This website covers knowledge management, personal effectiveness, theory of constraints, amongst other topics. Opinions expressed here are strictly those of the owner, Jack Vinson, and those of the commenters.

Cognitive constraints

Música. by CenTerO / JaguariTech, on Flickr" href=""> Música." vspace=2 align=right src="" width=240 height=170>Dave Snowden gets me to thinking quite often, but this time he hits on something I see quite often when I talk about Theory of Constraints.  They agree, but then they fall back to familiar ways of thinking and talking about their problems.  He's talking about cognitive bias, but he says a version of things I say often: Live with it, don't pretend you can avoid it.

What I continue to find curious (well deeply frustrating if I am honest) is that its easy to get people to acknowledge cognitive bias and accept the limits of information. However they they proceed to argue for elimination of same.

One of the core tenets of TOC is that there is always a constraint in the business.  Not only that, but there is always ONE constraint in the business, not a bunch or hundreds.  In discussion, people understand this idea, but then we talk about how to respond to this reality and the discussion goes to eliminating the constraint - without understanding that another one WILL appear. 

A better direction is to accept the constraint and consider how to operate the business under this fact.  Maybe the current constraint is the wrong one, and the organization should take steps to eliminate it.  But think ahead: where should the constraint be?  And with the constraint selected, how does the organization regard all the improvement efforts?  How does the organization decide where to focus its limited attention?  The constraint should get the attention first, followed by areas which have the highest potential to slow down the constraint.

[Photo: "Introspección > Música." by CenTerO]

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