Conflict, courage, and theory of constraints

Ash Moran
07 April 2014

Ash is a software developer and coach who realised early on that most problems in software are organisational, not technical. The first systems approach he discovered was Theory of Constraints, and he has become notorious for drawing its logic diagrams to understand complex problems.

Conflict, courage, and theory of constraints

Conflict is an inevitable part of living in a complex system. It manifests in forms such as competition between individuals, incongruity between a person's words and actions, dilemmas between courses of action, among others.

There are many bad ways to resolve conflict. One is compromise. Two people once argued over how to divide a cake. One wanted to take all of it, the other wanted to share it equally. They compromised, and the first person got three quarters. Fortunately, you don’t have to be either of these people.

In this session we will practise a more effective way to resolve conflict. We will use a simple ‘conflict resolution diagram’ (taken from the Theory of Constraints body of knowledge) to visualise the two opposing sides, challenge the assumptions of each, and find a better overall solution. We will also practise expressing both sides of a conflict in a fair and reasonable way.