Discussing the Direction for Marketing the Value of TOC

My last post has stirred a lot of responses, which makes me optimistic as many people care and wish to improve what we have already achieved.

I’m going to layout a certain idea as an initial direction. I also include a similar, yet different, solution by Kevil Kohls, with whom I have exchanged mails on top of the exchange of comments in the blog.

Leo Lauramaa challenged the hidden assumption that “TOC is for everyone”. Let me simply state that I believe (when I cannot logically prove I use the term ‘believe’) that the assumption is valid.  TOC uses rational tools, based on logic and common sense observations, but TOC still recognizes emotions and intuition.  I see TOC as a general managerial approach that should stretch out to other methods, like Lean and Agile, which bring good value, and analyze them to decide when they are effective and what should be challenged.  I assume managers in medium and large companies are capable to deal with rational arguments.

Some basic assumptions of mine are important for the direction I propose:

  • Competition between TOC consultants is good!
    • The Client gets a choice with whom to work on, and TOC becomes legitimate and widely recognized.
    • The main competition is with the current common approach of dissecting the organization into smaller parts pretending they are independent.

 

  • The real value of TOC is leading the organizations to become ever-flourishing. This holistic approach means planning the appropriate Strategy ensuring every part of the organization is aware what to do and when to do.
    • Value can be generated also by partial implementation. I understand the opinion that starting with partial implementation could, sometimes, lead to the holistic one. I think that starting with the global vision has much better chance, but this is part of the individual strategy of every consultant and practitioner.
  • The core difficulty to market TOC is that “it looks too good to be true”, as mentioned by Kevin Fox, and this causes a considerable fear. We need to learn how to overcome personal fears of people we have to convince. People overcome fear when they realize many others have successfully tried it.

Many of the responses, for instance by Kevin Fox and Henry Camp, claim that more big successes becoming known would open the way for TOC.  We also need the successes to be sustainable for long time. We better remember that the big competitors of TOC also declare successes and that it is not trivial to prove a sustainable success.  Eventually we need to convince through successes and also through the logic of the insights that applying them have to bring huge value.

The first obstacle for success is gaining access to top management of organizations to make them listen. This could be the result of effective marketing based on the chance of hearing something promising for just small amount of attention.

The next obstacle is convincing management of the huge value in applying TOC holistically. There are two obstacles to achieve that: showing them that TOC can, specifically, help them succeed in a big way, and vastly reduce their fears. This mission is definitely sales, but it has to be properly backed-up by marketing messages and preparation, taking into account the characteristics of the organization and what could be the decisive-competitive-edge (DCE) for such an organization.

The third obstacle is making sure the implementation is successful.  This is where the TOC knowledge and experience are required plus the personal capabilities of the TOC expert leading the implementation.  In order to sustain the success beyond the intervention of the TOC expert the management needs to be educated in TOC.  Succeeding to achieve that enhances the chance of getting more organization listening.

How can we overcome the above obstacles?

My direction of solution is to gather a group of top TOC experts, call it The TOC Consortium, to support high variety of TOC implementations, by giving the projects the power of international reputation, giving high level advice on critical issues, possibly facilitating the S&T and carry audits to identify obstacles and negative branches and guiding to overcome them.

The consortium would not push certain consultants over others and it could be part of competing offers to the same organization.

Goldratt initiated a series of seminars leading to two-hour meetings with the management of the interested companies. I think the idea can be still implemented. For the two-hour meeting a highly experienced TOC person is required.  I also recommend that the level of promise would be high, but not close to the unbelievable target set by Goldratt – getting net profit equals to the current turnover in four years.

Most of the support should be delivered from a distance given mainly to the local TOC experts. From time-to-time it is possible to send one of the top consultants to the specific location to help with the S&T, auditing or solving a critical issue. The point is to provide support not to take over the implementation.

This direction involves close relationships between the people in the implementation and the consultants of the consortium. These are business relationships, based on win-win-win, the client, the local TOC people and the international consultants.  The value is to create the right image of knowledge and experience, and also to actually use both in the implementation to guaranty success.

The missing element is how the TOC education is handled.  I hope that either TOCICO would be able to step in, or another international consortium is built to educate from a distance at an affordable price.

