Goal Tree Chronicles – Your Current Reality changed, not your Goal

Bill Dettmer, the “father” of the Goal Tree keeps repeating “A Goal Tree well-built remains valid until the business environment changes or the way the organization is doing business changes significantly”.

Indeed, in times of instability and disruptions, business owners or CEOs may feel that some significant change happened in business requiring to rebuild a new Goal Tree. But before ditching the current one, they should check if it’s not a matter of Current Reality change rather than a Goal change.

Your Current Reality changed, not your Goal

In front of the company’s Goal Tree the CEO shakes his head. The logically sound Goal Tree build with the senior management team some months ago does not green-up. The company does not get closer to its Goal despite all the coordinated efforts. The Goal Tree keeps its autumn’s colors, which means many Necessary Conditions remain unfulfilled (Red) or unsteady (Amber). Only few Necessary Conditions are always provided and pose no problems (Green).

Something is wrong. Not with the logic tool, but with its content it seems, because it is so difficult to get the organization closer to its Goal despite all the efforts.

Well, take a break and reflect on this: do the changes noticed in the business environment change the company’s Goal? Or do the changes bring up more or new obstacles to get the company closer to its Goal?

The latter is more likely. And therefore there is nothing wrong with the Goal Tree. The listed high-level (close to the top, i.e. the Goal) Necessary Conditions are still valid and necessary. Some of the lower level Necessary Conditions might have to be adjusted, but even most of those will probably remain valid.

What has to be reconsidered is the Current Reality Tree (CRT). Starting from the Undesirable Effects (UDEs), which in the Logical Thinking Process are top outcome that aren’t fulfilled; obviously the Goal and one or more Critical Success Factors (CSFs), the logical analysis drills down to one or more Critical Root Causes, that are the source of all evil.

Now if a Current Reality Tree has been done in the past and the solutions brought up consequently do not help the organization to get closer to its Goal, chances are that new changes, either in the business environment or in the organization require to adjust the solutions.

Therefore, the Current Reality Tree has to be revisited or a new one built, in order to take into account the changes and neutralize or overcome the chain of cause-and-effect leading to Undesirable Effects.

Conclusion, when in doubt about your Goal Tree, assume that your Current Reality changed, not your Goal.

View Christian HOHMANN's profile on LinkedIn


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