The Questions that Provide Big(ger) Picture Understanding

Applying the Science of Systems Thinking to Decision Making

Competitive market forces of the current economic climate mean that more and more companies are seeking consulting in the hopes of improving efficiency while reducing costs. Although that has always been the goal of large businesses, this era has seen a marked rise due to the cult of efficiency surrounding productivity and profits.

However, forsaking the mass of critical elements just for the sake of focusing on efficiency or revenue could have disastrous consequences without big picture thinking. The FoRSE™ Matrix will help you ask the questions that provide big picture understanding, ensuring that you don’t potentially detrimental decisions. They include:

What are the effects of the form or design on personal or social well-being?

The form or the design (how it looks) of a perceived problem or of a desired practice needs to fulfill certain criteria for you. What are the positive and negative effects that this design will have on the individual level? What objectives does it fulfill?  You must ask yourself what you’re accomplishing with the form or design before moving on to the community. In terms of the social well-being, what does it achieve for the company, the locale, and the global community at large?

What is the rationale behind the form?

You have to ask yourself if the form is in line with your principles, and how the form achieves purposes laid out in your principles. Is the research well-documented? Are the ripple effects predicted properly? What is it that has made you go forward with this decision?

What effects does the infrastructure have on the individual and community?

For individuals, it is imperative that all aspects of the infrastructure are taken into account. For example, how does the timeline or schedule impact the individual’s well-being? How does it affect future sustainability and fit in with the personal power model?

For the community, one needs to ask how the implementation of the solution affects the company and the community at large. What are the positive and negative effects? Consider the resources needed, the ripple effects when they are implemented, the schedule, the discussion, the psychological effects, and environmental effects.

What is the rationale behind the decision-making model?

Do you have concrete numbers to back up the allocation of resources, or the expenditure of time and effort? Is it worth gaining what you will, or lose what you might after it is all said and done? How about spending manpower on this solution for as long as it might take? This means conducting deep research and allocating company resources towards understanding what may or may not happen due to this solution.

All of the questions in the matrix need to be answered in order to gain big picture thinking. By focusing only on one area, a company may achieve some of its goals, but will not achieve them all, and certainly not assure success or sustainability. The FoRSE™ Matrix will help guide your decision making to ensure that each decision is properly thought out, and all of your solutions are implemented properly.

What are the effects of decision making on the community?

Now that we have covered the effects of the form or design on the community we must continue building a complete picture of the issue at hand. This brings us to the effects of decision making of the infrastructure on the community at large. Infrastructure is the...

The Effects of Form or Design on Community

Big Picture Thinking has to do with providing the clearest understanding of a problem, question, issue, change or whatever the event is along with the consequent effects. Decision-makers, including consultants (ask your consulting firm if they use the FoRSE™) should...

The Effects of Purposes on the Community

Another critical component of big picture thinking concerns the ripple effects the organizational purposes have on community, whether corporate or external. Recall that the purposes of any organization, including business, are the conceptual ideals, the driving...