Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Theory of Constraints POOGI - Part 53: Yes, but… The Value of Concerns and Objections

We are continuing our series based on The Goal by Eliyahu M Goldratt and the Theory of Constraints. {This series was co-written with Brad Stillahn.}

Brad: Both as a business owner, and back when I worked for large companies, I have found a lot of negative people. Someone has a good idea, and then it seems like everyone has a “yes, but…” It’s irritating.

Dr. Lisa: Particularly if it’s YOUR idea. In Theory of Constraints, we call that a “yes, BUT”; Small yes and a big BUT.

Brad: Why can’t people be more positive and optimistic? It seems like such negativity blocks progress. Perhaps such people are the problem.

Dr. Lisa: Hold on. To voice concerns is part of human nature. When we hear an idea or solution presented, it is natural to think of what negatives might come from it. The presenter is normally very proud of his or her suggestion, and just as often is not fully aware of what negatives might result from implementing it.

Brad: So he or she is expecting praise and to get credit for the idea?

Dr. Lisa: Exactly. Now, depending upon the trust level and power relationships within the group, and whether there have been previous bad experiences from raising concerns, the concern might not be expressed. Instead, you might hear “let me think about it”. However, we don’t think about it. What we think about is our “BUT”, and hope the idea just goes away. So, we don’t benefit from the idea, and we miss the opportunity to improve it by voicing the concern.

... to be continued in Part 54.

Here's to maximizing YOUR profits!

Dr Lisa Lang

(c)Copyright 2009, Dr Lisa, Inc. All rights reserved.


CalHalliburton said...

Dear Dr. Lisa,

Regarding your ND story. You know I read the whole story because the following sentence was deep into it.

"So why not do that as your making decisions in your company?"

The first "your" should be you're as it is a contraction for you are. The second "your" is possessive and proper usage. I find this error would seldom occur in days of yore, but is made frequently today.


Dr Lisa Lang said...

Thanks, I corrected the spelling error on the blog post.

CalHalliburton said...

Dear Dr. Lisa,

When someone, in response to an idea says "yes, but" we know that they have identified a contradiction. If you know even a little about TRIZ you know that contradictions are pathways to invention and innovation. The "yes, but" connection is one reason why TOC and TRIZ work so well together. Among other things, TRIZ is a powerful tool for generating ideas to move over, under, around, and through contradictions.



Dr Lisa Lang said...

Excellent point. Can you share an example where a "yes, but" (and the combination of TOC and TRIZ) lead to a great idea? I think everyone would enjoy that.

CalHalliburton said...

Here is a very familiar example of may have been “yes, but” that we have all seen in fast food restaurants.

"Our increased advertising will drive 40% more traffic by our drive up window.

Yes, but almost all of that will come during our busiest times and increase that traffic by much more than 40%. How do we handle such an increase in traffic?

We can have two windows instead of one.

Yes, but that means adding an additional lane and most of our locations are too narrow for an additional lane.

Hmmm. We’ve already separated ordering from paying and pickup in the same lane. Why can’t we separate paying and pickup in the same lane?"

Result: a station for ordering, a window for paying, and a window for pickup.

This is an application of the separation principles found in TRIZ. Of course the people developing this solution were not likely using either TOC or TRIZ. Nonetheless, it illustrates what might happen when using them together. Neither TOC or TRIZ provide magic. They do offer greater speed to solutions.

BP said...

How do you reconcile your principle of "Don't be a sissy" with the "yes, BUT" principle? The first guides one to be obstinate and bull-headed during the idea and implementation phase, while the second asks you to be rational and selfless during the same phase.

Dr Lisa Lang said...

"Don't be a sissy" is a leadership law. And it means a leader should get after what needs to be done. It does NOT mean they should be a bully or disrespectful in the doing.

You may want to read the comment on my leadership post:

In the processes of doing, one needs to use the "yes, but" process to get the best possible solution. It's also a respectful process and great buy in tool.

Dr Lisa

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