142: Modeling Constraints in Human Systems with Will Larson

August 7th, 2019 · 1 hr 10 mins

About this Episode

00:48 - Will’s Superpower: 1) The ability to take something complicated and to find simple ways to think about it that work most of the time. 2) A rigorous love of structure.

Thinking in Systems: A Primer

02:30 - Systems Thinking/Theory


08:48 - How do you know when to stop modeling?

10:12 - How do you figure out what your team’s rate of change is?

  • Organizational Changes
  • Process Changes
  • Changes to the Software Systems You’re Managing

Virginia Satir’s Change Model

19:30 - Focusing Attention

Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience

20:31 - Impacting Systems

24:47 - Patterns of Dysfunction

The First 90 Days: Proven Strategies for Getting Up to Speed Faster and Smarter, Updated and Expanded

32:13 - Sharing Ideas and Contributing with Systems Thinking

The Portal Podcast

38:59 - Having Adaptive Capacity

44:30 - Taking Bets (Risks): Cheap vs Expensive

48:10 - Systems Having Properties and Behaviors and Building Useful Missing Tools

Good Strategy Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters


Jessica: The difference in reasoning about properties vs reasoning about behavior.

Will: It’s easy to look at yourself sometimes as the lone practitioner trying to pull the industry forward. But, it’s exciting to have conversations like these to know there are other people out there trying to do the same thing.

Arty: Systems thinking as a way to think about how to optimize the quality of decisions.

Rein: A problem is a reduction of the system. One of the most important skills for a systems thinker and a problem solver is the ability for form a problem with a complete understanding of the complete mess that we’re choosing to not think about right now.

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