We are continuing our series based on The Goal by Eliyahu M Goldratt and the Theory of Constraints. {This series was co-written with Brad Stillahn.}

Brad: You’re making the case for people expressing their concerns whenever a solution is presented? That this is a good thing? Doesn’t this slow down the whole process? If I have a good idea—and as a business owner, it goes without saying that all of my ideas are great ideas—why shouldn’t I just have everyone go implement?

Dr. Lisa: We weren’t taught how to deal with the situation where someone presents an idea, and we have a concern to express about the idea. In Theory of Constraints (TOC), we call the process “Negative Branch Reservations”. It is part of the Theory of Constraints Thinking Processes. There is a straightforward logical process for doing so. And yes, it is an important part of processing each and every solution, and getting your people to buy-in once all the reservations have been raised and dealt with.

Oh, by the way, a lot of your ideas aren’t so hot before we had addressed my negative branch reservations. Don’t you remember…?

Brad: Never mind about that. Explain the process, please.

Dr. Lisa: First, let’s agree on the criteria for a good solution. The presenter should feel good about offering an idea or solution to a problem. If someone responds by saying “let me think about it”, he or she should honor that agreement and does think about it. By thinking through the concern, we get the benefit of the idea and block potential negatives, thereby becoming better managers, and getting better results.

Brad: So the old adage, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.

… to be continued in Part 55.

Here’s to maximizing YOUR profits!

Dr Lisa Lang

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