The Path of Least Resistance for Managers by Robert Fritz

Notes from the book The Path of Least Resistance for Managers by Robert Fritz, published 1999

Designing Organizations to Succeed

The difference between simplicity that trivializes and simplicity that illuminates defines genius.

The first insight is that energy moves along the path of least resistance.

The underlying structure of anything will determine its path of least resistance.

We can determine the path of least resistance by creating new structures.

First law of organizational structure
Organizations either oscillate or advance

Second law of organizational structure
In organizations that oscillate, success is neutralized. In organizations that advance, success succeeds.

Third law of organizational structure
If the organizations structure remains unchanged, the organizations behaviour will revert to its previous behaviour.

Fourth law of organizational structure
A change of structure leads to a change of the organizations behaviour

Structural Tension

Difference between current state and desired state.

Knowing what we want to create and knowing where we are in relationship to our goals – is the most powerful force an organization can have.

Fifth law of organizational structure
When structural tension dominates an organization, the organization will advance

Due dates are a significant part of the planning process. Through the assignment of dates, you are placing events in time.

Structural conflicts are not problems. They are simply structures that are inadequate to accomplish our ends.

Sixth law of organizational structure
When structural conflicts dominate an organization, oscillation will result.

Seventh law of organizational structure
An inadequate organizational structure cannot be fixed. But you can move from an inadequate structure to a suitable structure.

An obsessive focus on ‘what can we do?’ leads us away from important fundamental questions ‘ how are we to understand the current situation? or ‘what are the causes in play that create what we’re living through?

We reduce the intensity of the problem. We feel better about the situation because we feel we are addressing it. However, once the problem is less intense, there is less motivation to take further actions.

[widget id=”ad-continue-management”]ad-continue-management[/widget]Connecting Marketing with Business Strategy

An exercise I often use with clients. I make them write ad copy, because that is one of the quickest and best tests of how fluent they are in their business strategy.

Soon the room was papered with their new copy. Some of it was awkward, and some of it was rather good. The one that captured their business strategy the most was this simple statement: At Royal Ford, we make it easy.

That is their story in a nutshell.

A Warning About 'Creativity' In Business

‘Creativity’ is not the miraculous road to business growth and affluence that is so abundantly claimed these days… Those who extol the liberating virtues of corporate creativity… tend to confuse the getting of ideas with their implementation – that is, confuse creativity in the abstract with practical innovation.Theodore Levitt, ‘Creativity Is Not Enough’ (1963)

As a copywriter, the immortal words of Rosser Reeves always come to mind.  ‘Creativity is the most dangerous word in advertising’.

And another great copywriter Gene Schwartz said of creativity vs connectivity:

Creation is a lousy word.  It’s a lousy word that confuses what you really do to perform a simple little procedure.  Creation means create something out of nothing… only God can do that

Let’s talk about connectivity – connecting things together.  New means never joined before. The creativity is in your market and in your product, and all you are doing is joining the two together.

Of course this goes against the grain of mass popularity and Above The Line brand advertising.  But that’s because of the lack of discipline, effort, and understanding of so called brand advertisers, short-copy copywriters, and general marketing managers.

Many years ago I read a book by Robert Fritz called ‘Creating’.  I read his other books including The Path of Least Resistance for Managers (highly recommended).

In his genius body of work, Robert Fritz identifies an efficient process for innovation and creativity that protects against the danger warned by Rosser Reeves and Gene Schwartz’ of creativity easily extending beyond its validity.

Fritz identifies a clear-cut process that maintains a natural flexibility for controlling innovation.  Get my Productivity and Efficiency Report for details.

Structural Tension Charting

Structural Tension Charting radically improves your approach to managing business and life.

I have taken Robert Fritz concept of Structural Tension Charting and combined it with my own integrations and the work of other noteables such as Peter Senge and Eli Goldratt to create what I am currently calling an Outcome Chart (as available inside the 7 Steps of Organizing).SolutionPath

What would it take to commercialise the following?

Freeing people to create the lifestyle necessary to fill their deepest criteria for contentment, by providing the precise information references and tools that will facilitate the manifestation of there dreams and wishes into reality.

The organizing principle of structural tension…

Structural Tension Charting

Here are the principles:

  • Tension is the basic unit of Structure
  • Tension exists out of discrepancy:  It is a dynamic of structure that causes energy to move along the path of least resistance
  • The path of least resistance is the principle that in nature, energy moves where it is easiest to go
  • Structural tension is the discrepancy between two states, our desired state as compared to our current state

Structural tension charting facilitates the resolution of structural tension through allowing the visual representation of current reality, with the building up of all the steps that will get us to the desired reality.

Each Chart is comprised of a Current Reality box, a Desired Reality box, and a box inbetween for ‘how to get from here to there. This comprises a Structural Tension Chart.

It really is quite simple…

Robert Fritz book The path of least resistance for Managers explicates the system of structural tension charting. (See an article review of the book here).

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