05 November 2009

The danger of "We know!" - Part 3

In this portion of our series, we're going to talk about how to put a "framework" or "theory" around what you already know about your business enterprise. This is not an exercise in "business theory." This is a real and practical approach to gaining effective control of your enterprise after (perhaps) years of "muddling through" with more or less mediocre results.

One of the reasons executives and managers are not able to really "understand" what they "know" about their own organizations is that, since they are unaware of a "tool set" to aid them, they never actually put what management "knows" (we call it "tribal knowledge") about how their organization works -- or doesn't work -- on paper. Therefore, in the absence of such a written document, the managers themselves cannot read and re-read their own logic about cause-and-effect relationships that flow throughout their enterprise.

Our mind makes thousands of assumptions about what we think we know. Our mind processes these assumptions and incoming information so rapidly, we are unable to filter out our incorrect thinking or invalid assumptions adequately. Putting our thoughts down on paper helps us step through the logic that is leading us to certain conclusions.

Equally important, however, is that fact that, if we never get our reasoning down on paper, it is nearly impossible for us to invite others to truly analyze our logic -- to critically review our logic -- in an effort to help us bring about lasting improvement. As a result, not only do we not realize that we have flaws in our thinking about what's happening in our organization, others who might bring beneficial insights to our aid cannot do so because they, too, cannot help us find the flaws in our rationale. This inevitably leads to the fact that these undiscovered flaws in our thinking about how our organization really works -- or does not work -- remain embedded in our decision-making processes.

The good news is that there is an outstanding set of tools that are readily accessible, easily understood, and relatively simple to apply that will help executives and managers lay hold of "tribal knowledge" and reduce it to an understandable framework (or "theory") about how their organizations function in a real and practical way. Others that have applied that tool set have said things like:
  • "I have never seen my business so clearly before."

  • "We truly understand our business for the first time."

  • "This process has helped us regain a sense of control over our enterprise."

  • "For the first time in a long time, we are empowered to move proactively toward real, lasting improvement."

  • "We now have a consistent framework for diagnosing problems and planning for improvement."
What is this simple, yet amazing, tool set for executives and managers?

It is simply the TOC (Theory of Constraints) Thinking Processes as developed by Eliyahu Goldratt, a suite of logic trees that provide a simple, yet effective, road map for diagnosis and change.

So, continue to say, "We know!" and miss out on the opportunity for real, practical and sustainable improvements to your enterprise, or discover a whole new, easy-to-use and effective tool set for starting down the road to ongoing improvement.

Contact me!

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