Thursday, November 25, 2010

Focus and Leverage Part 21

Before we begin to construct a current reality tree, we need to discuss something called the Categories of Legitimate Reservation (CLR), which will act as our “rules-of-engagement” for construction of Current Reality Trees. The Theory of Constraints (TOC) Thinking Processes relies heavily upon the intuition of the individual using it. In order for this intuition to be useful, it usually must be verbalized and communicated to others. Since the verbalization process can be difficult for many people, TOC has developed some intuition-helping tools. One of the most fundamental is a dual-purpose set of tools, referred to collectively as the Categories of Legitimate Reservation (CLR’s). These CLR also serve to help solidify the logic of each causal connection. The CLR’s also help us construct our own logical relationships and help us evaluate the logic of others. That is, the CLR’s help us all avoid errors in logic as we progress through the construction of our Current Reality Tree.

The understanding and use of these tools is essential for constructing and verifying the validity of cause-effect-cause relationships. Once verbalized, these tools also play an important role in the communication process.

There are a total of eight different CLR, each serving a different purpose and while they’re not difficult to understand, they do require some practice using them to keep them in your head. Or you can do what some people do and simply use a cheat sheet.

1. Clarity – Be certain that the individual words used in the various boxes (1) are understood by everyone involved in the construction of the CRT, (2) are a clear grasp of the idea being presented, and (3) there is an obvious connection between the cause and the effect being introduced.

2. Entity Existence – Entities are complete ideas expressed as a statement. When constructing the graphic blocks (entities) be sure that the text is a complete sentence, not a compound sentence, and the idea contained in the sentence is valid and legitimate. Normally there is evidence to demonstrate its validity.

3. Causality Existence – The cause and effect relationships must really exist and there should be no doubt in anyone’s mind that “if we have this,” “then we will definitely have that.” A clear cause and effect relationship must exist.

4. Cause Insufficiency – Sometimes it requires more than one cause to be present to create the predicted effect so be certain that you have identified and included all major contributing causes.

5. Additional Cause – It is possible that two completely different causes will result in the same effect, so each time you observe or imagine an effect, you must consider all of the possible independent causes.

6. Cause-Effect Reversal – Don’t mistake an effect for a cause. People sometimes confuse the effect for the cause, so be careful.

7. Predicted Effect – This category is firmly rooted in the scientific method as evidenced by its primary function – to strengthen or break the proposed hypotheses. Predicted Effect may be used to test the validity of entities or causal relationships. It focuses the user on seeking the valid effects that must stem from the existence of the causality or the entity if they are valid. The Predicted Effect category asks the following question: Does another entity co-exist that will either strengthen the causality entity or disprove it?From a single cause can come many effects, so be sure to list all of the possible effects that you know about. This is where the team approach to CRTs becomes effective.

8. Tautology – This is sometimes referred to as circular logic because the effect is offered as a rationale for the existence of the cause. Don’t take the effect as unequivocal proof alone that the cause exists without considering other alternatives.

Communicating Productively

When two or more people are having a discussion, how do they communicate differing perspectives or ideas? We have all experienced discussions, which deteriorate into fruitless arguments. These discussions usually take some time to unravel; time for individuals to understand what is being proposed and to determine if they can agree on a conclusion. Why does this happen? Many times it is because we don’t know how to constructively scrutinize our claims and the claims of others. Usually this situation is magnified because we also do not know how to communicate our concerns to others in a way that does not lead to defensive reactions.

When used to verify causality, the CLR’s greatly diminish the impact of the first phenomenon (not knowing how to constructively scrutinize claims). CLR’s can also be used in a specific order to promote non-defensive, focused, productive discussions. This process is based on four valid assumptions:

1. It is more effective to give people a chance to explain what they mean than to attack what we’ve
    understood them to say.

2. People are responsible for substantiating their claims.

3. People are not idiots.

4. What is said, and what is meant, are not always the same thing.

OK, so now that you know about the CLRs, how do we use them and what is their real purpose? Unlike the IO Map, which is based upon necessity-based logic, the current reality tree uses sufficiency-based logic. Whereas the IO Map was read as, “in order to…..I must have …..” CRTs are read in an “if-then” form. So, to determine sufficiency, we might ask questions like “is this enough to cause that?” or “is this sufficient to result in that?” In short, a sufficiency tree implies that the causes are sufficient to actually produce the effect.  As we construct the CRT in the next few blogs, there will be more clarity on how we use the CLR's to construct them.

A Current Reality Tree (CRT) is a logic-based structure designed to illustrate current reality, as it actually exists now or how it previously existed. As such, it reflects the intrinsic order of the cause-effect-cause phenomenon. The next blog will cover the basic principles associated with the CRT. I have invited a great friend of mine, Bruce Nelson, to actually write my next few blogs. Bruce is referred to as a Jonah's Jonah which means that he is certified to teach others to become Jonahs. I'll tell you more about Bruce in my next blog. HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO ALL!!

Bob Sproull

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