Malcolm Gladwell advises writers to use systems thinking

23 May 2018
23 May 2018, Comments: 0


“One of the mistakes that writers make is spending a lot of time thinking how to start their stories and not a lot of time thinking about how to end them. Knowing my ending makes the beginning super easy. It’s totally clear what I have to do and totally clear what I shouldn’t do.”

– Malcolm Gladwell

I love this quote. Although he is speaking about writing, “know your ending” applies to writers and businesses.

This is the essence of systems thinking. Start with a clear idea of what you want to achieve and then everything else easily flows from there.

If I know what I want my organization to be like in 5 years, then I pretend I am in that place and look backwards to today and ask “what do I have to do to get to where I am?” Then I make the best choices for actions to move myself and my organization towards the future I envision.

In Malcolm Gladwell’s words the process is “super easy” once I know my ending.

Why don’t we “start with the end in mind” as Stephen Covey phrases it? Because we are grounded in the here and now and we aren’t taught or given the tools to rise above today’s situation and see the possible future.

Think about what you’d like your company to be like in 5 years. Get a clear picture of that future and then share it with others. Once they buy into it, then together you can make those clear decisions on what to do.

If you want to learn more about systems thinking contact me at

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