Thoughtful systems save lives

by | Jun 3, 2020 | Current Events, Leadership, Systems | 0 comments


It’s been a hard week for America – I don’t think you need me to tell you that. Much of the long-standing brokenness in our country is being brought into the light right now, and I think that we have been given the opportunity as a nation to acknowledge what’s happening and to do the hard work of change.

I build a lot of processes and systems into businesses, and it’s all about helping our clients feel calm and in control of their priorities and their time. On the surface, it can look like we just “organize stuff,” but the impact can be a lot deeper than that. Our clients have told us before that it’s like we’re saving their sanity.

But that pales in comparison to the kinds of systems that save our lives on a daily basis.

Systems like the checklists that surgeons and pilots use to keep us safe.

Or the specific processes first responders use to efficiently put out fires or rescue flood victims.

Or the fact that we have the ability to call 911 when we are in danger (millions of people around the world do not).

Sadly, systems also exist that have brought unjust suffering into the daily experiences of millions of Americans. 

A couple of weeks ago, I shared this quote: “every system is perfectly designed to get the results it gets.”

Right now, the results we’re seeing are vast disparities in the treatment of white and black Americans by our justice systems.

When we don’t like the results, we can condemn them. We can see the murders of George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery as heinous and unacceptable, and demand justice. We can arrest their killers.

But we can’t stop there. When the system is unchanged, we’ll keep getting the same result.

We need to go to work and adjust the system.

For me, that means a few things right off the bat:

– Intentionally and consistently exposing my daughter to racial and socioeconomic diversity.

– Becoming involved in advocacy at the local level to ask for specific changes to our justice systems here in Aurora.

– Getting uncomfortable and being willing to do the hard work of change in my own life.

What steps can you take to adjust the systems at work in your own family and community?