Thursday, November 10, 2011

You Need a Conflict to Evaporate a Cloud

Earlier today, for some reason, I remembered my first (and last, as of today) try to get my boys (Then 9 and 6) to use the EC tool. Even tough we managed to reach a solution it was a total failure as the solution worked just once, and probably because I made it work. Today as this experience popped into my mind I realized what went wrong.
Here is the story, in short: Once a week, early in the morning, the boys get a magazine in the mail box. Every week they would rush to get it and then start quibbling right away over who gets to read it first, while getting ready for school and on the drive there. So on the week I was at Goldratt House doing the "TOC for the Ever Flourishing Organization" workshop, I decided to use the tools and help them solve this conflict. I sat them down, listened to each and tried to write the cloud. We came out with something lame. The wants were clear - each wanted to be first. The needs they stated were, at least to me, not relevant and somewhat foolish. The real issue was the common goal, I had to force one on them - this should have been a huge blinking warning sign for me, but I was a Mama with a mission, I ignored.
Well, thinking it over I realized that I was trying to draw a cloud where there was no conflict. They had no problem with the situation, perversely enough (in my eyes, totally natural by any other point of view) they wanted those quarrels to go on. The problem was, of course, mine and the conflict was, sure enough, between me, wanting peace and quite as I drive them to school and them, wanting to keep up the good fun of having the other blow up.
Looking at the situation from this angle the first thing to pop up is the common goal (easy after reading Lisa Scheinkopf's example about her daughters). It was "make sure Mom doesn't lose her temper". The wants I already know and there is really no point in trying to figure out the needs - they are no longer fighting over this....
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