In the last blog we discussed some basic principles for Conflict Diagram. In this blog we will discuss the steps to construct and the different categories that a CD might fall into.
There are basically 4 Steps to construct a workable CD and following them in order presents the best chance for success.
1. Identify a scenario where you know, or suspect, a conflict is blocking the achievement of an objective.
In today's ever changing and demanding world, there always seems to be many situations in which we think there is “No way out”. The feeling is that we are somehow caught between a rock and a hard place with no way to resolve the problem. This feeling of frustration occurs only when the conflict is blocking the way to achieving something that we really want. These types of dilemmas are the situations that benefit the use of the Conflict Diagram.
2. Concisely verbalize the dilemma.
Sometimes the real dilemma or problem in a situation is not as clear as it should be. By concisely verbalizing the dilemma you're half-way toward solving it. If you don’t clearly understand the problem, then it is very difficult to provide an effective solution. By identifying the conflict objective, requirements and prerequisites that make up the dilemma, you will develop a very concise verbalization of the dilemma. Verbalizing and understanding the dilemma provides an excellent starting point for effective problem solving.
3. Surface assumptions that support the existence of the dilemma.
Within whatever system you are operating there are many things that we assume to be absolutes. In others words, they appear to be things we assume we can’t change. There are many instances when assume these things to be concrete – things that are somehow unchangeable. Yet there really are very few things in systems that are unchangeable. The purpose of Step 3 is to separate the wheat from the chaff, in other words a way to separate the actual “facts” from the perceived “fiction.” Once you understand what’s real and what isn’t the task become much easier.
The assumptions are the answer to the question on the solid lines of the diagram. In other word, “in order to have A” – I must have B” “Because….?” It’s the assumptions that make the lines solid and we want to break an assumption. When the assumption is broken, the line is no longer solid, and the conflict can be resolved.
4. Generate breakthrough ideas that will invalidate at least one of the assumptions.
Generating the breakthrough idea is the primary function of the CD. To surface an idea that completely eliminates the assumption. When you surface the assumptions on each arrow, ask yourself “What must exist in order for the assumption not to be true?” Whatever the statement is, this is your injection or idea to replace the assumption.
Categories of CD
Most Conflict Diagrams will fall into one of these four (4) categories. This section provides some hints about how to construct the CD based on what type of category it falls into. These definitions will tell you which entity to fill in first and which one second…etc. Where do you start and what do you do next. What steps to take within each of the categories of CD’s.
1 - Negotiation: your opinion versus someone else's
2 - Crisis: current reality versus desired reality
3 - Classic: I know what I don't want
4 - Core Problem: concisely verbalizing the core problem from a CRT
By constructing and using the CD you have surfaced the injection or idea that you want to implement into your reality. How do you know if your idea will generate the results that you want/need? In the next segment we will discuss the Future Reality Tree (FRT) as a means of testing ideas, not only of the positive impact, but also to surface any negative branches that might exist with your idea.