TTOTSB: The Theory of the Silver Bullet

It’s a Faulty Theory: TTOTSB

I noticed a request from someone in one of my SM networks the other day asking for “the single thing that made someone successful.”

Single Thing = Single Bullet = Silver Bullet.

Where the Single/Silver Bullet single-handedly – resolves your issue – problem or opportunity.


IMO this perpetuates TTOTSB kind of thinking. And it certainly ignores a more Systems Thinking mindset. And therefore it is a red herring.

red her·ring
ˈˌred ˈheriNG/Submit
1. a dried smoked herring, which is turned red by the smoke.
2. something, especially a clue, that is or is intended to be misleading or distracting.

It actually takes more than a Single Bullet, Silver or otherwise. IMO.

And … it’s always situational.


First – What is Performance?

The ability to produce outputs to expectations.


Who Says So?

Not only “The Customer.”


Document It

Here is my preferred template for documentation.


Then Determine The Gaps in Process and the Enablers


Framework for Looking at a Function/ Department/ Team

EPPA - Building Block View - Department

Framework for Looking at an Organization

And then use the graphic above.

Org Chart in L-C-S Mode

The EPPI Big Picture of Process Performance

Side 1 of 2.


The Devil Is In The Details

Side 2 of 2.


Improvement Practices 

Have more than one Tool, such as a Hammer in your toolkit.

Not all problems are nails.

4Ws or MOPP List of HPT Things 2011 11

And … As Always…

Adopt what you can and Adapt the rest.


It’s simply more complicated than a Single Silver Bullet. IMO.

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