The 3 Crucial questions for a good manager to be able to answer are:
What to change? Out of the million things that could be changed, which are the correct ones to work on?
To-What to change? Knowing the problem is one thing, knowing the solution is a different proposition altogether.
How to change? Experienced managers will confirm that even knowing the problem and the solution still leaves you a long way from having the solution in place.
The Thinking Processes are aimed at helping managers answer these questions methodically.
The first Process is aimed at helping identify "What to change," it's called the Current Reality Tree, or CRT.
Current Reality Tree: this Planning tool provides the cause-effect connections between a Core Problem and the symptoms it generates
Nothing happens by chance in a real system. Every performance symptom is an effect of one or more causes. The Current Reality Tree is a cause-effect technique that serves three main purposes:
- To understand the deep-rooted causalities underlying any set of performance problems, and how they relate together.
- To pin-point the area of a core problem which contributes to ALL the performance problems.
- To prove that a suspected core problem surfaced by any other technique genuinely does cause the performance symptoms.
The power of the Current Reality Tree can be found in some characteristics:
- It is not unusual for an analysis to go 20 or more "why" relationships deep to find a core problem.
- Many seemingly unrelated performance symptoms can be connected through a CRT analysis
- The technique actually forces a rigorous validation of the cause-effect connections; unlike cause-effect diagrams where anything can be proposed as a cause
- The technique can be used to highlight cause-effect in a way that surfaces a belief; the policies arising from that belief; the procedures and measurements arising from the policies; and the behaviors attributable to the procedures and the measurements. This feeds directly into the Future Reality Tree technique, where the solution is developed and tested. Managers can take the output from the CRT and see precisely what has to be changed in order to eliminate the performance problems.