Promoters of any solution or change agents of are usually in love with the object of their promotion. Love is said to be blind and oblivious of any negative aspect of the loved thing. That is why so often promoters of change highlight all the benefits of the change, regardless of any Undesirable side Effects for the people they try to convince to change. They usually also complain about resistance to change when skeptic listeners do not show enthusiasm for the promoted brilliant solution.
But promoters may also forget to adapt their communication to the targeted audience. They may know well their subject and cut corners, leaving the audience with doubts and questions about a logic they can’t completely follow.
In this post I will address:
- The flaw of logic is to make shortcuts, ignore or misuse the cause-and-effect relationship in order to backup the promotion.
- Categories of Legitimate Reservations (CLR) are rules for scrutinizing the validity and logical soundness used by Theory of Constraints’ Thinking Processes and the Logical Thinking Process (LTP).
For that I pick two sentences from an Industry 4.0 promoter’s blog post which does not seem logically sound.
“Brave companies who adopt new approaches (e.i. Industry 4.0) and adapt how they manufacture and run their businesses will be rewarded with success. While those who drag their feet and avoid risk will get left behind.”
There is no further explanation in the blog to backup these two sentences.
The first sentence, rephrased in logical cause-and-relationship reads: “if companies adopt new approaches (e.i. Industry 4.0) AND if companies adapt how they manufacture and run their businesses THEN companies will be rewarded by success.”
The AND here suggest that the two conditions must be fulfilled simultaneously in order to cause the success.
Necessity-based logic versus sufficiency-based logic
The statement is made with sufficiency-based logic, because it suggest that the adoption of new approaches and adaptation are sufficient to cause the companies to be successful.
Sufficiency is base on “if…then” or cause-and-effect relationship.
If the article was about listing all the conditions necessary to make the companies successful, it would have been necessity-based logic. In this case the relationship would have been: “in order to… the companies must…”.
To learn more about necessity-based logic versus sufficiency-based logic, check my post: Goal Tree Chronicles – Enablers vs.triggers
1 – Clarity
The first reservation about this statement is a clarity reservation about the meaning of “success”. What is “success”? How can we measure it? How can we know whether the company is “successful” or not?
Unfortunately there is no way to ask the author for clarification. One could understand that deployment of industry 4.0 technologie(s) together with adaptation of the work procedures is a success. A project manager in charge of such a program would surely agree about this definition of success.
The CEO and the board are probably looking for more than having the latest technologies installed, even it probably helps the image of the company to have a nice techno-showcase. In their view, success is more likely increase of sales, profit and market share. Let’s assume this one is meant by “success”.
We could go on and challenge the meaning of “new approaches”, “industry 4.0” or even what is exactly meant by “how they manufacture”. In case someone really need clarification, the question could be raised, otherwise let’s not go for unnecessary wordsmithing.
2 – Entity existence
An entity in the Logical Thinking Process parlance is a statement that conveys an idea. An entity is also the logical box holding the statement in the various logic trees.
An entity must only convey a single idea, therefore when building a logic tree on this statement we must have 3 entities combining their effects to produce one outcome: the success of the companies (read figure from bottom to top).
3 – Causality existence
Causality existence is checking the existence of the causal connection between entities.
“if companies adopt Industry 4.0 AND if companies adapt how they manufacture AND if companies adapt how they run their businesses THEN companies will be rewarded by success.”
Does it exist? One example would be enough to demonstrate it exists, but, in absence of hard evidence, the likeliness of the causality existence must be evaluated. We assume it’s ok.
4 – Cause sufficiency
Are the 3 proposed causes sufficient alone to produce the effect “successful companies”? I would intuitively say no. There is a lot more necessary. We are here facing a typical “long arrow” which is a leap of logic from some causes directly to the outcome, ignoring intermediate steps and conditions in between.
This is typical when people discuss matters they know well because they don’t have to detail everything, they know what is missing and is implicit. But here it is about promoting something which is quite new (in 2017), relatively complicated and not very well-known by laymen. Effort should be paid to elaborate on the message in order to favor buy-in.
5 – Additional cause
This check is looking for other causes that can independently produce the same effect. There are indeed other ways for companies to be successful than going for industry 4.0, but the statement suggests there is only one, as it warns: “those who drag their feet and avoid risk will get left behind.”
With these two last reservations we uncover the major flaw in the statement:
- The proposed “logic” is not likely to be enough to produce the expected effect
- There are other ways to be successful
From the audience point of view, the argumentation is weak. This is more likely to raise suspicion about the promoter’s expertise and trustworthiness, thus distrust and reservation than frantic enthusiasm about the proposed idea.
Such a weak argumentation can have devastating effects, making decision makers to turn their backs, refusing a good plan or a clever strategy which was ill-prepared and badly presented.
The Categories of Legitimate Reservation are 8 formal “rules” or “tests” used to check the logical soundness of a reasoning or an argumentation. They are part of the Logical Thinking Process corpus.