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.

Combining the Change Matrix and the Layers of Resistance

The Theory of Constraints community has a number of useful tools to help people think through change: the Layers of Resistance and the Change Matrix. Lars Axelsen posted a nice article combining these two ways of thinking, Change must address reservations! This image is from his article.

The layers of resistance have many forms.  It starts with the basics: Is there a problem?  Then goes through What to Change? What to Change To? And How to Cause the Change? Within each of these there are potential areas for people to push back or disagree with the situation.  And the interesting thing for me and for people implementing change is that if I am pushing the solution (what to change to) but my listeners are still stuck on "I don't think that will solve the problem", they are unlikely to listen.  And I might interpret them as being "resisting change".  This is where the idea of "layers" comes in.

The change matrix is from an old talk that Eli Goldratt would give on thinking through change that has since been codified into a matrix of +/- of changing and the +/- of not changing. The "pot of gold" is the great thing about making the change, but there might be "crutches" if something bad could happen as a result of the change. On the other side, I might be in a difficult situation if I don't change - there's an alligator. Or maybe my current situation is pretty nice and I would rather not change - the mermaid. My favorite description of this is the bubble head video of M and P discussing the topic,

What Lars Axelsen does in his article is combine the two concepts.  When people don't see an alligator, it's likely the early layers of resistance around agreeing on the problem or the extent of the problem.  (And this is often where "change" becomes bogged down: If people don't see a strong reason FOR THEM to change, why go through the effort?)  Next is the pot of gold, or the great things about changing: Does the solution make sense? Will it actually remove the alligator?  Then the negatives of making the change. And finally, the mermaid. She's there throwing other barriers into the mix. Life is already pretty good. Maybe I can't figure out how to make it happen. 

There is something tickling the back of my head that this may not be a perfect mapping of the layers of resistance, but I think it is a nice start.  Certainly a nice way to help me think through a situation and where I might be seeing challenges.  


Objects in motion tend to stay in motion

TOCICO 2018 wrap up #TOCICO18