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Lesson for Success #02: Systems Thinking

When my fellow ‘Mitchellite’ tripped and fell flat while coming from the mess, his plate of food remained exactly horizontal and only one bean managed to fall off. In the real world, things do not occur in straight causal lines – things are connected; causal chains are complex and balanced.

One thing affects another, which affects another, and until young people appreciate to think about multiple components that make up an initiative, they cannot be trusted to steward things. You are charged with a given task but interrelated with that task are several other aspects that influence the deliverable.

Have you thought of those multiple components so that most of them are considered; or at least you are conscious about them?

From this interview, one can deduce examples of systems thinking. Ms. Norah Owaraga, who is currently the CPAR Uganda Ltd Managing Director, was 36 years old when she gave this interview and was already the head of a significant national nonprofit organisation. Harriette Onyalla, the journalist who conducted the interview was also in her youth.

Many young people are too lazy and too ‘laisez-faire’ in their thinking to understand that things happen in a broader dynamic context. Without a systems perspective, one cannot write a winning funding proposal for instance. Without a system perspective, consequences are not appreciated.


With his permission, we are serialising and publishing on our CPAR Uganda Ltd website and social media platforms these lessons for success that were first shared by Dr. Roy William Mayega, on Friday, 2nd October 2020, on his Facebook wall. He accompanied them with the following explanatory introduction:

“I have been working with relatively young people (below 40 years of age) and in my interactions with them, I have found 10 skills that prevent many of them from becoming a beacon of professionalism. Skills not formally taught in school yet so vital. Skills that would transform a young professional into a ‘hot cake’ for inclusion in successful enterprises… As for those of us 40 years and above, I have no advice. Our kind is already irredeemably hardwired in our stupidities.”

Dr. William Roy Mayega, a Lecturer in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, a the School of Public Health Makerere University Kampala

Click here to read Lesson for Success #01: Pay Attention to Detail

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