Continuing our series on Change.
In our previous post, we looked at the fundamental conflict underlying change; that conflict is between our need for control on the one hand, and our need for vision on the other. The need for control and the need for vision are common to individuals as well as organizations. As we are dealing with the cognition process and its impact on our lives, let’s concentrate on the very critical process of decision-making. The question is: how do control and vision translate in the decision-making process?
A decision point is where we are confronted with the possibility of change. Whether we are cognizant of it or not, everyday we take myriads of decisions and these decisions foreshadow in our mind a “change”. However, we truly feel the need to take a “life-changing” decision only when the current state of our reality shows some or many elements of discomfort. On the other hand, regardless of our current situation, our innate drive towards elevation and improvement will push us towards wanting to take life-changing decisions.
In this process, the need “control” takes the shape of “security” and this need leads to not making the change; “vision”, on the other hand, will be translated as “satisfaction” and will gear our decision towards making that change.
The decision process takes us then to a very precise and fundamental dilemma: Change vs. Do not change. This dilemma is originated by the two core needs of “control” and “vision” that in the decision process we can verbalize as “security” and “satisfaction”.
We can summarize this conflict in a diagram called the Conflict Cloud diagram. It is one of the Thinking Process Tools from the Theory of Constraints - see below. The box A contains the goal, B is a need that must be satisfied, and D is the conflicting position we assume in order to protect the need. C is the other need in this conflict, and D’ is the conflicting position we adopt to protect the need C. The blue boxes contain the assumptions or mental models that are the reasons why we have these needs and positions. The assumptions between D and D’ are the reasons for the two positions to be in conflict. If we can challenge these assumptions, we can find a way forward to a breakthrough solution.
We will look further at cognitive tools for change in our next posts.