How to Use Tools

We select management tools & techniques for the default course of action; but we keep open the option to override the default. Our goal is to find and implement a collection of tools & techniques to take care of 80% of the behaviors 80% of the time (i.e., our autonomous tool-set). But that leaves us with 20-30% of the time where we need specific management intervention. We do not intend for management tools & techniques to handle all situations.

Management Tools & Techniques are impersonal generalizations. For example, we recommend Alternate Competing Hypotheses+ (ACH) as an approach to evidence gathering. It’s an abstract concept to improve the effectiveness in this activity and most of the time it fits. But every once in a while a researcher comes up with a overwhelming constellation of evidence. We seize this evidence and run. This constellation of evidence may later prove to be incomplete and we step back to the default procedure, but Stage Two researchers+ know when to abandon ACH for the greater good, and that’s exactly what they should do.

We nurture Stage Two researchers and managers, aka freestyle+ performers, to have trusted hands who can make exceptions to rules. These are exceptions for the benefit of the whole. These are performers who recognize and understand the basis for the management tool, and as such recognize when the basis no longer fits. They know the rule with enough intimacy to know when to break it, in order to satisfy the intent of the rule.

We’re diagnosticians. There are no default management tools in any given situation. We assess need and apply management tools as appropriate. If the patient doesn’t respond we dig deeper into our toolkit. When we talk about taking care of 80% of the cases, we mean the symptoms we see are usually treatable with our prescribed treatment 80% of the time. Probe, diagnose, treat and follow up. No one management tool is applicable in all situations: consider key behavioral moments+.

Continuing with the medical analogy: tools & techniques are procedures. They have been tested and proven in countless patients and are mostly right. They’re the best path forward for the novice when times are busy. But we do not slavishly follow these procedures when the health of the patient does not improve. We have master diagnosticians to handle the exceptions.

Home Page January 2011