Kevin Kohls has a similar idea of a consortium with different scope.  Here are the main ingredients of his solution:

The Goldratt Consortium – Brainstorm

  • A virtual group that would meet by teleconference on a regular schedule and perhaps before or after TOC-ICO.
  • Their Goal is to make TOC the main way, and a Necessary Condition is to make money.
  • It’s its members will be anyone who wants to pursue this purpose, but should include consultants, academics and TOC customers.
  • They have a holistic framework based on the S&T trees, with appointed champions in key TOC areas: Throughput Accounting, Thinking Process, CCPM, etc.
  • Part of their objective is to give better definition to what TOC is and isn’t, and talk through other perspectives and tools that are not within TOC, such as Lean methods, Motivation, Routines & Habits, Resistance to Change, etc., and see how they should or should not fit into TOC solutions.
  • Non-profit training is one of the highest priorities, especially for it internal members.
  • They are always trying to reduce implementation lead time for their tools.
  • Recommendation of one or two tools that are the “best” tools for speed and quality. This could generate a few negative branches.
  • They should do some work on a non-profit basis, with the objective to pass the work on from one expert to another as the veiled holistic approach is rolled out.

Kevin added the following FRT:

UDE's of the TOC community - TOC Consortium FRT  (Copy)

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Eli Schragenheim

My love for challenges makes my life interesting. I'm concerned when I see organizations ignore uncertainty and I cannot understand people blindly following their leader.

31 thoughts on “Discussing the Direction for Marketing the Value of TOC”

  1. I agree with Jaime. I agree with Eli that his TOC consortium direction is needed and would help make TOC “the way.” I like that Kevin is using TOC TP to express his sense of it.

    Although I may not be a sufficient TOC expert, I also would be happy to donate my time and energy towards this consortium. I learn more every day and assume that someday I will arrive! I think the knowledge gained by teachers makes the effort required of them worthwhile to all parties.

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  2. Hi Eli

    Enjoyed reading your last two posts. Like Henry, I would like to volunteer my help to making TOC “the way”.

    Goldratt’s piece “Standing on the Shoulders of Giants” was brilliant; he didn’t shy away from improving on the thinking of his predecessors, nor from challenging his own previous ideas (he was a slayer of his own sacred cows). Hagiography around Goldratt & his thinking will only make us & TOC seem more cult-like. Using the TOC thinking processes to respectfully explore assumptions (including Goldratt’s assumptions) that caused previous initiatives to not succeed (or not succeed to the extent we would have liked) could help make TOC the way- a true & lasting testament to Goldratt & his legacy.

    Would appreciate clarity on what are the key similarities & differences between the proposed new initiative vs. Viable Vision (including TOC Consortium vs Goldratt Consulting, TOCICO / the new education consortium vs Goldratt Schools). Will the new initiative & organisations replace, complement or compete with the existing ones?

    Thanks Eli for your commitment to TOC & the TOC community and for continuing to provoke & enlighten us

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    1. Satish, the proposed direction is certainly inspired from what Eli Goldratt tried to do since 2004/5. First, he pointed directly at the top management, offering a focused Strategy to push the organization ahead. In the early days of the VV Goldratt wanted to use good old-timers TOC consultants in the process. But, when problems started to appear in many implementations he practically blamed the consultants and looked for experienced managers to become employees of Goldratt Consulting.
      What I have in mind is a virtual organization that would rely on the local consultants and with anything they need to get the project and mainly to execute it successfully.

      Goldratt Schools is not active anymore, and to my knowledge nobody else is offering. TOCICO does not wish, and maybe there are legal issues, to offer structured TOC knowledge to people around the world. TOCICO offers huge amount of presentations and webinars, but not structured courses that deliver the most updated and practical knowledge to newcomers. I assume such an initiative has to be a business initiative, while TOCICO has to remain not-for-profit organization.

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      1. Suggest we stand on Goldratt’s shoulders and learn from the VV experience when formulating the path forward.

        Did VV projects achieve the predicted results?
        If not (or not often enough) then why not?
        Were the S & T’s not sufficient?
        Were there unnecessary S’s or T’s that diluted focus?
        Were there particular S & T entities / branches / levels of the trees (organisational levels) where we struggled to implement? What sort of UDEs & obstacles were faced? Could alternative lower-level S’s / T’s deliver the higher-level S’s / T’s quicker / easier / more reliably?
        Does the sequence of implementing the S&T entities matter?
        Were there S&T trees for building the consulting capability (education & experience) and managing the VV projects?

        Apologies if these questions have already been asked / addressed; although I have studied the VV templates, S&T trees & other associated materials (offers, implementation notes etc), I didn’t personally get to work on any VV projects (wish I had!). However to the extent that my experience selling, delivering & managing other TOC projects is relevant, I’m happy to constructively help with the formulation of the way forward.

