Thursday, February 17, 2011

Are people good or bad?

Years ago, this question was posed to me in a late night discussion with Eli Goldratt. Actually, the question was about whether people should be considered good or 'not bad.' This subject came up because his son Rami and he had reached different conclusions. One of them thought people are good, while the other thought people are not bad. What do we mean by this? Well the question is really about whether in general people are good or not.

I have reached the conclusion that, in general, people are good. I think that the vast majority of people want to do good for themselves, for their loved ones, friends and for their work. That doesn’t always mean the actions they are taking will achieve a good result. It was Reuven Brenner who stated that “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

It is important to make sure that people understand how to ensure that their actions do achieve the intended result (of course, assuming this is a positive change or result desired). That is what TOC provides, an effective way to think. TOC involves surfacing and challenging assumptions, evaluating decisions using cause-and-effect logic and other tools for guiding more effective thinking processes.

First, we need to start with a good objective or target – to clearly state it in writing. Then we can use the TOC Thinking Processes (TP) to figure out how to effectively reach that goal. The TP provide generic methods for figuring out what the problem is or what the pot of gold target is (what to change), what to change to and how to cause the change.

This isn’t sufficient though. What is needed is the understanding about what information needs to go into the TP analysis to ensure that the desired results are achieved. I will talk more about this so-called information in future blogs.

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