Friday, February 27, 2015

'Tell a Fairy Tale Day'

This week, yesterday in fact, was 'Tell a Fairy Tale Day'
So a perfect time to share this Albert Einstein quote....


'If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. 

 If you want them to be very intelligent, read them more fairy tales'

If you would also like your children to develop critical and philosophical thinking skills and if you would like them to understand the true nature and potential of win-win thinking, my book, Storytelling For Better Behaviour could be just what you are looking for. 

One of the intrinsic benefits of fairy tales is their ability to connect with the sub conscious through metaphor. So who would disagree with Einstein's assertion that fairy stories can impact our thinking?   

Storytelling For Better Behaviour, provides a practical tool kit for children and adults to engage with stories in a unique way. Combining the inherent abilities of stories to impact personal development with one of the worlds most respected and significant business tools, TOC, users can develop a deep sense of cause and effect and thus learn how to make better choices and how to plan effectively to achieve loftier goals.

Enjoy reading how the Big Bad Wolf became a vegetarian Chef, and how Skuba used logic to defeat the dragon and save Krakow.  In doing so, you will open up possibilities for your self; how you think, how you analyse, how you respond and ultimately, what you can achieve.

Storytelling for Better Behaviour can be used by children, students and adults and can be ordered through me (at, through Amazon or through the publisher - Speechmark.

When you buy a copy Storytelling for Better Behaviour  directly through me, you can access three live virtual tutorials.  Schools can access a one hour staff training or student workshop - free
This offer runs until April 21 2105 (tutorials are valid for up to 6 months after purchase) 

For more details please contact
Happy Reading!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

On first being introduced to TOC, some ten years ago, I was overwhelmed with excitement and awe for the effectiveness of these graphic organisers to support personal development.  When my daughter (then studying for her GCSE's) declared they had revolutionised her ability to take notes in class and provided her with a method to create 1st class revision notes, I was hooked. 

Over the last ten years I have been fortunate enough to travel widely and meet with many people who use TOC; accountants, business consultants, counsellors, students and their teachers. What I have found to be true is that regardless of the area of expertise or interest, TOC thinking tools can support their endeavours.

How can this be?

How can one set of tools be successfully applied in so many areas?

Perhaps it is in the intension of the origin design - to be applicable in (all) human based systems.

If we think about fractals, self repeating patterns in nature, we can understand that whether the system is a multi national company, a small start up, a national educational system, a school or an individual teacher or student, similar basic constraints are likely to be experienced.  Not surprisingly then, a similar method for removing those constraints is likely to work in all situations.

What about conflicts?  how can we attempt to resolve conflict with the same method regardless of the conflict?   For much the same reason.  Regardless of out heritage we share some commonalities and because the things we have in common are so basic and so universal, regardless of the conflict, the methodology of TOC (described in my book, Storytelling for Better Behaviour) provides a structure to not only resolve the conflict but find a win-win solution.

Fractals can be abstract as well as concrete.  Negative fractals can exist within an individual's pattern of behaviour. Self repeating pattern transferred over many generations.   I  have seen with many clients that TOC has the potential to change that negative fractal pattern as its is explored and analysed via the 'cloud' tool, The win-win resolution that comes from its analysis (and which until now has seemed so elusive) allows the destructive repetitive behaviour of our past to simply evaporate. The cycle is broken.

Join the TOC for Education community for their 2014 virtual conference to hear more about how TOC is being used across the world;

October 22-23 2014

9 AM-2PM EDT (Eastern Daylight Time)
14:00-19:00 Greenwich Mean time

Registration is FREE

Registration is open at

© Debi Roberts 2014. All Rights Reserved.
If you want to use this article in your ezine or on your website I’d be happy for you to do so as long as you use the complete article, including the copyright line, and include the following paragraph in its entirety:
Debi Roberts is an author, life coach, mentor, UK Director for TOC for Education and the founder of Goldratt Social Applications.  Debi teaches conscious development and thinking skills to children and adults and is the author of  Storytelling for Better Behaviour ISBN - 978 1 90651 748 9 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