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  3. Eli,

    In your first post regarding this topic „Marketing the Value of TOC“ , https://elischragenheim.com/2016/02/06/marketing-the-value-of-toc/, you raised a number of very important issues. I agree that we as the TOC Community should try to work on solutions to transform the UDE in to DE. Personally I would prefer to do it under the umbrella of TOCICO as our ‚independend‘ organisation, with empowered experts in the back to decide whether a solution fit into the TOC BOK or not.

    Furthermore this group should be capable to set up development projects to work on solutions towards the future of TOC. An example: You mentioned the three engines of TOC. To me these are excellent solutions until today. But let’s be honest, most of the current implementations are taking place in BRIC countries. Other developed countries don’t see such a need to fully implement these engines. For instance I have seen a lot of production sites with a focus on „bottlenecks“. They have called it „Lean“ and not „TOC“. Nevertheless, the basic idea is implemented.

    But what will happen when Industry 4.0 is coming? We can be sure that it will come. Are we prepared as a TOC Community to seek for constraints in a highly complex network – „The internet of things“ ? A major issue in this environment will be an appropriated production control and material replacement system. I believe the basic ideas of TOC are much more qualified to do this job than any other current solution. But TOC has to be further developed towards these tasks.

    I know these thoughts are completely different to the current discussion and it’s suggestions on your blog. Because…
    Eli, with all respect, your current suggestion to market „TOC“ is nothing else than the reinvention or reincarnation of your own business model.

    You wrote:

    „I dedicate a lot of time supporting TOC implementations worldwide through the use of Internet advising consultants and practitioners how to deal with the specific problems.“ https://elischragenheim.com/about/

    „Offering advice to the TOC expert for a specific project, analyzing the dilemmas of implementing the TOC ideas in reality“ https://elischragenheim.com/services-provided-by-eli-schragenheim-supporting-toc-implementations-worldwide/

    And finally the solution:

    „My direction of solution is to gather a group of top TOC experts, call it The TOC Consortium, to support high variety of TOC implementations, by giving the projects the power of international reputation, giving high level advice on critical issues, possibly facilitating the S&T and carry audits to identify obstacles and negative branches and guiding to overcome them.“ https://elischragenheim.com/2016/02/15/discussing-the-direction-for-marketing-the-value-of-toc/

    I don’t have a problem with the idea of a TOC Consortium to help consultants in case of difficult implementations. Do it!

    But this has nothing to do with the question how to improve, develop and prepare TOC BOK for the future. This question is much more interesting to me.

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    1. Jurgen, my answer has two parts to it.
      1. About my own business model. Certainly what I have learned from doing it is the recognizing better the potential benefits and also some shortcomings. It is my thinking that having a group of experts, spread over geographies and languages, could do more, get more recognition and appeal, have a clearer marketing image, and be able to address more issues within implementations.
      If such a direction is taken, then I assume that specific implementations that stumble upon a problem and quickly develop a local solution, could later be the source of profound new knowledge.
      Eventually you and others can raise negative branches to the generic idea and offer new insights. The fact that I have started to do something in this direction is not, to my mind, a negative branch. It could demonstrate good and bad things about it, but in itself this is not a criticism on the idea.

      2. Regarding development of more knowledge, which includes addressing the new technology of Industry 4.0, I think that TOCICO is the right organization to do it.
      Prof. Jim Cox has initiated, within TOCICO, a process called White-Papers that was directed to review and certify new TOC knowledge. I have helped and submitted two papers of my own. The point is that the review process is very slow. I think TOCICO should review the process itself and find ways to do it that will appeal to many more people in the TOC community who develop their own solution.
      I fully agree with you that on top of the White-Paper process, TOCICO could initiate the development of new knowledge based on prediction of what might be required in a short while. I assume sponsorship is an obstacle that needs to be overcome.

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  4. I am not an expert, just a practitioner of TOC. I would like to contribute to this consortium as much as I can just to enrich TOC literature in Turkish.

    Here in Turkey, TOC is an enigma, everybody has immersed heavily in old paradigm. Decision makers are searching for old fashioned tools and suppliers are providing old fashioned tools as well (better forecasting algorithms, quicker optimization tools, more complicated MRP software and every time more expensive, more complex so-called solutions…).

    Lean Institute is active in local Office but unfortunately there is no such an institution for TOC.

