Peter Stuifzand


The Theory of Constraints talks a lot about conflicts. Conflicts are what keeps us from becoming better. On part to becoming better at TOC is to know when you are in a conflict. There are certain words that can help you to notice a conflict.

TOC often talks about the large conflicts. These are the conflicts that most people have a problem with. When you dissolve these conflicts you help the most people.

The biggest conflicts can also be the cause of the most undesired effects. So fixing the largest conflicts will give you the largest return on investment.

I don’t think yhou should only dissolve the large conflicts. Smaller conflicts play a role in you day to day life.

The conflicts in your daily life are the conflicts that make you feel stuck. It helps to see these conflicts, because when these conflicts become visible, it becomes possible to save the conflicts.


The following phrases all point to conflicts.

  • compromise
  • conflict
  • we can’t do it both ways
  • we have to
  • I am stuck
  • I can’t do this
  • this would go against the rules
  • we go around in circles
  • one or the other
  • find balance
  • sometimes one and sometimes another
  • breaking the rule

When you hear these phrases there is big chance that you are operating under a conflict. A conlict with a co-worker or standard operating procedures, rules, polices, goals or otherwise. When you are in conflict you feel like you are pushed in one direction, while there is something else pulling you in another direction.


When you start use these words, you start to make assumptions. When you know which assumptions you make, you can start to find a solution. The assumptions that are wrong are the assumptions that can be changed or flipped around.

I need to do something, but something else stops me from doing it.

Why do you need to do something? Why does the other thing stop you from doing it? What is the goal of your action? What is the goal of the other action?


Perhaps you have feelings about feeling stuck. It helps to find the conflict that creates these feelings. The assumptions and thoughts about a conflict will lead to feelings of anger, fear or feeling stuck.

Multiple conflicts

Often conflicts are not alone. There are other conflicts that surround the current conflict. These conflicts can also be the cause of undesirable effects. These effects can be combined in a Current Reality Tree.

The same or similar conflicts can appear from different points of view.

Wel doen of niet doen Iemand anders doet iets niet. Wat is daar het conflict? Denken dat iemand anders iets niet wil doen, omdat ze alleen de negatieve kant zien? Jij wilt iets doen? Maar iemand anders wil iets niet doen?

© 2023 Peter Stuifzand