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Systems Seen and Unseen

December 13, 2019

There are many situations in life when we make decisions very intentionally. For example, it’s very rare that someone would plan a wedding without careful consideration of how things will look, who will stand or sit in particular places, how much items will cost and so forth.

On the other hand, we approach some situations without a lot of forethought like when we attend an event where we meet new people, dropping off kids at school or going to the dog park. It’s during these types of events when we “fly by the seat of our pants," stumble into the circumstance and sometimes look back saying “well, that didn’t go so well."

In all circumstances our preferences are working behind the scenes influencing what we say and how we behave. Whether we are aware or not, we are constantly following or establishing systems that we have engineered for ourselves based on our style, habits and experiences. When we interact with people, make friends, choose partners and spouses, or seek employment, we are actually following or establishing a system for each circumstance.

An important aspect in establishing systems is to make sure we do it intentionally and visibly. We need to bring consciousness and awareness to this process.

We form our internal systems from either experience or inexperience, from logic or convenience. And whatever the root motivator for this system, we have either created an effective or ineffective system by which we will operate according-to in the future.

Some systems are easier for us to recognize. Likely those are the ones we have sat down and built with some level of intentionality. An example may be recruiting in business. We define a role mandate, we assess our current team, identify a gap, engage HR recruiting and so forth.

Other systems are informal and can be more challenging to identify. These instances require us to stop and take a look, to shed light on them; but how do we know when to stop and look?

It can be as simple as asking “why did I just choose to do or say what I did?” This initiates the process, it opens the door. From there an idealized redesign of that system may be in order. Imagine the value of sitting down alone for a couple of minutes and defining exactly how you would like to occur to others, discover their needs or learn something new for an upcoming networking event.

Defining the following are essential: the boundaries, the desired outcome, the steps and any variances. Though these sound like mechanical things, especially when considering informal people related systems, they can help you be the best “you” in all types of situations. They can also help increase your chances of being successful in more situations.


-Ryan Ramsdale


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