    I do like the idea of “virtual anonymous TOC expert” backing up me!!
    It could be a portal, subscription based, distance-learning,…

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  5. I’m in!

    I feel Kevin’s proposal is more detailed and achievable in the short term.

    What are the next steps to be part of it? For us that are not TOC big consultants, but that want to jump in.

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  6. Hi Eli,

    Bere in italy too knowledge of toc is minimum.

    I consider myself a student, i have read almost any book written from goldratt And view a lot of toc.tv material.

    I work in retail And e-retail And toc is giving me a way to avoid competition.

    I confirm that is better to have an external consultant to reduce change refusal.

    In my experience other model works like toc in the short term, but they oversimplify reality And when you push harder the results Are lesa and less good (Lean is a good example… It Simply ignore a fact… Not every change is an improvement)

    I think that the reason of better Success in bric for toc is seen from “g8” economy as linked to “not enough developed” economy…
    Cause once you grow you will come back to standard procedure.

    Higher historic Success is also the higher wall you will find in your way.

    Regarding the idea of consortium i find it a good way to push the toc over Consultant’s limit…

    I wrote to humberto baptista to discuss a topico in the retail implementation i’m working on.

    He answered me but once i read your idea i saw the opportunity to better handle And share knowledge for future.

    I don’t think i could be part of the project as consultant or other, but i hope i could help with implementation project in retail And ecommerce area.

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  7. Hello Eli, great work as usual! Even though I’m not such an expert (I consider myself committed in a POOGI), I’d like to contribute for what I can, considering that in Italy TOC is not so known. Keep me informed on the next steps.

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  8. It’s logical, Eli, that you have created your business based on what you believe; as an honorable and honest person, of course you have done that. Still I’m uncomfortable that this discussion started based on an “absence of my already-thought-of solution” argument. I agree with only parts of the solution therefore, because the core problem seems weak. My business has not suffered from the lack of centralized TOC leadership.

    By 1999, with a boutique consulting firm, 5-6 full time consultants, doing 3-6 implementations/projects per year, I had given up expecting AGI or later TOCICO and Goldratt Schools to have any appreciable effect on TOC sales locally. I had to build my own business. I retired (on full pay) in 2006. Now, a decade later, i coach others, do R&D, build new solutions and visit Walt Disney World rather a lot.

    (If there’s something lacking in the TOC community, business building skills would be an interesting place to start.)

    And yet, these organisations (AGI or later TOCICO and Goldratt Schools) all offered centralized TOC leadership. So ‘yet another attempt’ at central leadership won’t do anything for the pipeline of work of the TOC consultants i work with and coach. Somebody has to ‘hit the bricks’ and get the work. And that’s a skill. Too many TOC experts resist this need, wanting the solution to be so self-evident and so compelling and so well proven (in the market, by the hard graft of others), that there’s no need to build their sales craft. They also want to profit from selling the knowledge, but do not want to pay to receive it.

    I argue that ANY TOC expert with good sales craft (and there are quite a few) has no problem building their business, and also has no particular need to ‘give away’ their hard-won pipeline, nor their techniques, research or ideas. They become the ‘silent achievers’. And that is sad.

    The core problem, in my opinion lies somewhere in the same space as the argument about pirating music. Does TOC spread faster if we all share? Sure! Does a song spread faster if we all pirate it? Sure! BUT how does an inventor, a creator, get paid for their professional contribution? The music industry has forced solutions on both sides of this fight, and although some sort of peace has occurred via the efficiency of online distribution, the issue is hardly resolved. Google’s initiative to put online ‘every book every written’ got similarly slammed.

    The TOC community also has got this wrong, and has tried to force solutions on both sides. To no conclusion.

    Share it all? Keep it to yourself?
    Grow the knowledge (research focus)? Grow your business (sales focus)?

    THOUGHT EXPERIMENT: Let’s say I’m flat out driving TOC into an industry that has barely heard of it, to generate more TOC consulting work than my internal team can handle, while flooding the local TOC community with work. Imagine I’m pulling in people from Asia, USA and Europe to assist the local experts (based in NZ/Australia) to handle the pipeline. Does anyone in the TOC community care about this? Hard for them to care if it’s a ‘silent achiever’ situation, right? They’ll never hear about it. Why not? Well, if i talk about it openly and invite the community at large to participate, what can i predict? It will destroy what i’ve created! The carefully crafted pipeline will be overrun by inexperienced opinionated enthusiasts, who refuse to acknowledge or pay for the efforts of those who took the risk to create the pipeline. The marketing pipeline will turn into competitive squabble, projects will fail, TOC will get blamed, consulting prices and revenues will fall, and the initiative will erode away and eventually die out. That is a fear, sure, perhaps not an inevitability.

