A Cloud-a-Day Keeps the Conflict Away!

Simple, Harder and Tough Conflicts


Dr James Holt is lecturing the TOC Thinking Processes at the Washington State University. He kindly provided the following comments on conflicts resolution by using the Evaporating Cloud method, as well as some valuable material for interested ones to learn more about the subject:


Tool of Discovery

"The Evaporating Cloud Tool is a Discovery Tool. In the process of writing them, we DISCOVER new things. Beginners have to start on the Simple conflicts (even trivial). It's because they are not used to discovering new knowledge. And, verbalization can be very difficult when it is new to them.

At this point, I would recommend to go through the enclosed PowerPoint lecture Evaporating Clouds: Identifying and Resolving Conflict that I use for explaining the basics of Evaporating Cloud process to my students of the EM 526 Constraints Management Class at the Washington State University.


(To view the presentation, click on image.)


Harder Conflicts

Thinking people will often blow past the trivial clouds. So, the harder clouds should be the main focus of the "A Cloud-a-Day" website. Enclosed Self Study Material Creating a Simple Personal Cloud: How to create the Evaporating Cloud also prepared for the EM 526 students in the PowerPoint format shows how to find and construct more simple yet harder conflicts.


(To view the presentation, click on image.)


Tough Clouds, Chronic Conflicts

Now some comments on the whole Evaporating Cloud issue. Discovery is tough. Two people discover different things. They may be able to explain their independent discoveries with each other, but usually they only understand their own and discount the others.

And, the other thing is the view point. A person who finds a breakthrough injection to invalidate their assumption is often ignored or not accepted by others. In the beginning, this seems to be a personal injection.

Often a person will have trouble breaking their own cloud because they are too close to the issue. Another person can break a person's conflict cloud easier. This introduces the problems with Negative Branch Reservations that an individual has. (Note: Negative Branch Reservation, abbreviated as NBR, is another important and very useful TOC Thinking Process tool. It allows to anticipate negative consequences of certain action, or injection in the TOC language.)

To solve VERY TOUGH clouds people need to understand NBRs. Enclosed is another EM 526 PowerPoint lecture Help with the Negative Branch Reservation Tool: How to find the Good & Trim Away the Bad (Plus Solving Chronic Conflict). This presentation gives four ways to achieve a breakthrough even though it appears blocked. The NBR is the key tool to do it.


(To view the presentation, click on image.)


Considering VERY TOUGH clouds, one MUST address chronic conflict. All political conflicts are chronic. Chronic comes from repeated, unresolved debate. Very often, the assumptions are so deeply engrained in culture, beliefs or habits that they cannot be changed. The only solution is the Chronic Conflict Solution."

Keep thinking!

Dr Holt


About James Holt

Dr. James R. Holt, is a Clinical Professor of Engineering Management at Washington State University focusing on the delivery of the best management technologies. Dr. Holt has taught at the graduate level 18 years and has advised 85 engineering student theses and dissertations on a wide variety of topics. Dr. Holt is certified in the TOC Thinking Process, TOC Operations Management, TOC Project Management and TOC Holistic Strategy by the Theory of Constraints International Certification Organization and serves as Chairman of the Board, TOCICO (Theory of Constraints International Certification Organization). He is happily married to Suzanne for 38+ years; they have five children and nine grandchildren.


You can learn more about how the TOC Thinking Processes are taught at the Washington State University from Dr Holt's WSU web pages.

Topic: Simple, Harder and Tough Conflicts

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