Lessons from the systemic structure:
- The accident did not begin just when it happened. It was set into motion 'long before' the driver even got into the
car (do not mistake this to mean 'the driver is driven to despair - all that is happening is a very subtle influence that
gets triggered everytime when someone cuts in his path it reinforces how he feels 'outside the car';
- Often 'the culprit' is the driver. That's what we see! The leverage to deal with this issue systemically, yet, lies in the
part of the system that we cannot see; the times in the drivers' lives 'outside the car' were shaped by being told
how much he was 'wrong' (his spouse, the boss, the colleagues, his friends, his children ..., etc.). He had no idea
how much of that translated over time for 'the need to keep proving he is right' and to be in control (something
about being behind a set of wheels increases the possibilities of being in greater control). In most organizational
contexts, that is a positive trait! On the roads, it becomes a disaster.
- The leverage obviously is not about hauling every 'one' to court either! Most of us are unaware of the
consequences of the actions we take today on the behaviour of drivers much (sometimes very much later -
imagine a stock in a tank building up gradually and blowing over) later in their lives.
- The leverage lies in creating awareness in people about the long-term effects of their actions (most of us are won-
over by the short-term benefits such actions bring (me 'showing how wrong' my son or my husband, he should
correct himself and become a better person' (from my point of view, of course!)). This is the hardest part of the
nut to crack. Do it gently. Lead them there carefully.
Systems Thinking Case Study #19:
Systemic structures that has made traffic accidents resistant to change
Short-notes / stories heard at dialogue:
- COE and car prices are coming down making it easier for more people to own cars. More cars on the road is leading
to more accidents
- There are more roads being built, leading to more places for police to monitor and patrol. More roads, lead to more
- More young drivers are finding it easier to own cars and are taking to the roads. The lesser experience of these
drivers is leading to more accidents
- The younger drivers tend to be victims of road accidents rather than the cause of it. Which means somebody
other than younger drivers are causing road accidents. Who are they? The older drivers.
- What is leading the older drivers to cause accidents?
- Their confidence on the roads, is causing them to take greater risks and hazards on the roads. This leads them to
speed, be willing to be distracted when driving, lower their priority towards road safety (that includes ensuring their
car is defect free, etc.) and so on.
- Finally, given the above or leading to the above, their attitude towards others on the road include "You need to
give me the right of way, as I have over time, proven to be really good on the roads, and besides it is the only time
in my life, that I feel alive because I can do 'what matters to me'! I would not allow me to take away that right from
- Why do I feel that way? Because in every other aspect of my life, people are telling me, "that I am not good
enough or that I need to be better, or that something is the wrong with me!". My boss says that to me! My
spouse, my parents, my children, my teacher, my friends, my colleagues, my ...!" My jolly, I am not going to let
anyone get in my way, the one time I am fully in control, that is in my car!!!"
- So I am going to demand my right of way. Oops, but so does everyone else on the road. I got do this better,
faster than the other!
- Oops we have now got involved in an accident.
- I need to do everything possible, to figure how much was the other person wrong!
- But the officer is doing it to me too! He is saying 'how wrong I am'. When will this end?
|WHAT WOULD IT LOOK LIKE IF WE LEARN TO APPLY THESE STRATEGIES?
WHAT MIGHT MAKE IT DIFFICULT OR GET IN THE WAY OF MAKING THESE HAPPEN?
WHAT KEEPS OUR CONVERSATIONS LIKE THESE AND IS MAKING IT DIFFICULT TO SEE THESE STRUCTURES?
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