The SalesTech Solutions Process

Systems Approach vs. Analytical Approach

Analysis is the process of separating something into its constituent elements for the purpose of examination. This method often makes the task easier; and provides useful information.

Analysis is a powerful tool, it provides useful information. Unfortunately, one of its greatest strengths – taking things apart – is also its greatest weakness. Although analysis offers the examiner visibility and knowledge of underlying characteristics, it comes at a price. To gain those views, vital information is lost; – system dynamics. Often, dynamics produce the essence of a system. Another shortcoming of analysis – it can be fatal to a system.

A more challenging, but illuminating method, to investigate complex dynamic structures is, “systems thinking.” This practice observes performance systems in their native environment. It is done to identify how the parts interact and respond to different forces. It examines the nature and impact of external forces. It reveals how the system responds to internal and external changes. It allows an investigator to map causal relationships; which can be used to identify opportunities and vulnerabilities. Furthermore, it can be used to predict the impact of interventions, or test actual outcomes. Systems thinking is a compelling process that yields pragmatic and actionable results.

Performance Improvement methodology utilizes a systems approach to assess problems, design solutions and evaluate results.


1. Employ a “Systems Approach” to Assess Performance Problems

Businesses are complex, dynamic systems; with multiple interrelated elements. Classic analytical training and thinking offers a compartmentalized approach to organize, manage and study business. This attempt to simplify is problematic. It either ignores or downplays the importance and impact of the interrelations and interactions between elements. Furthermore, it creates a misperception of the solutions required to achieve the desired changes or results. The disconnect between interventions and desired outcomes makes it difficult to determine the factors undermining the results. It calls for a better diagnostic tool. The “systems approach” prescribed in Performance Improvement overcame the inadequacies of analytical model.

2. Develop Holistic Solutions

In concert with the need for an accurate diagnosis is the need for a complete solution; one that addresses problems at the source(s) rather than treating symptoms. The systems nature of business often necessitates a multifaceted intervention. That is because forces (interventions) that act on a system (business) generate a cascade of reactions; including resistance. Developing effective solutions requires visibility of causal events in order prepare tactics that anticipate and manage the chain of events.

3. Design and Develop Effective Instructional Materials

Instruction is rarely the sole response to a performance problem; however, it frequently plays a role in the solution. Developing quality instructional materials is a science and an art. It considers learning theories, learner experiences and learner preferences; then utilizes design principles and instructional technologies to facilitate the acquisition and application of new ideas and abilities. Although general principles guide the process, each situation presents unique variables that makes Instructional Design far more challenging than assembling a collection of facts and data.

4. Provide Accessible Support

Today’s fast-paced, global world keeps the content and learner in constant motion. There are less frequent opportunities for formal learning experiences in classrooms. Instead, it becomes a matter of just-in-time learning; accessing what is needed, when and where it is needed. Providing the tools, technology and training to participate in this new reality is the challenge of modern educators. It is not a fad, it is fact.