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Building a Systems Thinking Culture at Ford Motor Company

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Building a Systems Thinking Culture at Ford Motor Company
Volume 6, Number 4/5, 2005 - Reflections: The SoL Journal

By Jeremy Seligman

The benefits of practicing systems thinking - gaining an understanding of the dynamics of a system and how to intervene in it successfully - are incontrovertible. Yet many in the systems thinking (ST) and organizational learning communities have experienced frustration in creating sustainable communities of practice in corporate environments. In this article, Jeremy Seligman from Ford Motor Company recounts how the organization's Information Technology Group initiated a second wave of high-visibility ST projects, incorporating lessons learned from Ford's initial application of ST in the 1990s. One key insight guiding their action was that a successful ST project does not simply result in a set of elegant causal loop diagrams, but also creates a new capacity for reflective dialogue, deep insight, and the shifting of entrenched mental models.