TOC Thinking Processes
The TOC Thinking Processes (TP) are integrated problem-solving tools based on rigorous cause-and-effect logic. They enable us to create breakthrough solutions by identifying, challenging and correcting unexamined assumptions. When we are serious about on-going improvement, they help answer fundamental questions such as:
The Thinking Processes are based on the premise that every complex problem stems from a deeply rooted issue - a core conflict. This conflict spawns harmful symptoms, which we confuse for the problem itself. In a desperate attempt to mitigate the symptoms (firefighting), we oscillate between mutually exclusive courses of action and seek unhealthy compromises. Organizations create elaborate policies, measurements, and behaviors in an attempt to mitigate the symptoms. These band-aid solutions must be carefully removed, modified, and/or replaced. And of course, unless we address the core conflict it only grows worse and worse.
TP Work Across Diverse Situations & Circumstances
The TOC Thinking Processes can be used in any business situation, and even as a self-improvement tool to debug and transform one's life. For example, an Olympic hopeful twice failed to qualify for the swim team and was passing her prime. Her detailed TOC cause-effect analysis covered 11 pages with boxes and arrows. In the end, it revealed her need to correct just a few basic shortfalls:
Classic Thinking Process Tools
Part of a Current Reality Tree
Elaborate thinking processes were traditionally applied during a two-week workshop to identify the cause-effect logic and map a detailed solution. These typically included tools such as:
The 3-Cloud Method
Later, Dr. Goldratt developed a streamlined "3-Cloud Method" for more rapid diagnosis and implementation. This method, combined with established TOC applications and detailed implementation templates known as "Strategy and Tactic Trees," are extremely effective for solving many business problems.
If the existing solutions do not apply to your exact situation or require customization, you can hire an experienced adviser to guide you through the Classical Thinking Processes or even attempt it yourself using the Thinking Processes (books, workshops, etc.).
Photo Attribution: http://www.flickr.com/photos/loyal_oak/6425527847/sizes/l/