Creating the Future Reality
What is a Future Reality Tree?
A Future Reality Tree (FRT) is a thinking process (in the Theory of Constraints) that enables focused improvement of a business system. More specifically, FRT allows mapping out future expectations. Moreover, it helps breaking Current Reality Problems or Core Conflicts by introducing new ideas or injections. Introduction of new ideas will change reality from undesirable outcomes of Current Reality to desirable outcomes of Future Reality.
Why use a Future Reality Tree?
The process of change is not instantaneous and often the original injection becomes insufficient. However, the process of building the FRT eventually leads to identification of the missing elements and additional injections that are needed in order to achieve the desired outcome. Thus, the FRT is a tool in gaining understanding what needs to be changed.
When building the FRT, it is essential to focus on the whole system of a business, not each and particular part of it. In other words, it helps to capture the whole, while focusing on the important parts.
Another important thing to remember about FRT is that it depicts “possible” future, not gives you the answers of HOW to get there and HOW to close the gap between the Current Reality and the Future Reality. Instead, it focuses on questions:
- “What to change?”
- “What to change to?”
- and “How to cause that change?”
Find the visualization of the Future Reality Tree below:
Starting with priorities
Building Future Reality is also about setting the right priorities. Our experience shows that very often current priorities need to be shifted in order to achieve desired result. Sometimes the least important parts of the process in the Current Reality become the most important part of the plan in the FRT. Quite often addressing Core Conflicts in the Currently Reality will ultimately eliminate problems that employees are dealing with on a regular basis.
Once the company realizes the Core Conflicts of the Current Reality, it needs to set up the goals on how:
- the company should operate
- the employees’ performance should be measured
- to establish repeatable and reproducible processes
- to build employee accountability into processes
- and on what potential opportunities should be implemented in order to achieve breakthrough improvement results.
Here is an example: a company is trying to sell its product by lowering the price.
In this kind of scenario, only one side of business relationship satisfies its needs – the customer, as their goal is purchasing a product at a lower price. The company that sells the product only loses on profit and in building sustainable pool of customers. The Core Conflict here is current priority. Once this priority is shifted from selling the product to selling the value of reputable business relationship, the situation will drastically change. The company will obtain substantial amount of dedicated customers where lowering the price on a product is not necessary in order to achieve success in the business world.
To conclude, the FRT provides core understanding and global vision of how the company could/should function in the future without losing itself. It builds the bridge between the current state and the future state.
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