I’m catching up on some reading this week, and I just read Willem’s disagreement with Jerry’s thoughts. Truth be known, I agree with both Jerry and Willem.

Why I Can Agree

Jerry’s example of here-now-us related to a client’s problem. Through the magic word “snow”, one person transported themselves to “there-then-them”, and applied the emotions and feelings from the “then-there-them” to the current “here-now-us”.

Willem’s example of “there-then-them” shows that reflecting on “there-then-them” (“me“ in his example) provides insight that may allow him to change his behavior (if he wants to).

Neither example precludes or excludes the other when thinking about “there-then-them” and “here-now-us”. So what good is it?

A Useful Tool

The “there-then-them” / “here-now-us” tool can be used tactically or strategically. Tactically it helps problem solvers keep track of WHICH problem they’re trying to solve. When the solving the current problem suddenly vectors off in a surprising direction, be suspicious that someone went “there-then-them”.

Strategically, “there-then-them” can be used to reflect on how we got here, and what we might want to change.

Do you have useful tool for systems thinking? Drop me a note.