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Sustainability: Moving from Common Sense to Common Practice
2016 International Conference
Leesburg, VA - National Conference Center

September 18th - 21st

Fundamental Components for a Successful Strategy &Tactics Process: Learning from Experience and the TOC Thinking Processes

Franz Nowak - Cofounder/COO VISTEM GmbH & CO KG, Heppenheim/Germany, Owner/CEO Private NetworkSolutions GmbH


Change projects can be risky for organizations, if not guided by a reliable focusing process. Even TOCimplementations show shortcomings regarding planning and controlling of the change project. Themanagement team within the organization often does not really own the project. Effects are notplanned and if planned then they are not sufficiently evaluated and the learnings not incorporatedinto the next steps. If all goes well, the experience remains within the minds of the few persons whoexecuted the change and is not transferred to the whole organization as wisdom.The S&T trees of TOC applications and the description of ‘Learning from Experience’ alone are notsufficient to initiate satisfactory success.
The result: even more insufficiently successful change projects.


The ‘Strategy&Tactics’ process as initiated by Eli Goldratt and ‘Learning from Experience’ (andsurprises) put forward by Alan Barnard and Eli Schragenheim establish a framework to createsustained change.

Data from change projects must be converted to information, transformed to knowledge aboutsuccessful practice and grow into wisdom, which is at the heart of the successful flourishingorganization. Such organizations do not execute one change project, but establish the changeprocess as its core process transforming itself continuously as the environment changes.


During several successful change projects spanning more than twenty years we used and createdtools and methods to implement not only the one application which is usually the start of the changeprocess, but to instill a permanent change in the mind-set of the organization.
When starting a change process, the managers of the organization create the plan for change by usingan application of TOC like the S&T for project organizations or one for production and supply chain. During these first steps the organization has few or no persons with TOC experience. Experiencedfacilitators help it to move along a well-trodden path. TOC Thinking processes are just used as toolsto facilitate a group process without any training of the team members.The first mind-set change we observed is that the core team uses the flow of thought of an S&T nodefor each important subject they come across.

They ask themselves questions like: Is it really necessary, to discuss this? What is our goal? Let’sgather ideas, caveats, possible negative outcomes, solutions. Let’s make a plan. Often the discussion goes in circles. Bad experience with upper management or other subsidiarieswithin the corporation may lead to vicious loops of finger pointing.

The core team has experienced that it helps to define: Who are ‘we’ in this context? (System) What isour goal? What are our obstacles? How will we overcome these blockers? They learn that ‘we’ is apowerful concept and later they may learn that they were utilizing a goal map and a Pre-Requisite-Tree.

When the change is on its way, the S&T process proceeds step by step.
  • Have we done what we have planned?
  • Have we experienced the expected outcomes?
  • Can we make the next step?
  • Do we have to learn a lesson here?
  • Do we have to change our plan?
  • How can we bring this experience into our organization?

This means that during the change process the focus of the facilitators is not only on the implementation of the specific application, but on a step by step mind-set change using TOC Thinking Processes and ‘Learning from Experience’.

First introducing them implicitly as facilitation tools and later teaching them explicitly. My plan for this TOCICO conference is to shape a workshop, lasting 90 minutes.

The goal of the short workshop is to transfer practical experience from actual change projects to the participants by telling the story and facilitating hands on exercises in a time-boxed setting. An important component is the visualization of the team effort.

This workshop has four parts:
  1. Short presentation to introduce the concepts of TOC change projects (20’)
  2. Teamwork on a case. Creating visualizations on the walls of the workshop room.
  3. Depending on the number of participants, the process will be adapted to keep them all involved. (50’)
  4. Short presentation of the results by a speaker of each team. (10’)
  5. Questions and Answers (10’) 

Franz Nowak is the Cofounder/COO VISTEM GmbH & CO KG, Heppenheim/Germany, Owner/CEO Private Network Solutions GmbH, Vienna/Austria after studying Physics & Astronomy & Computer Science at Vienna University, Franz Nowak started using TOC methods in 1992, when building his first companies developing software. As COO of VISTEM Franz currently is responsible for the execution of VISTEM’s portfolio of TOC change projects. During his more than 20 years of TOC experience Franz focused more and more on the roll out of Strategy & Tactics processes during change projects and continuous learning from experience forsustainable organizational growth. Franz is TOCICO certified for project management, thinking processes and financials.

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