Word Nerd Wednesday: Systematic vs. Systemic – What’s the Difference?


Last week I shared what it means to be systematic. This week, let’s look at a word that sounds similar but has a different meaning: SYSTEMIC

Both words are adjectives.
One describes a way of *doing*.
The other describes a way of *being*.

Systematic things follow a clear plan or method. That method is the “system” for how to accomplish the task at hand.

SYSTEMIC things are part of the system itself.

They are caused by (or exist because of) the way the system is structured.

Ironically, few systems are built systematically. They evolve, often developing traits the people in charge never intended.

Sadly, once a trait is baked into a system at the structural level, a laissez-faire approach to changing it won’t work.

You need a deliberate, thoughtful approach – dare I say it, a systematic one – to transform it. That’s the only way to ensure your new system has the traits it needs to deliver the result you are after.

Source: Merriam Webster

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