Vlog Episode 8.2 - Every Conflict Can Be Removed
Well, of course, again our first thoughts are that this can’t be true. Our lives are filled with conflicts, some between people and some within ourselves. Conflict is all around us to the point that it seems to be the motive force for our lives on every level. To understand Goldratt, we have to know his definition of conflict.
Conflict is a situation in which what we want is a contradiction. This can happen within ourselves such as when I want to have my cake and also eat my cake. I cannot do both. The actions are contradictory, and I have a conflict.
Two people can be in a conflict as well. I can want the patient to stop drinking and he can want to not stop drinking. Our wishes are contradictory, and we have a conflict.
But Goldratt would say that there are no contradictions in reality. For instance two people may weigh a suitcase. One of them gets 45 pounds and one gets 55 pounds as the weight. The answers they got contradict each other. What should we do? TOC tells us not to compromise, and we wouldn’t in general. Nobody believes that the suitcase weighs 50 lbs because that’s the average of the two weights. What we do instead is check the assumptions. Did we use the same scale, did the suitcase have any additions between the weights, did we use different techniques, etc. When we think of the real world, we don’t think of compromise because our sense of reality is that the suitcase weighs what it weighs. Compromise isn’t going to change that.
But in our personal relations and in our relations with ourselves, we often compromise. Can I have my cake and eat it too? Well, what if we only eat a little of it? How about the patient that I want to stop drinking. I want him to stop and he doesn’t want to. Maybe I’ll just talk him into cutting back. Well, in addiction treatment, this doesn’t work well.
I know that talking to a patient with addiction about their drinking seems an entirely different thing than measuring the weight of a suitcase, but I’d like to show you a simple thinking process that can show the commonality. I go over it in the video above, and it’s called evaporating the cloud. In essence our wishes stem from necessary conditions and these necessary conditions stem from some common goal that both parties of the conflict have. When I say these things stem from the other thing, what I mean is that they are logically derived from the goal given various assumptions. The problem that creates the contradiction in wishes isn’t really the wishes; it’s the assumptions. Those can be raised and looked at.
It works in industry. It works with patients. It works when building a company. It just works. Give it a try.