## Unwritten Rules

### The Way Things Really Work

I have just finished reading Peter Scott-Mortan's "The Unwritten Rules of the Game." Based on some comments form Ilfryn Price before I started this book my reading has been filled with pictures while reading the book. What follows is an attempt to describe the recurring picture which has continued to come to mind during this reading.

Given that I start with some Current State and some Desired State, which are different, these interact to produce a State Gap. This State Gap represents an impetus for action; an action which is determined or defined based on the Written Rules (understood rule) of the operation. The whole idea being that Action will move the Current State in the direction of the Desired State thus reducing the State Gap. Yet, Action invokes the Unwritten Rules which tend to maintain the Current State by effectively nullifying the Action taken.

What we end up with is a Balancing Loop which is offset by a viscous Reinforcing Loop. And the whole diagram represents a violation of one of the foundational principles of systems, "Don't fight the system, change the rules and the system will change itself." The problem here being that his principle was ignored in that the "rules" were not changed. They were completely ignored, and the results, or lack of them, are as would be expected.

The following diagram depicts a possible way to remove the viscous Reinforcing Loop.

Considering the State Gap along with the Written Rules and Unwritten Rules produces a Realization that things are out of alignment and an Action based on the Written Rules will not produce the desired results. This Realization in conjunction with the Written Rules and Unwritten Rules is used to produce a set of Rewritten Rules. The Rewritten Rules then interact in an appropriate fashion with the State Gap to promote an Action which will move the Current State in the direction of the Desired State.

This example adheres to the previously stated foundational principle of systems, "Change the rules and the system will change itself."

### References:

theWay of Systems * Feedback * Musings