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Efrat’s Cloud

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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.

This cloud describes our personal, but none-the-less systemic, conflict between wanting to simultaneously resist change and to also embrace change in order to be happy.? This cloud is frequently truncated to a more general form as follows.

Now I would like to cascade down through 3 more clouds that I have used on the page called The Paradox of Systemism and I want you to see if you can find Efrat’s cloud under each of these clouds.? You may wish to re-read the complete argument for each of these clouds on the original page, you might also like to sketch out Efrat’s cloud as above on a piece of paper and keep it at hand as we work down this page.? The first of these 3 clouds is my take on describing the Copernican Revolution – or in fact any paradigmal issue.? It is as follows.

OK, that is a little more truncated than the original, but I’ve compressed this cloud somewhat because I need to fit the matrix on to the same diagram in a couple of steps.? But do you see the relationship between “security” in Efrat’s cloud and applying what we sense in this cloud?? And do you see the relationship between “satisfaction” in Efrat’s cloud and applying what we rationalize in this cloud?? The same stands for “resisting change” and the “Earth is still” and likewise “embracing change” and the “earth moves.”? Let’s then show this same cloud in the context of managing modern business.

Well I will be a little bit provocative, I couldn’t fit in “exploit everything & subordinate nothing” so I have taken the most important part “subordinate nothing.”? Ditto for the lower arm, I have simply written “subordinate everything” – and by that I mean to the external market.? This is really what we are about, but hardly ever care to say so, because we too are too much stuck in the older paradigm that we are trying to escape.? But to more pressing issues, do you once again see that Efrat’s cloud is sitting or lying under this one?? It must be, if we continue to subordinate nothing, then we don’t change, and if we start to subordinate everything then that is totally different from anything that we know today, so it embraces change.? OK that’s a nice way to ease ourselves into the 3rd of these clouds.

Again a somewhat truncated form of the full form, but still more than enough to get the message.? In order to protect our sense of identity we must maintain control of that which we sense is correct, and in order to maintain control of that which we sense is correct we must continue to do old things and not to start new things.? This is the same as resisting change or more simply not changing.? Do you see why I say Efrat’s cloud is under this cloud?

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 step.

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.

There are much more direct and vulgar ways of expressing this cloud.? You can make the appropriate substitutions yourself.? In order to be happy I must protect my backside, my status, my position, and in order to protect my backside I must put up with all the rubbish (at work).? On the other hand, in order to be happy I must protect the greater system and in order to protect the greater system I must not put up with all the rubbish.? The first of these is equivalent to resisting change and the second is embracing change.? And once again, although it looks personal it is none-the-less systemic as well.? After all, all systemic clouds are ultimately personal – are they not?

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 matrix is about changing or better still improving, versus not changing or not improving.? The top row is about changing.? The bottom row is about not changing.? The left column is about the positives of these, the right column is about the negatives. ?It is a simple 2 by 2 matrix.? I haven’t labeled the axes because I like the simplicity of not doing so.? And although I have labels in each quadrant, they really contain lists.?

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.

Do you see that the matrix is providing sufficiency for the cloud.? The statement of “not put up with all the rubbish” is substantiated by the list of “alligators” in the matrix.

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.

English is difficult, I’d prefer to write “benefits” as plural in the matrix, I’ve written it as “benefit” which is really singular.? Let’s not worry too much about that.? Not changing is about what is current.? Changing is about the future.

We can also substitute with UDE and DE.? Let’s have a look.

Now this substitution is interesting because our normal UDE’s and DE’s are in one diagonal of the matrix and therefore on one side of the cloud, but there is also another desirable effect – labeled here in lower case as “de’s” and another undesirable effect – labeled here in lower case as “ude’s.”? And I have to say it, currently, or at least up until now, they have not appeared in the cloud at all and we wonder to ourselves why the assumptions of the upper arm of the cloud have been so difficult to “trim.”? Well, to state the obvious; if we don’t verbalize them how can we trim them?

[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 cloud.]

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 let’s note once again that we don’t do enough to recognize the current benefits, the good things about the present that we want to preserve into the future.? The unverbalized fear that we experience is more often than not connected to these positives which are important to us.? It is an expression of anxiety about what we might lose, about that which we might be unable to retain, rather than a fear of what further unknown things we might gain.? It has to much to do with our current sense of belonging and its maintenance.

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.

Gain is about the future, retain is about the present.? I realize that this is written in slightly stilted English, but it allows us to make robotic sentences at first and then we can come back and write them again in better English, or Spanish, or Chinese, or whatever language we need.? I am simply putting forth the mechanics in a simple and reproducible way.

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.

So, only half a job at the moment.? The top arm of the cloud is kept open by positive assumptions about the security of not changing.? Does that make sense?? Does that still sound like Efrat’s cloud?? Security has been moved now to the assumption rather than the need.? Or has it?? We will come back to that in a short while.? The bottom arm is reinforced by positive assumptions about the satisfaction of changing.

What then of the other two quadrants in which I placed question marks, what goes there?? Well let’s see, right now.

Now I don’t know what your particular reaction to this is, but the very first time that I drew it out, there was a Bart Simpson “Oh Duh!” reaction for me.? Looking at the cloud first, there is no apparent logic that security and insecurity should both end up on the same side and yet they do – explaining to me even more why that side so much resists change.? And there is no apparent logic that satisfaction and dissatisfaction should both end up on the same side and yet they do – explaining to me even more why that side embraces change.

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 went.

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

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