Framework for Addressing What in Messes and Problems

Addressing the what in our messes and problems requires that we complete the following steps for an identified problem:

  • 1. Articulate our objectives.
  • 2. Organize these objectives into a fundamental objectives hierarchy.
  • 3. Using the same fundamental objectives, create a means-ends network.
  • 4. Link the means-ends network to our existing FCM.

Each of these four steps is demonstrated on a simple example that follows.

Articulate Objectives

We are continuing with our real estate example from Chap. 6. Recall that the developer’s goal is, simply put, to maximize return on investment (ROI). Their problem is that they have a plot of land which needs to be rezoned in order to maximize their profit on it. In the absence of such a rezoning, they will be saddled with a vacant parcel of land. Using this as a starting point, we can begin to articulate our objectives.

In terms of the development company, it aims to balance both short- and long-term company performance. So, in terms of the project itself, we can establish one fundamental objective as maximize project ROI. However, we can conceive of numerous mechanisms for maximizing project ROI that may be problematic in the long run. For example, they could engage in illegal behavior by hiring undocumented workers and paying them a wage below minimum wage. They could also engage in unethical behavior such as delaying payment for services rendered, which, although not strictly illegal, might be considered unethical by some. Both of these actions would be detrimental to their long-term company health. So, we should also add a fundamental objective of maximize long-term company viability. Armed with our two fundamental objectives (maximize project ROI and maximize long-term company viability), we can begin to organize them.

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