Systems-Thinking Mindset - Systems Thinking Powered by RoundTheClock Resources Enables High Human Perofrmance Reliability and Safety, Operational Reliability and Business Profitability in Global, 24-7 and Multi-Shift Operations: Jump to: Content

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Systems-Thinking Mindset

One of our proudest accomplishments has been our ability to impart a systems-thinking mindset to many organizational leaders with whom we have had the privilege to partner. Defined as the ability to assess a set of elements (e.g., parts of an organization) that interact to produce organizational and individual behavior, systems thinking is an essential capability for leaders today. Only by using a systems-thinking mindset can leaders see all of the complexities of a situation and make the difficult tradeoff decisions that business today requires, without engendering costly unintended consequences.

RoundTheClock Resources brings this holistic, systems-thinking perspective to all our consulting and training services. Consider the following scenario:

A prominent manufacturer requested that RoundTheClock Resources deliver its highly successful course, Building ShiftWork Vitality™  (formerly called ShiftWork: How To Cope® Advanced Course) to Team Leaders and front-line workers at one of its unionized plants. The Plant Leadership Team was concerned about the declining safety performance and increasing error rates on the lines. Before delivering this training, however, RoundTheClock Resources analyzed the Plant's operational conditions and practices, including work schedules and work-hours history, and documented a statistical correlation between high overtime levels and poor performance.

By bringing these business facts to bear, RoundTheClock Resources was able to convince Plant and Union leaders of the importance of making system-level changes to accompany the individual-level changes they wanted from the workforce. Specifically, this Plant worked with RoundTheClock to: change its long-standing use of a 3-Crew, 8-Hour "12-2" Shift System; change its Overtime Agreement to eliminate the practice of "overtime hogs"; and make some needed improvements in its Standard Operatind Procedures and Pre-Job Briefings, in addition to delivering the Building ShiftWork Vitality™ Course. The measured outcomes of this systems-thinking solution set were a 19% increase in productivity, 23% improvement in lost-time accident rates, and a 32% decrease in performance errors affecting production uptime and product quality. Such results could not have been achieved without a systems-thinking mindset and change strategy.

Systems Thinking in Round The Clock Enterprises

round the clock enterprises

From the vantage point of systems thinking, we are able to see that there is not a single, linear relationship between a human performanceproblem and one specific solution. Rather, reality in most organizations looks more like the system image presented here, with multiple causes and interconnected solutions being required.


Viewed from this systems mindset, we see that there are at least five different sources of performance problems in round-the-clock operations, and often multiple, linked strategies for solving any given performance problem.  Leveraging the wrong system element could be a costly endeavor. In today's competitive climate, it pays to assess the whole Performance System first in order to establish the source of the problem in your work organization. Only then can you be sure you are taking the right step towards Sustainable Performance in your 24-hour operations, namely, tackling problems at their root source. 



Contact us to discuss applications of systems thinking in your enterprise—whether a multi-shift, global and/or extended-day business.