June 17, 2004
This TheoryOfConstraints website has what is claimed by some to be a fantastic free resource explaining TOC. As I was perusing the site, I came across this section on the process of change:
Goldratt briefly outlined a process of change in 1990 (1); He characterized it as follows;

(1) What to change.

(2) What to change to.

(3) How to cause the change.

The first two questions Goldratt considered to be technical and the last one to be psychological. How to cause the change is considered to be psychological because any improvement is a change and any change is a perceived threat to security. A perceived threat to someone's security will result in emotional resistance. This leads to the supposition that emotional resistance can not be overcome by logic; it can only be overcome by the stronger emotion of allowing the people involved to deduce the solution for themselves.

One thing that's interesting to me is the conclusion drawn that emotional resistance cannot be overcome by logic. I hate this separation of emotion and logic, I think EmotionsAreNotIrrational. I also disagree with the distinction that steps one and two are technical and only step three is psychological. I think all three are psychological. I think the author agrees as well when he makes this point:
Types Of Constraints

There are a number of constraint classifications, but in reality there are two main types;

(1) Physical Constraints

(2) Policy Constraints

A physical constraint, might be a resource, either a person or a machine, or a material of some kind, time or quality, or supply issues. A policy constraint is almost everything else that is non-tangible.

Be careful, don't be mislead into believing that most constraints are physical -- the bottlenecks that everyone seems to know about. Physical constraints merely become the expression of deeper underlying policy constraints.

Isn't a policy constraint psychological? The policy was made by a person for reasons they believe to be true. This whole business of separating out technical and psychological, emotion vs. logic is distracting to me. The core issue is people -- what do they believe, why do they believe it, what should they believe, why don't they believe that and how do we go from point A to point B?

tags: BusinessWorld
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