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NEWS | May 17, 2017

841st conducts situational understanding and systems thinking training

By Army Lt. Col. Dennis C. Major, commanding officer 841st Transportation Battalion

The Army’s, 841st Transportation Battalion conducted a Leadership Professional Development session discussing situational understanding and systems thinking here, March 7. Based on the positive feedback, the training was well-received and considered a great engagement.


I assisted Navy Lt. Brenton, the primary facilitator for the program and participants consisted senior leaders, specifically all E7’s and above and civilian supervisors. 


Our objective was to illustrate the importance of understanding your operating environment to enhance operational efficiencies and effectiveness.  The presentation and discussion exceeded our expectations by lasting for nearly 80 minutes with great dialog from all attendees. 


As part of our discussion, we urged individuals to step back and reflect on environmental conditions and stakeholder concerns when undertaking problem-solving and decision-making endeavors. 


We also illustrated why systems thinking is critical for situational understanding.  We emphasized that “systems thinking is most appropriate when many complex issues surround a particular challenge, when there is a high dependence on the actions of many people and when there is a potential of ineffective coordination among the people involved.” 


A perfect example of a complex issue is the Defense Transportation System, because of the required interactions between multiple agencies. 


At the conclusion the training, the attendees expressed appreciation for why environmental and stakeholder analyses coupled with systems thinking could improve our problem-solving and decision-making processes.  Lastly, many of the participants remarked, “I would have preferred to have this training earlier in my career.”