TOC Tool: The Cloud

The Cloud is a TOC thinking process tool that analyzes the details of a conflict, meaningful action and a decision in a concise and non-provocative way.

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The Cloud (TOC Tool)

The Cloud is a TOC thinking process tool that analyzes the details of a conflict, meaningful action and a decision in a concise and non-provocative way.

By using the cloud, we can resolve a conflict.  A conflict is well defined when two possible opposing actions (wants) are present to achieve a common goal.  Both actions are logically linked to the common goal by two different needs.  The two needs are general and do not oppose each other.  If the different needs are met, then the conflict is solved with a win-win solution.
The Cloud analyzes the details of the conflict by asking five guiding questions:

  • What do I WANT?
  • What does s/he WANT?
  • What is my NEED?
  • What is her/his NEED?

What is our Common OBJECTIVE?

The cloud may be internal to an individual.  For instance to resolve the conflict: “To be or not to be.”

The Cloud's structure is built of five boxes connected by logical arrows.  Each box answers one of the five questions to help describe the conflict.

  • The broken arrow symbolizes the conflict - the WANTS cannot both exist at the same time.

  • The NEED is the real reason why each side insists on getting what s/he wants.  In order to satisfy the NEED it is necessary to achieve the WANT.

  • The COMMON OBJECTIVE is a situation both sides wish to have, but in order for it to exist each side must satisfy his/her NEEDS.

In order to reveal the assumptions (shown below — add text to empty boxes), we find out why getting the Want is necessary to fulfill the Need. Then we examine each assumption to know if it is really valid, and whether we can do something to make it invalid.
The arrow connecting the Want and the Need is based on many assumptions. If an assumption is invalid, then the Want is not necessary for the Need. If the Want is not necessary for the Need it means there is an alternative way to satisfy the Need.


Finding Win-Win solutions:

A   Win-Win solution is a solution that enables both sides to satisfy their significant Needs.
The problem is that in order to satisfy its Needs, each side insists on getting its conflicting Wants.

Thinking within a Win-Win framework requires us to shift the focus from getting what we want to obtaining what we need.