A Guide to Implementing the Theory of
There is a cloud that, in a way, haunts me, or at
least I keep finding it everywhere that I look, and that is Efrat’s
Cloud. And then, when I look in the change
matrix, I find it there too. This page
is an explanation of some recent investigations into this particular cloud
and its relationship with the change matrix.
I hope that you will find that this is very much more useful in your
exploration of change management. Our
change management addresses a socio-technical system. We know the “technical” part only too well,
but we are not so good at the “socio” part and this is where the additional
context from the matrix proves to be so useful.
It was Bill Dettmer who first introduced me to
Efrat’s cloud in the dark and distant past – 1997 or thereabouts. Clarke Ching has more recently placed the
original text on-line and you may wish to reacquaint yourself with the logic
within it Efrat’s Cloud (Efrat
Goldratt 1995). I used this cloud as
one of my “filters” in my 2011 New York presentation on the systemic cloud, because
it is indeed systemic and that presentation explains why this is so. Here is the cloud in its original form –
albeit “tipped around the right way up.”
That way the upper want, or D position, is about what we do have and
do not want. That is simply a
convention that I choose to follow.
On the other hand, in order to protect our sense of
identity we must gain control of that which we rationalize is correct,
and in order to gain control of that which we rationalize is correct we must stop doing old things and start
doing new things. This just another
more complete way of saying embrace change.
So why am I leading you down this pathway? Why not just use Efrat’s cloud
instead? In part because I think that
making what we sense explicit to security and what we rationalize explicit to
satisfaction is necessary to move from the general to the more specific case
of industry. However I need one more
That step comes from Karl Buckridge who taught me
this very useful cloud some time ago.
I will call this the “put up with all the rubbish” cloud. Here it is.
This is the cloud that I want to continue to work
with, although any and all of the other clouds could equally slot in and
would be equally effective. This one
though, through the personal experience of each and every one of us, speaks
to all comers.
Now let’s bring in the change matrix.
The diagonals of the change matrix can be read into
the cloud as the assumptions for each arm according to the rules on the
Advanced Page. Thus, I will put up
with all of the rubbish because of the positives of not changing and because
of the negatives of changing. On the
other hand I will also not put up with all of the rubbish because of the
positives of changing and because of the negatives of not changing.
We most commonly describe this change matrix by the
quadrant names of; the alligators, mermaids, pot of gold, and crutches, so
let’s show that.
Now on the basis of total saturation, I am going to
put in several substitutions into the matrix and then finally we can examine
the roll of satisfaction and security.
The first substitution is simply the words benefit and harm – with a
tense attached. Let’s have a look.
We can also substitute with UDE and DE. Let’s have a look.
[As a technical aside, if you try to put UDE’s and de’s into D – the non-change side of the matrix and the
non-change side of the cloud, and if you try to put DE’s and ude’s into D’ – the change side of the matrix and the
change side of the cloud, they will not work.
Trust me, or if you don’t trust me please try to do it after you get
to the logic at the end of the page.
You will produce two contradictions that cannot be overcome. This reinforces to me at least why the
matrix belongs to the assumptions and not to the pre-requisites of the
Once we put the UDE’s and DE’s into the matrix then
the location of the classic 5 layers of resistance becomes clear. The logic and a worked example of this is
available as a complete presentation and video on the Advanced Page.
And with that slip into the use of “retain” and
“gain,” we can move onto the last step, I want to add these verbs to the
matrix to help us lubricate the mechanism.
O.K., I’ve exhausted all my scraps of note paper
that went into the matrices and clouds above and we are about ready to return
to security and satisfaction, but now these elements are in the matrix not
the cloud, let’s have a look.
What then of the other two quadrants in which I
placed question marks, what goes there?
Well let’s see, right now.
Goodness we do have conflict. And all that I did was to follow the
logical argument through to this point making consistent substitutions as I
But now look to the matrix; I could not have guessed
that security and dissatisfaction would be on the same side, the side of not
changing. At first it seems wrong, but
actually it makes perfect sense.
Security is a more basic need than satisfaction and so we will put up
with dissatisfaction so long as security is met. And security is met, in part, by the
certainty and the predictability that comes from not changing. That is why we crave maintaining the
control that comes from doing the same old same old regardless of the
frustrations that ensure.
Equally I could not have guessed that satisfaction
and insecurity would be on the same side, the side of changing or
improving. At first it seems wrong,
but again it makes perfect sense.
Because security is a more basic need than satisfaction we will forgo
satisfaction if we think that insecurity will prevail. And insecurity will prevail, in part, due
to the uncertainty and the unpredictability that comes from changing. That is why we need to ensure that we gain
the control that comes from doing new things regardless of the bumps and
bruises along the way.
Other words that might equally well serve in the
same quadrant as insecurity are; anxiety about the change, and let’s face it,
initial distrust about the change agent or those mandating the change. Which of course is why the best change
comes from within, but still sometimes the technical skill must initially
come from outside.
Our need for security and certainty and
predictability kind of makes us anchor around not changing. And yet that too is exactly the whole key
to the solution. The insecurity is
only a potentiality; it is only a future possibility. We can avoid it completely by a proper
understanding of the layers of resistance.
But to bravely pretend that such resistance does not exist, that we
have a technical solution to what is only a technical problem, is to ignore
the “socio” in sociotechnical, and that I am afraid is something that we have
been only too good at. We have to
correct that. We have to address that
issue up-front and I am hopeful that this little sequence of diagrams will
allow us to do just exactly that.
Now one unresolved question. How is it that security and satisfaction
can be both in the cloud and in the matrix?
Well the answer is that one, the cloud, is necessity-based logic – a
heading or a summary if you like, a higher logical type. And the other, the matrix, is
sufficiency-based logic – a list of the contents under the heading, the detail,
and of a lower logical type. Write one
whole cloud out for yourself, with an accompanying matrix. Try a simple “put up with all the rubbish
versus don’t put up with all the rubbish,” I am sure that you can think of
one example, and see if it doesn’t make sense. It will make sense.
UDE, DE, ude, and de, are
about things, the technical side.
Dissatisfaction, satisfaction, insecurity, and security, are about
people and their emotions, the socio side.
Both are in the matrix and in the assumptions of the cloud. Too often we forget about the soft side of
this business, and we need to change that.
Understanding Efrat’s cloud, and how it permeates the matrix too, will
enable us to move forward much more rapidly.
This Webpage Copyright © 2013 by Dr K. J. Youngman