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Managing from Clarity: Identifying, Aligning, and Leveraging Strategic Resources (free online course)

Managing from Clarity (10 sessions)

This course develops your capacity to identify, align, and leverage strategic resources. This course is a companion to the book Managing from Clarity.  Parts of this course are conceptual and parts are quite technical.  Through this course, you will learn how to (1) map an organization's strategy systemically, (2) identify strategic leverage points in the system, and (3) communicate that strategy.

For each session, you can download an audio (MP3) of the co-author reading the chapter, accompanying articles (PDF), links (URL), and audios of parallel lessons.

NOTE: To open the files, CLICK ON the BLACK TEXT to the right of the file name (e.g., click on the MP3).

Session #1 – Introduction: Why Manage from Clarity? What Does It Mean?

  • Chapter MP3
  • Further Readings
    • Ritchie-Dunham, James. 2004. A Framework for Achieving Clarity for You and Your Organization, The Systems Thinker, 15(7), September, 7-8. URL
    • Ortiz-Quesada, Federico, Jorge F. Méndez-Galvan, James Ritchie-Dunham, F. Javier Rosado-Muñoz. 1999. Las Organizaciones Inteligentes en la Toma de Decisiones en Salud: El Caso del Dengue, Salud Pública Méx, Vol. 37(sup 1):77-87. URL

Session #2 – The GRASP Map: Capturing and Integrating Expert Understanding of the Business Model

  • Chapter MP3
  • Further Readings
    • Ritchie-Dunham, J. L., & Puente, L. M. (2008). Strategic Clarity: Actions for Identifying and Correcting Gaps in Mental Models. Long Range Planning, 41(5), 509-529. URL

Session #3 – The Top to Bottom Gap: Making Explicit the Global and Local Perspectives of the System

  • Chapter MP3
  • Mapping Basics
  • Further Readings
    • Spann, R. Scott and James L. Ritchie-Dunham. 2008. Shifting the Fundamental Dynamics of Poverty, The Systems Thinker, 19(7), 6-10.  Reprinted as 2012. The Promise of Systems Thinking for Shifting Fundamental Dynamics, Reflections: The SoL Journal, 11(4), 11-17. URL
    • Spann, R. Scott. 2007. Impossible, White Paper on Collaborative Holistic Inquiry Project in Guatemala, San Francisco: Innate Strategies, May. URL
    • Rabbino, Hal and James Ritchie-Dunham. 2006. Managing the Global to Local Paradox, The Systems Thinker, 17(6), 8-10.  URL
    • Ritchie-Dunham, James, and Annabel Membrillo. 2000. Reconciling Local and Global Goals: A Systemic View of the Organizational Map, The Systems Thinker, 11(2). URL

Session #4 – Management's Job: Integrating the Local Perspectives to Achieve the Global Perspective

  • Chapter MP3
  • Further Readings
    • Rabbino, Hal, Cleon Dunham, and James Ritchie-Dunham. 2004. Optimizing the Organizational Design of a Typical Upstream Exploration and Production Company, Journal of Petroleum Technology, February. URL
    • Ritchie-Dunham, James L. 2008. A Collaborative-Systemic Strategy Addressing the Dynamics of Poverty in Guatemala: Converting Seeming Impossibilities into Strategic Probabilities. In Alleviating Poverty through Business Strategy, edited by C. Wankel. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. URL
    • Waddell, Steve. 2005.  A Learning History of the CARE-LAC – Institute for Strategic Clarity Guatemala Poverty Project. White Paper on Collaborative Holistic Inquiry Project in Guatemala, Belchertown, MA: Institute for Strategic Clarity, March. URL
    • Ritchie-Dunham, James, and Annabel Membrillo. 1999. Breaking Down Functional Blinders: A Systemic View of the Organizational Map, The Systems Thinker, 10(10). URL

Session #5 – Key Resource Dynamics: Understanding the Drivers of the Resource Bundles that Provide Competitive Advantage

Session #6 – Resource Integration: Testing the Strategy for Superior Performance

  • Chapter MP3
  • Further Readings
    • Ritchie-Dunham, James L., and Jorge F. Mendez Galvan. (1999). Evaluating Epidemic Intervention Policies with Systems Thinking: A Case Study of Dengue Fever in Mexico. System Dynamics Review 15(2), 119-38.  URL

Session #7 – Scenario Planning and Strategic Foresight: Testing the Assumptions Underlying the Strategy

  • Chapter MP3
  • Further Readings
    • Forrest, C. Jay. (1998). System Dynamics, Alternative Futures, and Scenarios. Proceedings of the 16th International Conference of the System Dynamics Society, Quebec '98, Quebec, Canada. URL
    • Forrest, C. Jay. (2009). A System-Based, Qualitative Inference Method of Heuristics for Foresight and Futures Studies.  Unpublished PhD Dissertation, Future Studies, Leeds Metropolitan University, Leeds, United Kingdom. URL

Session #8 – Learning Interfaces: Communicating the Robust Model

  • Chapter MP3
  • Example Learning Interfaces
    • Dengue PDF ITM (download free software to run ITM simulator URL)
    • Wireless Telephony PDF ITM (download free software URL)
  • Further Readings
    • Ritchie-Dunham, James L., Douglas J. Morrice, Edward G. Anderson, Jr., and James S. Dyer. 2007. A Simulation Exercise to Illustrate the Impact of an Enterprise System on a Service Supply Chain, INFORMS Transactions on Education, 7(3). URL
    • Ritchie-Dunham, James. 2002. Balanced Scorecards, Mental Models, and Organizational Performance. Unpublished PhD Dissertation, Management Science and Information Systems, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas. Available on-line (3.0MB) or through UMI (pub# ATT 3082891).  URL

Session #9 – Application Arenas

  • Chapter MP3
  • Further Readings
    • Ritchie-Dunham, J. L. (2008). A Collaborative-Systemic Strategy Addressing the Dynamics of Poverty in Guatemala: Converting Seeming Impossibilities into Strategic Probabilities. In C. Wankel (Ed.), Alleviating Poverty through Business Strategy (pp. 73-98). New York: Palgrave Macmillan. URL 

Session #10 – Future Developments: The Strategist

  • Chapter MP3
  • Further Readings
    • online book-course Ecosynomics: The Science of Abundance URL



Jim is president of the Institute for Strategic Clarity, affiliated with Boston College, Harvard, ITESM EGADE Business School, and Univ Politecnica de Madrid, co-author of Ecosynomics (2014), Managing from Clarity (2001), and many chapters and articles. He blogs regularly at He has a BS in Petroleum Engineering (UTulsa), an MIM (Thunderbird), an MBA (ESADE), and a PhD in Decision Sciences (UTAustin).

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