    Until that fear is addressed, the silent achievers will stay silent.

    Should I share it all? Keep it to myself? Injection idea: share while insisting that the early players (who take the risk) do profit from guiding the later players (who ride the wave). But how?
    Grow the knowledge (research focus)? Grow the business (sales focus)? Injection idea: focus early players on driving the sales, require the later players to repay by documenting the new knowledge. But how?

    I will support and contribute to your proposed initiative Eli, if I’m welcome.

    But it will not solve the core problem of the TOC community. The starvation of the noisy newbies will continue, while the silent achievers will continue to go quietly about their business.

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  9. James,
    An interesting thought experiment! I would argue that goal is different – one to make money and be silent, the other is to make TOC widely recognized and legitimate.

    No one has yet created enough demand to flood the local TOC community with work, despite all the predictions. Why? Well, that’s outside the thought experiment, but I doubt is could happen all at once in a flood – perhaps more like a thin pipeline.

    I would argue that the success of creating the flood would be worthwhile to understand in the TOC community. How the hell did you create a flood? What paradigm shifting method did you use to create the flood? Can I shameless steal it to use somewhere else?

    Can you talk about it openly? – I would hope you would. But to invite the community at large to participate? I have trouble with that one. This is where Eli’s competitive consultants can kick in. Can whoever created the flood give recommendations on which consultants to use? Probably for a cut they would, just like any other Sales organization. But I don’t think you give the client enough credit for figuring out who to use and who not to use. What recommendations and successful past implementations have they had? Who would recommend them? What does James Powell think about your skill set? I doubt any company would hire the first guy that knocks on the door.

    If you give the client some credit, then consulting prices will rise, and revenue will increase. Demand will be greater than supply. A savvy consultant may bring it people with a mix of knowledge: Knowledge experts and those who have a good base knowledge (perhaps from learning the basic from a non-profit source, and getting certified by a TOC organization) and mentor them into experts.

    Will implementations fail – sure, there will be something’s that are outside of a consultant’s control, like management churn. They may or may not blame TOC. Have to consider that the variation that comes with any CI method.

    I have an alternative injection. Have experts like James Powell volunteer to help with possible solutions in a non-profit environment to help solve these issues. Volunteering to help Eli with this issue demonstrates your willingness to do just that.

    A comment on your core problem. If we give clients some credit, Noisy newbies will not be hired since clients will be looking for past successes and references. A small percentage may, but I doubt they will be smart enough to spread a bad word, since they open themselves up to criticism. Call them the silent failures.

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  10. Another thought. Pirating is obvious illegal, since it “steals” from someone who does not want to share their music. But there are others who are more than willing to put their music on the internet for no charge. Daryl’s House, with Daryl Hall and other musicians, are a good example.

    No one pays for the non-profit Wikipedia (which accepts donations), and yet the for profit Encarta has faded away. Is the Wikipedia/Firefox/Linux/Apache business model one we should emulate?

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  11. Kevin, thank you. I appreciate the engagement on this topic, as the outcome matters to me and to my organization, and clients, and i hope, the TOC community as a whole.

    I’ll try to address each remark in turn, for the sake of ensuring clarity. (Not interested in ranting or being right, i’m interested in understanding clearly what’s going on). I’ll try to stick to causality and evidence, rather than opinions, and please be assured i’ll take no offense if you take issue with any of it!

    Re: the goals are different. I cannot prove this either way in the general case, but for me, those Goals are not mutually exclusive, they are aligned, and i desire both effects. I suggest that TOC cannot become widely recognized and legitimate, without the fruits of TOC showing up in those who practice it. Clients will always look for evidence that practitioners are themselves successful, and are credible business advisers. Personally, i’m more motivated by fun than money, so i would make ‘enough’ money, and then have fun, balancing those needs.

    But this thread is about exploding the marketing efficacy of TOC. So, while i’m guilty of ‘stopping before the explosion’ in favor of having fun, it’s still true that the marketing methods we use are effective, and could explode the worldwide demand.

    Re: demand flood. If you’re seeking clarity on the magnitude of that effect, I agree the word ‘flood’ was provocative for the purposes of the thought experiment. But we’ve certainly created pipelines that have exhausted internal consulting capacity and we’ve pulled in other consultants to assist in delivery. From gossip online and offline i assume many others have done this also, although i cannot prove that to be true.

