Tool: The Ambitious Target Tree

The ambitious target tree is a toc tool used to analyze and sequence the steps needed to achieve a goal.

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The Ambitious Target Tree (TOC Tool)

The ambitious target tree is a toc tool used to analyze and sequence the steps needed to achieve a goal.

An Ambitious Target is a positive and desirable objective that at first glance seems unreachable. The stages in constructing the tool are:

Define the Ambitious Target. Before we start the discussion about how to achieve the target, we should always make sure that there is agreement among the team members that the target is desirable! Different team members may give a different meaning to the general terms and thus have a different image of the target. When that happens, many arguments are likely to occur about the ways to achieve the target. The third reason for the need to define the Ambitious Target is focusing. If we do not define the Ambitious Target, the objective may become vague. What is imortant is to verify that everybody understands the target and agrees that the target should be achieved.

Identify obstacles which block us from achieving the target. An obstacle is something that prevents or significantly inhibits the successful achievement of a target. After we define the Ambitious Target, we need to define the specific obstacles that prevent its achievement. In order to understand whether a specific action will move us toward the target, we should check to see if this action overcomes an obstacle that we believe prevents us from achieving the target.

Verbalize Intermediate Objectives (IOs) according to the obstacles raised. An Intermediate Objective is a situation reached after overcoming an obstacle. Intermediate Objectives are landmarks or stepping stones between the present situation and the Ambitious Target. For each obstacle that we have identified, we need to verbalize Intermediate Objectives that will overcome it.

Arrange the Intermediate Objectives in a prerequisite order. A prerequisite order indicates which intermediate objectives must be achieved before others, and which can be achieved in parallel. After verbalizing the Intermediate Objectives, we need to arrange them in a prerequisite order.