As I mentioned in the first part of this post about the thinking process, the first question to ask yourself is "What to change?". The Theory of constraints provides us with the "5 focusing steps" which help you to get clear what to change:
Five focusing steps
1. Identify the constraint that prevents the goal from happening.The second Question of the thinking process
2. Check how to exploit the constraint.
3. Subordinate all other tasks and processes to support the constraint.
4. Elevate the constraint to break through it.
5. Once the constraint has moved, return to Step 1 and continue making adjustments where needed.
"To what to change to?" is the second important question of the thinking process of the Theory of Constraints. Organizations must look at ways to constantly evolve and continue changing to achieve full potential of their goals. By using the Theory of Constraints companies can focus on identifying these constraints, decide how to work the system to get the most out of it, adjust the rest of the system to support the solutions, make some more changes to break the constraint, and then start the process over. Starting over allows the organization to examine what changed and see what else needs to change to continue working towards its goals.
The third question of the thinking process
The third and last question is "How to cause the change?" The process of TOC understands that organizations are measured and controlled by variations of throughput (money or units made through sales), investment (money invested to sell goods and services), and operating expenses (all money spent to make investment into throughput). By understanding how the company operates, enables managers to understand where and how to improve production and profits.
Managing People's Resistance to Changes
Understanding what causes constraints helps managers to identify and initiate solutions for the constraints. Dr. Goldratt notes that change is not a happy process if not everyone does win in a situation, so companies have to consider all parties when deciding what to change. In some cases it could also be limited skills and mentality levels caused by practices within the company that can reduce production. Managers have to learn to work with and around these limitations by finding solutions that work for everyone and reducing the fear of changes.
My personal experience
Answering the first two questions may sometimes be hard, but often this section is the easier job because you can overlook your company more or less from "outside". The last step is mostly the hardest one because there you really have to take action and change your old habits. Don´t let yourself be controlled by fear in this phase: Aalways keep your goal in mind!