That’s what we thought too. It eludes description. But, if you really notice and name, this Forming Play helps sync up to what the brain does intuitively.  Building a diagram makes thinking less elusive, more tangible.  

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So, you are using a slow motion, neuronal method?

Only diagram when you need to. Only if it speeds things up and makes you smarter. And there lots of times per day when you do things without thinking when it a little more awareness would have been better.  

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But people aren’t very good at this.

You said “5” on a 1-10 scale. And I’m not happy with 30 minutes progress out of 60. That’s why we want to upgrade second nature. Let’s look at your assignment.

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I’m working on your new Supply Chain Information System. One gap is to set up functionality for assessing Supply Chain Diversity. Here’s top of mind:

I am glad you’re working on it. No doubt we’ll talk about it later. For now, consider each thought. Which box does it go in: Goal, Analysis, Plan or Status? 

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Give me a minute. ... Okay, here are my sorts.


Draw two swipes and four labels on the whiteboard. Put key phrases from your list in their assigned boxes.


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Here you go.

Don’t have reliable baseline
Able to report to customers
Differentiate by race and gender
Metric skewed by machines, paper
lack data from existing suppliers
existing suppliers will balk
Don’t have reliable baseline
Create new data fields
Calculate by item category
Vet new suppliers
we need to be able to report to our customers
we will need some new data fields
we lack data history for existing suppliers
our metric is skewed by equipment and paper
vet our new suppliers, get their data
Don't have reliable baseline score
our suppliers may balk if we seek a lot of new data
could calculate diversity of spend by item category
we should differentiate racial and gender diversity
there are competing industry standards for calculating

What do you think?

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I like it. Boxes improve on a list. It gets me going. I’m starting to churn on it already

I sent you a slide of the Gaps Diagram, so you can slow-motion-notice what’s going on here. When you placed a thought in a box, your brain was making two judgments.  

  • Is the thought an effect or a cause? and  
  • Is the thought about what exists already or what would be better?

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I need a moment to say this to myself ...  in slow motion .... My first thought was, “able to report to customers”. That’s an effect, or an output of the system, not a cause; and it doesn’t exist yet; it would be better. So, it’s a Goal. Got it. That’s helpful.  

I couldn’t decide if #4 about “machines and paper skewing results” was Status or Analysis. It does exist, but is it cause or effect?

It’s blurry at times. It may come down to choosing how to focus the problem.

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This seems like a spreadsheet. Each thought has two variable fields. Each field has two values. You know, this exercise you’ve just shown me could be a function on the app.

Great idea. Let’s try another example. Maybe it goes on the app too.   Look at your next slide. This an e-mail I got from Jake.