A Checklist for CoCreating Clarity through Everyday Systems Thinking


  1. What am I responsible for — decisions, actions, and deliverables?
  2. How am I contributing to the situation/problem?
  3. What can I do to fix it/get it fixed?
  4. Have I spoken directly and honestly to the individual(s) from whom I need action/resolution?
  5. Who else is affected by this situation/problem?
  6. How can I partner with them to fix it?
  7. Am I choosing not to put effort into dealing with this situation/problem at this time? If yes, this is my conscious choice and therefore I will not spend energy whining about the situation; or at the very worst I will whine only in limited, carefully regulated amounts, and warn listeners at the time that this is what I'm doing.

Permeable Boundaries

  1. Do I really know the people around me, what they care about, what they want, what their environment looks like; and hence what problems, needs, requirements, opportunities arise?
  2. Do I understand the environment — the political, economic, and cultural forces surrounding my customer(s)?
  3. Am I thinking in a long-term (1 to 3 year) context, as I make decisions today?
  4. Who can I borrow from/partner with to get this job done?
  5. What other cross-functional resources can I draw on/team with to do this effectively and efficiently?
  6. What support can I ask for so I don' tneed to feel burdened and alone in this endeavor?


  1. What assumptions/guesses am I making?
  2. What data am I using that is fact? What is opinion — mine and/or that of others?
  3. What is first-hand? What is hearsay? If I am working with the latter, should I go check it out?
  4. Am I being open?
    • Honest and direct about what I really think?
    • Clear on how I reached those conclusions?
    • Listening to others' thinking?
    • Reflecting on how that affects my position — always learning and changing in the best interests of all the people involved, my group, my family, and myself.
  5. What is really going on here below the surface? What are the symptoms? What is the presenting problem(s)? Why is this really happening — causes and systemic/root causes?


  1. What am I trying to balance? What seemingly paradoxical/conflicting goals am I trying to meet?
    • Can I write them down, look at them?
    • Am I clear on what the accomplishment of each goal would actually look like?
    • Can I get a "win - win"?
    • Can I divide my time in ways to facilitate this?
    • What effect do I most want to achieve at this time?

I make the choice, I move forward, and I learn from it.
I know that there are no "right" answers, only choices.

Read more about the principles of Systems Thinking foundational to CoCreating Clarity.

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