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Best Global Practices Of SMEs

Stephen Haines-
World Leader in Strategic Management speaks

CEO ” Entrepreneur ” Global Strategist . . Keynoter ” Systems Thinker ” Distinguished Author

hainesstephenSteve is the world’s foremost authority and leader in the Systems Thinking ApproachTM to Strategic Management (Planning-People-Leadership-Change). He has led Best Practices research, development and expansion of Strategy, Leadership and Systems Thinking concepts for more than 30 years.

Steve is a distinguished and prolific author with over 16 books and an 11 Volume Haines Strategic Management Reference Library in print. He is regularly invited worldwide to consult with progressive CEOs & their organizations. Steve is internationally known for his insightful, passionate and provocative keynote presentations at conferences and his facilitation of CEO and executive seminars.

He is the founder and CEO of the Haines Centre for Strategic Management which was up in 1990 now has Global Partners in over 20 countries around the world.  He has been the CEO of two firms as well as EVP and SVP of two different large financial services firms.

He is a graduate of the US Naval Academy with the Legendary Leadership Class of 1968 and is its class VP.



We take forward the series of “Management Best Practices Research”,by the founder and CEO of the Haines Centre for Strategic Management- Stephen Haine, with the first State-of-the-Art Best Practice – Strategic and Systems Thinking.


The State of the Art Best Practices Report

By Stephen Haines


“The major forces of the universe are invisible and you can use them for free:
Systems Thinking is one!.“

—Stephen Haines

The Four Main Concepts from the Systems Thinking Research that are the basis for the 12 Best Practices Applications are:

#1. The Seven Levels of Living Systems

#2. The 12 characteristics of Living Systems

#3. The basic ABC Simplicity of Systems Thinking

#4. The Rollercoaster of Change



All Systems are in Nested and Interdependent Systems within each other:

allanzeman11. Cell

2. Organ

3. Organism/Individual

4. Group

5. Organization

6. Society/Nation

7. Supranational System/Earth

SOURCE: James Greer Miller, Living Systems, 1978, revised 1995



1. Problem: Thinking that leadership development is a list of skills to be learned

Best Practice: There are six natural levels of leadership development competencies to be mastered

“Leadership is the number one core competency of successful organizations”

Leadership development is bankrupt! Leadership development suffers from quite a number of issues that are keeping it from being successful in many companies. However it starts with the fact that all of the gurus in leadership (there are over 30 of them), distill down the needed leadership skills to a list of their five to 10 key skills. These lists, in and of themselves are correct. However, they fall under the heading of necessary but not sufficient for leadership development success. The facts and data to support this are everywhere, from leadership research from respected publications, to the daily results of leadership failures by CEOs in the news. We have had more than our share of Enron’s, Tyco’s, and the like. Now we have all of the failures and write-offs by most major banks in 2007 because they made way too risky sub-prime loans to people who were not qualified for their mortgages.

Instead, the research we did on leadership development, based on systems thinking, led us to discover that there are six natural levels of leadership competencies required of every organization.

They are quite obvious in retrospect:

allanzeman2#1. Self-mastery

#2. Interpersonal relationships

#3. Intact teams

#4. Cross functional teams

#5. Organization-wide change

#6. Strategic and your environment

When people see this list, it is obvious that there are leadership skills needed at all these levels of competencies in every organization in the world. The first three are the basics of leadership that are required by all members in managerial positions. The last three competencies are the advanced leadership competencies required of more middle and senior management.

However, in conducting our research, the results of all these gurus were dismal when compared to these six natural levels from systems thinking. None had all six competencies, only three had four of the competencies, and only four had three of the competencies. The 20 others just had a list of skills, and did not differentiate between the different situations that leaders find themselves in all day long (the six natural levels of leadership competencies).

We are confident that this insightful column will pave your way towards more dynamic system approach in your leadership in adapting global best practices in your ever evolving enterprise. In the next issue , we will continue with the second mistake in “Strategic And System Thinking”.