    Re: how to create the flood. Well in my case, “selling TOC” has never been the way to flood internal consulting capacity with work. There are two parts to my answer: marketing, and sales.

    Marketing: Finding burning, urgent, deep needs in a target market, and inflaming the pain (lighting a fire under the chair of the fuel-soaked manager). My team have conducted thousands (seriously; we peaked at 20+ weekly) of UDE meetings into target demographics, and then used what we call a CRT meeting to follow up about 80% of the UDE meetings. Of those, about 50% agree to be contacted at a later date to discuss ‘possible solutions to these terrible pains, should we uncover some valuable insights’. That list becomes the list that subsequent promotional material goes to.

    Sales: The ‘FRT’ meeting follows whenever a prospect (pre-warmed by the UDE/CRT process) responds to marketing content. In that meeting, the prospect must convince US that they are in the Current Reality that we are targeting. They must qualify themselves ‘in’. If they are in, we proceed to the Future Reality phase and sell the vision, and the injections.

    More than half of all our projects DO NOT involve the sale of the mechanics of the TOC-based solution. Only the injections (effects, not actions) and the FRT. Many clients remark on the first day of the project ‘you know, I’ve been panicking a bit over the past few weeks, as i realize i have no idea what you are about to do to us!’.

    Re: talk about it openly? Well, the above is an olive branch in that regard. I’ve just shared what i know is a paradigm-busting reliable method. BUT HERE’S THE CATCH: 70%+ of consultants, including those i work with, struggle to maintain the discipline of the method. Much like TOC applications, ‘it always works, but you may struggle to accept it and apply it’. We have to run ongoing extensive training programs for the team, with a lot of fluency work and ‘drilling’. Personally, i could always outsell my Op Exp in under 90 days from a standing start, but i’m a process nut and will follow the process mercilessly. Getting others to do that, well, that’s the challenge. The process i just shared always works, if you execute it without reservation. My business success, and retirement income, depended solely on the ability of my team to sustain that process.

    Just talk? Is it for real? Worked for me from 1995 to 2015 so i’m happy with it. 100+ implementation projects, 1000+ workshop seats, 10k+ book sales… i’m not claiming we are perfect or the best or even awesome, but yeah, we do alright.

    Faults? It’s hard work, hard to sustain, and hard to teach others. It always works, but we don’t always do it!

    Too hard? Can it be improved? Always. I’m an improvement junkie. Right now, i’m teaching the process to an independent consultant based in Sydney Australia. I’ll see if i can get him to comment about the efficacy. In his case, we are going a step further, experimenting with contracting the UDE/CRT phase using a new method based on ‘trusted adviser referrals’. This new method is proving to be very successful in this experiment (the consultant in question is indeed staring at an inbound tidal wave of work, and some hasty recruiting is going on), but i cannot claim it’s a general solution yet, as my sample size for this revised process is… 1.

    I’m drawing in other independents to work together as a team to test this new process – one is attending our local version of the TP course, this coming week. He is already TP qualified… but he must see ‘our way’ of presenting and creating fluency, in order to build from it. He plans to apply these methods to explode TOC work in his region, in China.

    Re: invite the community at large. Well, i’ll have to break that down a bit:

    Re: competitive consultants. ABSOLUTELY. When Eli Goldratt (around 1999) heard that we were doing high speed implementations every few months, he asked me to always use my competitors as ‘protective capacity’. I agreed, and it has been a successful symbiosis for us.

    Re: Can whoever created the flood give recommendations. ABSOLUTELY. And yes, for a cut; it’s a win-win.

    Re: the client. I only partially agree. In my symbiotic relationship with local providers, I’ve always promised, and honored, to never compete on price, and if bidding into the same client we always increase our price over all other proposals by 20% to 100%. Clients still choose us, despite that. So, yes, some clients can tell the difference, but NOT ALL. p.s. if we got the job, we always offer to subcontract into the deal the unsuccessful applicants. Sometimes, our ‘competitor’ would submit our proposal through their business, as a second (added value) option.

    So, not all clients are as discerning as you suggest – often they simply don’t have the knowledge or frame of reference to compare paradigm-busting skillsets. Too often, they hand-wave it away as ‘well, it’s all TOC right, so we’ll go with the cheapest proposal’.

