The Logjam Theory

What is it?

Tor Dahl & Associates assists organizations in making positive fundamental change and performance improvement.  We do this by finding and resolving obstacles that prevent you from reaching your ambitious goals.  The process works for individuals as well as for organizations and nations.  Between you and your vision is always a set of obstacles. Our research has shown that individual obstacles are separate from organizational obstacles, but that both form interlocking problem areas that we refer to as logjams.  The logjam stands in the way of getting from where you are to where you want to be in the future.  That logjam usually has five to seven logs in it.

How the logjam is identified

Tor Dahl & Associates has identified twenty-three potential logs an organization can encounter.  The logs were identified by looking carefully at all the information we have collected from previous clients during interviews, system-wide surveys, feedback sessions and three-day seminars.  The logjam analysis follows Tor Dahl & Associates’ fundamental methodology for performance improvements.  

Personal plans developed during the Performance Improvement Seminar, together with interview and survey data, will yield a set of definable, organizational problems, which will be assembled into a small number of problem resolution areas.  These problem areas represent your organization’s obstacles to productive functioning.  We have found that organizations typically have anywhere from 4 to 12 structural problem areas at one time.

Both quantitative and qualitative approaches are used to analyze the relative size and importance of each log.  The data reduction process can be illustrated as follows:

  • Interviews (Over 10,000 opinions shared per organization) 
  • Survey (Over 500 performance issues ranked by importance per organization)
  • Seminars (Over 25 overall obstacles quantified per organization)
  • Boot Camp (Generally 5-7 logs in the logjam per organization)

One may think of these as forming a logjam, where a key log is holding the jam together. The key log is the one that must be identified and removed first.  When that happens, positive quantum change and performance improvement can occur.  By resolving the entire logjam of organizational problems and determining high value activities, the organization can unleash its true productivity potential, and realize both cost-effectiveness and earned competitive advantage. 

The Logjam

It is important to re-emphasize that the logjam consists of overall “structural” (system-wide) issues.  Individual, department-specific, or center-specific issues are continually addressed through other means, such as various short-term and long-term actions and initiatives that come from the leadership session, seminars, mini-workshops, and alignment of departmental meetings.  However, many of the solutions developed at the Boot Camp (a three-day Problem Solving Session) will have a profound impact on the effectiveness throughout all departments and areas.

So far, we have identified a total of twenty three overarching logs for corporations:  

Corporate Logs:

  1. Alliances and Partnerships
  2. Attitude and Motivation
  3. Clerical and Administrative Systems and Tasks
  4. Communication and Information Sharing
  5. Information Systems Management
  6. Customer Satisfaction and Service
  7. Direction, Goals and Strategies
  8. Equipment and Facilities
  9. Innovations and Product Development
  10. Management Skills and Practices
  11. Marketing and Sales
  12. Leadership Skills and Practices
  13. Measurements and Metrics
  14. Operational Issues
  15. External Forces
  16. Organizational Structure and Bureaucracy
  17. Human Resource Processes
  18. Quality and Reliability
  19. Cost and Financial Management
  20. Specific Job Tasks
  21. Supplies and Materials
  22. Teamwork and Cooperation
  23. Skills, Training and Development