’s trying to achieve. Consider your answers to the questions above and when or where you have the opportunity to think and act wider and consider the broader organisational needs.

A score of 45 to 70 – ah, perhaps your environment has up to now been encouraging you to have a narrow focus. There could be great performance benefit for your organisation if you’re able to adjust your thinking and behaviour for mutual gain. Your manager may be able to help you to do that.

A score of 0 – 45 – you need to think again. Your organisation needs One System Thinkers and that just isn’t you right now. Talk to your manager about the role you think you’re playing and the role the organisation needs you to play, to identify gaps and changes needed.

3. So what?

Given your scores, and given the importance of One System Thinking to the overall success of your organisation, what could you do to improve your personal performance here? There are initial suggestions above but there might be other things you want to do.

Tactical suggestions include:

  • Think win/win. How can you achieve what you need to achieve and help everyone else in your organisation at the same time?
  • Ask “Who needs to know?” So as you gather new information or decisions ask who else in your organisation needs to be informed
  • Be proactive in improving your knowledge of your world. Keep yourself informed about what else is happening in your organisation. Make sure you know the strategy, priorities, challenges and objectives of the organisation, and leaders and managers around you
  • Ask others outside your business area for feedback on the things you need to keep the same and the things you need to do differently
  • Take existing opportunities, or those that present themselves, to connect – via reading internal blogs, lunchtime seminars or whatever mechanisms allow you to appreciate your wider place and impact