    Re: Your prediction that, if we give clients credit, then consulting prices will rise, etc… i agree with that, in the case where clients are actually so discerning. but many are not, and those (in our region) have outnumbered the discerning ones by several multiples, so the poor/fail installs mount up. I actually had a salesperson refuse a job in my business because ‘nearly all the TOC installs [his previous employer] did, failed or unraveled’. That’s just horrifying.

    Re: alternative injection. the volunteer model sounds appealing, but it’s not scale-able. if 1000 consultants want free training, we are going to have to feed them into such a process very slowly. but if 1000 consultants will pay for training (and/or agree to a ‘throughout share’ on future throughput), then we could train them all by Christmas this year! And if it’s truly effective and truly a win-win, why shouldn’t the trainers get paid? Why does the receiver of the knowledge expect it for free, and expect to profit from it, while the giver goes unpaid? that’s just not viable.

    WHY WON’T they pay? Simple: if you have no pipeline, you have no cash flow to pay with! And if you already have a pipeline, you have no need to pay.

    SO: given it’s a chicken/egg problem, a loop-the-loop flying pig injection is required. A small change; a loop-starter. That’s the approach I’ve used: newbies invest a little now (when cashflow is poor) and much more later (as cashflow improves). We train and drill them. Coach and mentor them. Teach, teach, teach. And if they try to ‘steal’ the processes, or wriggle out of the obligation for reciprocity, they are ejected from the process and the teaching stops. No formal contracts, it’s all handshakes and trust. Integrity matters above all else, with action as a close second… we have no time or energy for thieves or procrastinators.

    That previous paragraph is perhaps the hook into your suggestion re wikipedia vs encarta. O f course wikipedia do make money, because people are willing to pay (i pay, for example), but they don’t force the issue. they also crowd-source the content, and i think that’s a very important distinction. in TOC, the body of knowledge must be crowd-sourced, but individual expressions (such as workshop manuals) must be protected IP.

    Re: the noisy newbies. I’ve got so many reference cases where noisy newbies got hired, that i cannot accept that logic. and, re clients will be looking for past successes and references: mate, I’ve had clients email me brochures they’ve received in which my implementations have been used by newbies as case study evidence for their newbie business! in one case, a long-term client received such a brochure, and in that brochure that SAME CLIENT was a named as a reference!! Boy, we laughed about that one for years.

    So, a small percentage may…etc? Nope, it’s the majority. In my region anyway.

    Wow, that’s a big brain dump, and Kevin, Eli, you’ve got me to say more in a public forum in one week than I’ve said publicly in 20 years. So i’d say you’ve hit a nerve! I really, really hope that this is a turning point in the marketing of TOC, and while I’ve been silent for so long, you’ve got me talking now. So. What next?

    I’ve had a bunch of PMs in the last couple of days offering to assist, especially in building trees in this subject space. Perhaps one of these volunteers can work with us to create trees to back up my case. I respect that there are trees already in play, so we would be building on an already commenced initiative – and full credit to Eli for getting this started.

    Finally, Eli, you are an awesome person, and the fact that you’ve got several people to open up with such detail, shows that you are inspiring change here. With love and deep respect, i thank you. I trust you won’t find all this deep discussion to be ‘hijacking’ your agenda, and if you’d prefer that i shut up, just tell me!!

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  12. A useful discussion. I think a useful avenue for marketing will be growing toc in academia. Much can be learnt I think from the project management institute and the way it has grown it’s membership and adherence to pmbok. I think a part of it is the accreditation it offers academic courses. They provide substantial academic support for programs, very cheap membership for students, monthly forums throughout the major cities, academic streams within their conferences etc etc. Tocico do some of this but it is less organized?

    Philip Dobson

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    1. Philip, from the early 80s until his death Goldratt wished to gain the interest of the academia. He tried, got frustrated, tried again and got frustrated again. I also see the efforts my friend Prof. Jim Cox has put to gain access to the academia. The fact that Goldratt had not clearly connected his development with older ideas is an obstacle.

      In a way this problem is like the chicken and the egg. When TOC has a dramatic impact on many organizations the academia would be much more active to know what is so compelling about TOC. Right now we even don’t have a good definition of TOC. We should come with one.

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  13. James –

    Thanks for the feedback – If you have created the large pipeline, the you are in a situation that I have not seen, but more power to you! I’m not in consulting any more, or I would be more than willing to pay you how to do that well. I might still be willing to do it for fun! Kudos!

    It also makes me wonder if you would be the right person to lead a larger effort to expand Marketing, Sales, and implementation? If we want a larger, more comprehensive group, then leveraging your success may be one way. Is it more of a “start small, think big” approach, or all holistic.

