Taking Advantage of Resistance to Change (and the TOC Thinking Processes) to Improve Improvements (Part 4)
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Addressing Layer 3 Lack of agreement that the solution will truly address the problem
The Future Reality Tree (FRT)
As the names suggest, the Future Reality Tree is similar to the Current Reality Tree in structure, but with new proposed actions, policies, and behaviors injected into it to create a vision of the future reality of the system that can be logically demonstrated.
The power of the if
sufficiency logic construction is that if any one of the lower-level causes are removed or mitigated, everything that is above it is subject to change. If you can develop various injections as new causes, then you can, through restatements of the subsequent logic, predict and direct changes to the resultant effects. A simple example of how sufficiency logic works is:
If any one of the three ifs or causes of this sample Current Reality Tree are removed or modified, the then or effect (the fire) may be removed from consideration as a problem. We might choose to develop a system in which fuel and sources of ignition are isolated from one another to prevent fires. Or if the problem is that a fire exists, we may choose to remove the oxygen by covering the fire with water, CO2, or a blanket. These are all possible injections. (If only all the fire-fighting we do were so clear-cut! But maybe it can be almost so.) Even in more complex real-life issues, a careful analysis of assumptions, which in this kind of construction become more ifs arrowed into the then, which become more possible sources for things to remove by the injection of new actions, policies, or behaviors.
When the CRT is based in a core conflict, the initial injection comes from the out-of-the-5-sided-box solution of that conflict -- the idea that stems from addressing questionable assumptions. Additional injections (including new policies and measurements) are developed to flesh out the elimination of the original problems and their replacement with new desirable effects. As in the raising of assumptions in the Evaporating Cloud process, analysis of sufficiency logic can be performed by adding the word because
to the if
verbalization of the logical links in question. Doing so will help to trigger additional, unstated causal assumptions that will provide additional opportunities for changing the predicted negative outcome.
(Note: Some systems-thinking aficionados may see, in this process, similarities to causal loops. Indeed, complete Current and Future Reality Trees for complex systems do often contain loops of causality. In CRTs, these loops most often serve to perpetuate undesirable stuff. In well-designed FRTs, loops will be consciously looked for and strengthened so that they will contribute to getting more and more of the desired outcomes.)
The objective of the Future Reality Tree is to construct and communicate a strategy a vision of how to change the undesirable effects found in the CRT to desirable effects and to lay the groundwork for addressing higher-level strategic objectives. Again, like the CRT, building an FRT is best done by individuals or by very small groups, while the most effective use of group interaction (and that gains from experienced facilitation) is in scrutiny, clarification, and completion of the solution. The clear, easily interpreted and scrutinized if
logic lends itself to open dialogue on the subject, and if presented as such, with a willingness to modify and augment as potential collaborators add additional knowledge and perceptions, is highly useful for getting agreement that the solution will address the problem and its undesirable effects.