Situation patterns

Your job will typically fit into one of 3 patterns (roles, functions):

  • Create: Innovate and define strategy, capabilities and solutions.
  • Implement: Translate strategy, capabilities and solutions into reality.
  • Operate: Manage, deliver, perform or support the stuff conceived and deployed by the other 2 functions.

These roles reflect different situation patterns that call for different thinking tools and knowledge flows.  If you accept the Kepner-Tregoe assertion that all human thinking can be mapped to 4 fundamental thinking patterns (rational process building-blocks), then a thinking model of the 3 situation patterns looks something like this:

Situation Patterns- Knowledge Flows

Situation Patterns- Knowledge Flows

Whenever I walk into a new situation, I first discern where I fit in this model and then determine what are the “open” issues to address vs. what’s been nailed down and fully resolved already.  Starting from this baseline, I know which thinking tools to use to make further progress; the questions to ask, the data to gather and how to add value to the current situation.

The Decision Driven® Solutions Framework (DDSF) is designed to provide decision patterns so you can quickly build a Decision Breakdown Structure of your situation to guide, facilitate and accelerate the decisions that will create your future.  However, you can also use decision patterns for project management/execution decisions and operational (day-to-day, recurring, routine) decisions.

Here’s a tip if you’re facing a career decision – It’s a lot more fun to work on the left side of this chart in the “Invent the future through decisions” role.  The folks in the middle are squeezed by project deadlines and may be blamed for failures when they successfully implement the bad ideas of others.  The operational workers on the right side of the chart have to live with both bad upstream decisions and failed implementation and still get the job done on a day-to-day basis.  Stuff flows downhill and it’s often not good stuff!

Invent the future through decisions by building your own Decision Breakdown Structure within the Decision Driven® Solutions Framework (DDSF). Please contact the Decision Driven® Solutions team at or to start your free trial of DDSF.


About decisiondriven

Innovator in Decision Management, Systems Thinking and System Engineering methods and tools
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