October 17, 2003
Understanding the Enterprise as a System
Retired GM executive Vince Barabba shares his thoughts on "Understanding the Enterprise as a System" in Jay Chatzkel's latest book, Knowledge Capital: How Knowledge-Based Enterprises Really Get Built.
Barabba states that leadership's role is to understand the principles of systems thinking. Drawing on examples from GM, Barabba discusses the challenge of pervasive contact with different types of markets/customers, the need to understand how parts interact, and ways to use that interaction to provide the greatest value to customers.
A number of other concepts are discussed, such as the dialogue decision process, measurement of progress within a systems approach, and the customization of product selection to suit customer demands.
Emphasizing the importance of a knowledge network in which all employees have access to what they need to do their jobs effectively, Barabba quotes Churchman: “The value of knowledge is in its use, not its collection. It is how the user reacts to the collection that really matters.”