Discussing systems dynamics and leverage points, an interesting thought lingers. Systems thinkers have the ability to simplify complexity for wiser decision-making through identifying leverage points and pushing them in the right directions. However, is it possible realizing leverage points may create an urgency to move in the wrong direction rather than result in wiser decisions about growth? Allow me to explain.
Leverage points are places within a complex system where a small shift in one thing can produce big changes in everything (Meadows, 1999). Essentially, they are points of power, however they appear to be counterintuitive to identify or at least to know the proper direction to push them (Meadows, 1999). If leverage points are counterintuitive and are instinctively pushed in the wrong direction, and even when they are identified and the proper direction they should be pushed is identified, but those who are decision-makers are either unable to understand the truth or powerless to choose against the will of the masses, then the identification of the leverage point has become an exercise in theoretical behavior. Decisions are still made as they would have been made before the leverage point was identified, making the whole exercise a waste in resources.
Take Russian for instance. The Russians believe lower global power is due to land mass and population decreases (leverage points), so they advance on neighbors claiming rights to the land and people (Fields, 2017). Models show Russia will drop from world power status by the end of the century. Is it possible for Russian leadership to choose to advance global power differently? Possible, but not probable due to insurmountable cultural constructs. The exercise of leverage points is a wasted effort for them due to their inability to objectively approach the situation.
Do ministry leaders do the same thing?
Fields, P. (2017, February 20). Indonesia: Out of Nowhere.
Meadows, D. (1999). Leverage Points: Places to Intervene Within a System. Sustainability Institute.