Systems in Change

Systems Thinking

Much has been written about Systems Thinking, also referred to as Systems Theory. Systems Thinking is essentially when we think about something like a team, a work organization, or a society as a system that is comprised of various parts that all work together to achieve goals or that behave in some standard way.

Systems have an interesting quality that they “emerge” as something different or in some ways greater than the sum of their parts. For example, the 1996 Chicago Bulls was a group of individuals who came together and, working as a team or system, they emerged as one of the greatest teams ever to play basketball. (I am not good at sports metaphors, so please don’t let this be a point of departure from the message.)


Nature is full of systems. Our bodies have respiratory systems, circulatory systems, endocrine systems, reproductive systems, etc. But, even more basic, we can consider that groups of cells come together to form a system known as a body, whether it’s the body of a human or a pig or a dragonfly or what have you.

More basic still, nature dictates that molecules come together to form systems called cells and atoms come together to form systems called molecules. Each system in these examples can be described as individual parts emerging as something greater than the sum of the parts.


So, systems experience emergence, got it. They also have the characteristic that each part is connected via the other parts in the system in such a way that a change to one part of the system will have an effect on the other parts of the system.

I view our entire world as a system. Each of us are parts of the system and each of us have the opportunity to influence other parts of the system. The system emerges for better or worse, based on how we influence each other.

Philosophical Positioning

When I think about human beings as individuals, I consider that we are somewhere in the middle of many, many layers of emergence. We are not at the beginning, nor are we at the end. Much of nature has already unfolded before the necessary pieces were in place to form human consciousness, and yet, so much still remains undone that humans can influence. There is both momentum for emergence and potential for influence that is ours no matter how we behave.

The mission of Salient Moves is to elevate humanity by helping individuals grow and achieve their dreams.

Given all that is going on in our world right now, how do you wish to influence the systems at higher levels of emergence? How do you wish to influence those people around you? I believe this journey of changing the way we influence each other and emerge together must start at the individual level. If each human being were to strive to become their greatest self, the way we would emerge as nations and societies would be greater than our wildest dreams.

So, continue to be the change. Continue to be the example. Chase your dreams and live your values. Be the influence that your world needs.

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