The Effective Executive Step 1 – The System Map

Veteran, new and aspiring executives need methods to be successful in their organization. There are 1000s of leadership podcasts, videos, blogs, and articles but few authors address what to do or how to do it.

We have witnessed many executives who are efficient (doing things right), but few executives are effective (doing the right things). We believe this is misguided and aim to remedy the shortfall with executives.

This is the 6th episode of The Effective Executive podcast. In this episode, Tripp will discuss the importance of the system map as a necessary first step to becoming an effective executive. Download our FREE Effective Executive Starter Kit.
Resources mentioned in this episode:

Show Notes

The Effective Executive – Season 2 Episode 6

Episode 6: The Effective Executive Step 1 – The System Map

You Need to Apply to Your Own Organization

The Progression of the System Map

Customers Naturally See Through a System Lens

First a System Map of Your Organization – then How a System Map of Larger Systems Your Organization is a Part

The Effective Executive Benefits from Synthetic Thinking and the System Map Facilitates

The Effective Executive Starter Kit and System Map Course




Tripp Babbitt: [00:00:01] Hi, I’m Tripp Babbitt, and this is Episode six of the Effective Executive Podcast.


Tripp Babbitt: [00:00:09] And in this episode, I’m going to talk to you about what I consider to be the foundational step or step one of becoming an effective executive. And the first step is building a system map. Now, this is part of the executive education program that I’ve put together and becoming an effective executive and we’ve already talked about in previous episodes about performance and and with executives being efficient versus being effective and efficient is doing things right versus being effective, doing the right things. And we want executives to be effective, doing the right things. So the second component that we talk about in association with becoming an effective executive is understanding the difference between an analytical thinker and a synthetic thinker. And most of us are analytical thinkers. As executives, I’ve stated over ninety nine percent of us are analytical thinkers. It’s natural. What is a bit unnatural is becoming a synthetic thinker. Looking at the broader picture, how the system works, not just your department, but how does the organization operate and what’s the thinking behind it? So becoming a synthetic thinker isn’t just something that you can read a book on and say, OK, now I’m a synthetic thinker, it’s something you have to practice. It’s something that you have to to go through a process in order to develop that type of thinking.


Tripp Babbitt: [00:01:53] So this is the part of the executive education program that I emphasize at the beginning, as found, as foundational as step one and what you need to do to become a synthetic thinker. So in the way I have set it up, as you look through two different lenses, one is a customer lens and the other is the thinking lens, and this is much different than what you’re going to find in a university. They’re going to teach you some theory. They’re going to teach us some case studies, and then they’re going to tell you to copy, you know, organizations that are doing it well. And all of those things fly in the face of synthetic thinking and looking at systems because systems are different. You have different customers, you have different people. There is just an abundance of things that are different in your organization and why you need to look at it and build and construct a system map in your organization as an executive. It’s going to give you key insights. It’s going to give you a different look at your organization. Now, I first started doing system maps back in 1991 and I based it off of the work of W. Edwards Deming, what was called his famous figure one diagram, and that, in essence, was developing something some people call Saipov, some people a sepak, but it’s basically suppliers, inputs, processes, outputs and customers.


Tripp Babbitt: [00:03:26] And as time went by, I progressed from there has been an iterative process of what works in organizations as far as refining that system map concluding in what I’ve built in the executive education program. So what’s in there has gone through many, many, many iterations in order to get to what I’ve developed to this point, and it will continue to get updated as I continue to learn from working with different organizations and what’s helpful to people in constructing their system. Matt? Now, what’s the use of building the system beyond helping you become a synthetic thinker is it’s going to help you identify priorities and it’s going to also help you understand what’s important to customers and how well you’re delivering on what’s important to customers. Now, as I mentioned, we’re going to look through two lenses. We’re going to look through the customer lens, and we’re also going to look through a thinking lens. Now, the customer lens. Why do we look through that? Well, to me, customers are the original synthetic thinkers. They they don’t really care about your departments or your teams or your executives or anything about your organization, other getting what they need from your organization. So when you say I’ve got to pass it to another department or another individual or whatever, they don’t really care. They just want their their solution, buying the product or getting the service that they need in order to satisfy their wants and needs.