    Certainly, all clients will not check every background (that’s funny about you being a client), but I would imagine the majority would — at least at the companies I have worked for as a consultant and when I was hiring a consultant. Might be more of an auto industry thing, though.

    Wikipedia accepts donations, but making “enough” money is their necessary condition. I don’t think they generate a profit, per se.

    Again, thanks for the insightful feedback. If you want to teach others how to do the sales process, keep me in mind!

    Kevin

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  14. Thanks Kevin. Note on the previous thread that Justin Roff-Marsh also has built and sustained a stable pipeline, and also has to invest significantly in attracting, retaining and training consultants. We, the pipeline builders, are not rare or unique.

    I have proposed that the solution already exists, invention from scratch is not required here. Improvement and refinement are welcome, of course, we are not so arrogant as to presume we have the perfect answer. We don’t have identical methods, but we do create effects in common; such as inflaming the pain, building a pool of leads, activating and cultivating a pipeline, and focusing skilled salespeople on the act of propose/close. We both use “theatrical” techniques to build interest, stage-manage events, sell merchandise. We both use powerful logic to hook the pain chains into daily life and make it personal to the target audience. We are methodical, logical, systematic. Justin and I met perhaps 15 years ago, and attended each other’s training programs, to learn each other’s methods. We have sent each other many leads, and many clients. We are symbiotic, and have never competed.

    That’s TWO reference environments, to invalidate the assumptions in the current reality.

    How many more are required to turn the tide of this inquiry?

    Would other pipeline builders like to comment?

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  15. Thank you both Kevin and James. I’m not surprised that some TOC consultants are doing great, I like to two things to happen:
    1. That it’d happen much more and much wider.
    2. That the value to the clients is truly HUGE.

    Goldratt spoke about minus-minus solutions that look to heal the current pain and plus-plus solutions that look to get the pot-of-gold. The latter goes beyond the TP tools to catch an opportunity that now seems to far away to even think about it. Both solutions are required.

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  16. Thanks Eli. I too want both of those things. My logic is that it is easier by a factor of 10+ to get a person who was already moved (versus one who has not), to see the immense value. And it is easier by a factor of 10+ to get a new person to move away from paid (without risk), than it is to get them to move towards “nirvana”. Regardless of the size of the prize.

    So to do both of these things, we must segment our efforts – show the newbies how to escape pain with risk, and show the recently converted just how big the gains can be.

    But. Showing the newbies the big gains……. is just too hard and too slow.

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  17. Eli, I have been a reader of your blog for some time and find it very interesting as I learn more and more about TOC. I was introduced to TOC only last year and would consider myself a student at best. I feel like my prospective on this particular discussion would be of value as I am a client and currently planning our second project with James crew.

    When I met James we spoke in UDE’s and Effects (well what I now know to be UDE’s and Effects). I didn’t know what TOC was until well into the project and long after the company I work for had paid for the implementation. Speaking to me about injections, constraints, or TOC in general would have been above my understanding and would of closed me off to the solution. I saw this in person when TOC was presented to the board of executives for my company. After the presentation all came to me separately and said that they essentially stopped listening when we started to talk in more detail about the solution. All they wanted was a chance to voice their UDE’s and an assurance that what I was purposing would be a solution. I remember one of the directors telling me that it seemed like I had joined a cult, and I completely understood where he was coming from. The language and ideas are completely different and people tend to shut down what they don’t understand. I believe I would of done the same if I was presented with TOC as well.

    Initially when I spoke with James team I understood the effects I wanted to cause in our business, but had absolutely no idea what was involved in getting us there. Based on these discussions we moved ahead and confirmed a schedule. Implementation of that project was 8 weeks ago and 2 weeks ago we confirmed our second project with his team.

    It has been a very successful project thus far and I am sure we are only scratching the surface of the benefits. Now I face the same problem walking our clients and possible converts through our office. If I try and explain the theory I lose them. We I talk about what problems we had and the goal we tried to achieve they start to nod their heads.

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  18. Thank you Brendan. Be seen as a cult is, to my opinion, the biggest disastrous result of our approach. Personally I like to understand the logic of any solution, not just to trust the leader who listens to the concerns and the pain, that he knows what to do. That said, going into details is usually the wrong thing to do, and it only emphasize how keen you are to show how great you are. It does not help, and it is right that people stop listening.

    In another comment Kevin Kohls says that TOC practitioners need to focus. I can’t agree more.

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