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Systems Thinking and the Arts Go Hand in Hand!

5. Systems Thinking and the arts got me to thinking about systems:

Big Ideas:

  • Our businesses don’t exist in isolation.
  • Focus on how you offer value to your business community. 
  • Value can be tangible or intangible. 

A friend of mine, Bruce, sent this to me and said, “this might be up your alley.” And, as I was talking to my friend, Chris, he said that a character on The Office would talk about how he went to Cornell, regularly. 

So when I saw this, I thought about whether or not a man that studied at Cambridge during the pandemic would read a piece like this and include it in his newsletter. 



A simple definition of Systems Thinking is the belief that the components of a system will act differently together than separately. And, that everything exists as part of the whole. 

It goes hand-in-hand with the Peter Drucker idea I used last summer of “a healthy business can’t exist in a sick society.” 

The above piece is a bit of a think piece and that was the pieces intent. 

But I was thinking about this all week. When I talked with HBSE CEO, Scott O’Neil this week and I asked him where he thought sports business was right now. We talked about how he hopes we are at a point where sports business remembers the importance of its place as a gathering spot and how that had been missing for the last few years. 

In looking out across the landscape of live entertainment right now, it is easy to get trapped into thinking about the one component or components that you control. 

Honestly, who can blame anyone? 

The big challenge all of us are going to need to deal with is to recognize that we do exist in a larger system and that our jobs right now are to find ways to integrate and add value to the larger system that we exist in. 

First, how do we elevate our community and the areas we are a part of? 

In 2019 when I spoke at the Australian Football League’s annual meeting, I made the case for the power of live sports to create communities, connection, and to draw people together. 

As a marketer, I realize that most brands have almost no impact on their customers. In sports and entertainment, the ratio is flipped. In a lot of cases, if you are a fan of a team or an event, you are a fan and that fandom is an essential aspect of your identity. 

Don’t believe me?

What’s the first thing you think of when you think about my fandom? Hit reply and let me know. But I’m guessing you are going to give me one of three answers. 

The big key is that you want to be a positive in your environment. 

How will you achieve this?

Second, what can you do to improve the value you deliver to your system?

This can take the form of tangible and intangible value. 

The key is really to think about adding value at each and every turn. 

I did a podcast this week that should be posted in a week or two and one of the questions was about adding value at each turn of the sales process. 

My answer was have to add value because we are overwhelmed with noise and stuff. So if you don’t add value at each turn, you are just noise, ease to ignore or worse. 

So focus on adding value in the systems you are in. 

Finally, recognize that change is constant. 

Again, back to my talk with Scott and my trip to Australia. 

Scott talked about change and used the analogy of an ostrich sticking its head in the sand. I lauged because that’s a similar analogy that I used when I talked in Paramatta at Angela and Jo’s Ticketing Professionals Conference AU. 

And what I said on that day was this: “Change is constant. We have a choice to embrace it or to allow it to overrun us and hope for the best.”

What really hit me about this article was that when you think about the issues that have been exposed in live entertainment and tickets, they were already there and now we just have to be willing to look at them and decide if we are going to embrace change or try and hide from it. 

It really isn’t much of a choice. At least to me!

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