8 December 2020

Dear Chad and Geoff,

A personal reflection: … 3 months ago, we commenced the Leadership for Systems Change course – and my hopes were for all of use to become more sophisticated at systems thinking and leading through complexity, and for the process to enable connections between leaders and organisations. It was encouraging to hear the willingness of supervisors to let staff work in new ways. It was a lengthy commitment, and yet now seems like it has flown.

We started out looking at the inner game and outer game of leaders, our own challenges in these, traps to changing, and the task of developing 3 new mindsets. We looked at the need for being critical thinkers, and slow considered thinkers.

We explored complexity and uncertainty, the known and the unknown, fear and fertile ground. To tackle complexity we were guided to look for patterns, look for connections, and see the broader systems, to support our sense making. We looked at events, as parts of patterns, surrounded by elements that make up the system, and with various scenarios were asked What were we noticing – where were we on the dance floor, what were the other perspectives?

We were challenged to try to be clear about What exactly, we were trying to change. We looked at the phenomenon of change and saw trends occurring over time, and tipping points for change, and applied our own complex problems to better understand our situations. We explored what would better or different look like, what IS the status quo, and what OUGHT it be? We looked at the current pace of change, outstripping the pace of learning, and the need for agility and iteration in our change making.

We looked at the most effective ways to make social change, by changing the prevailing paradigm, and how this involves the daunting task of changing cultures and values. We explored how we might using our own spheres of influence such as with anecdote circles, to hear and learn from people about what they value and care about, as a way of identifying opportunities to nudge the broader system. We learnt that we can’t understand complex systems such as social systems, by looking at the sum of its parts, as complexity is dynamic.

But we can identify links and causal loops, bring people together, explore identities, boundaries, barriers and attractors; probe, sense and respond; take action and learn, in manageable ways – whether Safe to Fail experiments or leading Tiny team, Tiny task prototypes.

We covered the power of coaching, expressing curiosity as a leader, and practised asking What would it take to… How would it be if…You might want to consider… and we explored our workplace scenarios – what we have successfully been able to shift and how we did it.

And we pulled all of it together concluding a key role as a leader in complex systems is to lead conversations and collaboration. It was heartening to hear the confidence people had gained, and the activity already occurring to test our learning. Christmas parties are going to be a-buzz as we hold court, tell stories, and enthral with words like cynefin and heuristics!

Chad and Geoff have taken us on an extensive learning journey, and held our attention through long days, balancing theory and practice, engaging with passion and humour, and connecting us in the most difficult of environments: online and through a pandemic in ways that have been able to touch us personally. I have really enjoyed learning more about the amazing and inspiring lives of participants. On behalf of us all, I want to sincerely thankyou both, for outstanding facilitation; for sharing your extensive experience; and for putting together such a comprehensive range of resources, and for contributing to our growth and capacity to improve our organisations and communities.

Please feel free to use this as a testimonial.

Warm regards,


Tracey Blythe

Executive Officer

Inner East Primary Care Partnership