Tripp Babbitt: [00:05:11] So this is why we look through the customer lens. We don’t see things as customers see see them because that helps us develop our synthetic become a better synthetic thinker. Now, in that you’re also going to learn an executive education program about neuroscience, you’re going to learn about how things flow through your system and understand the interactions that your customers have with your organization. You’re also going to study the types of interactions they are they avoidable? In other words, did I even need to the customer really need to call in or was there something we could have done to mitigate them calling in in the first place or showing up or, you know, communicating with your organization? Because if we can eliminate avoidable interactions, then we’re going to be able to have a much more not only efficient organization, but it’s going to be more effective. From a from a customer standpoint, then we will look through the second lens, which is the thinking lens, and I use the words just because what I came up with is every organization is designed with certain theories and I call them theories at work or theory at work in an organization. What are your theories about things, especially to key areas, control and motivation. And those affect a lot of how you design your organization, the types of service or products that your customers get influence.


Tripp Babbitt: [00:06:49] It’s these interaction of the parts that we talk about when we’re talking in terms of synthetic thinking and control and motivation are two key ones and there’s an abundance of other ones. In the executive education program, I go through a number of the ones that I run into that may be affecting how your organization performs. So. To be an effective executive, the first step is to build the system map, looking at your own organization now, looking at case studies like the universities tell you to do and all of these crazy things that don’t have anything to do with your organization or worse, you copy what Apple did and you know, it blows up because it’s not your organization. It’s not the same. You have to build something for your organization, but you’ll be able to look at your organization as a system. And then first, because let’s say you’re an executive overengineering, well, the first thing you’ve got to do is understand your whole organization, how it interacts as a system before you begin to look at outside of how your organization plays within its industry, within society and things of that sort. So there are always larger systems that play your organization. But step one is understanding your own organization as a system before we go out and start to touch on some of these other things.


Tripp Babbitt: [00:08:26] Now, in comparison, you know, you might look at, for instance, an automobile manufacturer is part when we talk and turn off larger systems or part of the transportation industry. So that gives you a sense, a little bit of what we’re not going to address at the beginning, because the baby step, the first step is putting all of your departments and teams and things and understanding, first of all, how it operates as a system and the interaction of those parts in that system and then moving on to broader types of systems that you don’t want to worry about at this point. So from there, once you have the system map, you can go to constructing your train. Now, you understand a little bit about what the customer’s trying to get out of it and then understand how you think about things like motivation and control. Now you can begin to understand how how to build an aim. And I’ve said in previous videos that it’s very difficult, I think, for organizations to build their purpose or aim or mission or vision or any of those types of things without being synthetic thinkers. Being a synthetic thinker give you a lot of clarity about the purpose of your organization. And I find it very difficult for an analytical thinker and an efficient thinker to even be able to construct a cohesive aim or purpose in an organization. So AIM construction comes and there’s decision making. Then there’s innovation, then there’s executive data analytics, and then there is customer and organizational design.


Tripp Babbitt: [00:10:24] But the foundational piece of all of this is is, first of all, getting you to become an effective executive by building or constructing that system map of your organization. It’ll do all the things I’ve talked about previously. Now, how can you now who who is this for? As I’ve mentioned, it’s for veteran new and aspiring executives. But that doesn’t mean there are other people wouldn’t benefit from putting a system map together. It’s just that I’ve targeted my training towards those three types of folks, so.


Tripp Babbitt: [00:11:05] As a first step, if you want to kind of get a feel for what the executive education program is like, you can go to kit. And it’s really five videos of kind of getting you acclimated to the thinking and the education program because you don’t know me maybe and I don’t know you, but, you know, do you like the types of things that I’m talking about and does this make sense for you? And because it’s free, it gives you a sense to kind of trial run what it is that you’ll be going through. Now, the other thing you can do if you’re already sold on it, then you can go to, which is E, X, E, C, E, D, and then you put that in and that will take you to the course. There’s a number of.Free previews that you can look at with regards to the course, give you a sense a little bit more of a sense of what the executive education program is about and building the system map, and I’m already in the process of adding to it.


Tripp Babbitt: [00:12:17] So the other things that I talked about, you’ll get, in essence, constructing the aim. I’m working on that right now with a partner of mine. I’m also working on the decision making module. And so I’m going to be adding to this over time. And right now, the prices like two hundred ninety seven dollars. If you go through the starter kit, there’s a discount in there. If you finish the exercises associated with them and send them off to me, then you get a discount from that particular price. So it’s kind of worth going through the starter kit, not only to get a sense of whether I seem like someone that you would want to go through an education program with, but also give you more of a sense of of what it is that you would be going through and then what you, you know, move from there to some pretty free previews at and and go from there. So that’s what I want to discuss this week, is this effective executive step one is building that system map. And for all the reasons I’ve talked about in this episode, will help you become an effective executive and actually make you understand why efficient and analytical isn’t enough and why you need to be a synthetic thinker. All of those are contained within the starter kit and the executive education program.


Tripp Babbitt: [00:13:47] We’ll talk to you next week.


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