Reference #370: Thinking in Systems

Policy resistance (or "fixes that fail") is a system archetype where multiple actors pull the system's stock towards various, competing goals.

The archetype plays out as such: when a new policy is introduced, it pulls the stock further from the goals of the other actors and so increases their resistance. The result is a situation where no-one is satisfied yet everyone expends considerable effort to maintain that state.

That way out of this trap is, first, to let go. While you won't move the system in the way you want, you'll likely de-escalate the system and have more energy to spend. Then, find a common goal for the various subsystems to align on. This larger goal enables everyone to pull towards the same direction.

Meadows. Thinking in Systems, 2008. (112-116)

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