I am delighted to announce details of the
2014 TOC for Education

Virtual Conference

October 22-23 2014

9 AM-2PM EDT (Eastern Daylight Time)
14:00-19:00 Greenwich Mean time

Registration is FREE


Once registered, you may attend as many sessions as you like - there is no charge!  
We are running two simultaneous tracks.  However, we know that in doing so and with such a wide range of subjects it may be hard to chose which one to listen in to, so as long as you pre-register, you can have access to all the power points (with audio) which means you can listen to all the talks (as many times as you like) and at a time that is convenient to you !
Keynote Address:   Rami Goldratt

Presentations led by worldwide TOCfE specialists include introductory tutorials/demonstrations of TOC tools along with TOCfE applications for:

  • Mathematics
  • Information and Curriculum Analysis
  • Augmenting Learning Theories
  • Holistic Management of School Systems
  • Bullying
  • Teens under stress
  • Asperser’s Syndrome
  • Dyslexia
  • Teaching Logic to Children Who have Not Yet Learned to Read and Write
  • Children Who Have Severe Physical and Cognitive Disabilities
  • Children Who Have Been Abused
  • Sports
  • Leadership Development for Children and Adults
  • Parents
  • Counselling and Social Services
  • Home Educators

This is an amazing opportunity to hear from TOC experts from around the world - and all from the comfort of your home!

And don't forget this is absolutely free.

I will be presenting a workshop (6pm 22/10/14) that looks at student stress and one way TOC has been used to support students manage stress better.

Please help us spread the word and share this information with friends and colleagues. 

Hope you will be able to join us,

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Sixty-seven years ago a giant was born.

"I smile and start to count on my fingers: One, people are good. Two, every conflict can be removed. Three, every situation, no matter how complex it initially looks, is exceedingly simple. Four, every situation can be substantially improved; even the sky is not the limit. Five, every person can reach a full life. Six, there is always a win-win solution. Shall I continue to count?"

Dr. Eliyahu M. Goldratt
1947- 2011

On June 11, 2011 Dr. Eli Goldratt passed away at his home in Israel. Dr. Eli Goldratt is remembered as an educator, author, scientist, philosopher, and business leader. But he will, first and foremost, always be remembered as a thinker who provoked others to think.
Eli spent his entire adult life fighting to show that it is possible to make this world a better place. We must have the honesty to see reality as it is, we must have the courage to challenge assumptions, and above all, we must use the gift of thinking. Having applied these principles to various management fields, he created the Theory of Constraints (TOC). His concepts and teachings have expanded beyond management and are being used in healthcare, education, police work, counseling, government, agriculture and personal growth - and the list of the fields using TOC goes on and on. Dr. Goldratt's legacy is invaluable.
In memoriam and celebration of his life, tomorrow on June 11th Goldratt Marketing will provide open access to ALL of Dr. Goldratt's video presentations available at
To view Eli's videos, you will be required to login or to register. There is no charge to do so.
Please enjoy these energizing, brilliant and powerful presentations from the founder of the Theory of shared with you by Goldratt Marketing

Friday, April 11, 2014






© Debi Roberts 2012. All Rights Reserved.

Debi Roberts is an author, life coach, mentor, UK Director for TOC for Education and the founder of Goldratt Social Applications.  Debi teaches conscious development and thinking skills to children and adults and is the author of  Storytelling for Better Behaviour ISBN - 978 1 90651 748 9 

Friday, January 24, 2014

TOC Impacts Sports

Do you or your team want to improve your play or position in the league?


Are you a coach interested in techniques that can help players and teams reach their goals?

You might want to read this then.

Last April I was inspired by a colleague from Japan who had been invited to attend the TOCfE 2014 Conference to share, amongst other things, his application of TOC to a local tennis squad.  He gave a very clear description of a youth team struggling to maintain any respect in their league and how he had worked with them and their coach to achieve a top ranking.

He applied the same tools with his young son who was desperate to master skipping but who, like most young children learning to jump rope, rather than effortlessly gliding up and over the rope, repeatedly wound up in a knot of limbs on the floor.

In both cases, the wanting sports boys and girls used TOC to consider what it was they wanted to achieve and what was getting in their way.  It seems obvious, right?  But few of us take the time to do it!

These young people did take the time and considered what obstacles prevented them from performing better and created plans to turn those obstacles around so they became part of a detailed step by step plan to reach the goal.   They considered all the things, including themselves, that needed to change, and then thought of ways to create that change. By putting those changes into a sequential order, they created a plan which when followed, allowed them to reach their goal. 

We know from sports psychology that elite sportspeople train the mind just as hard as the body.  That can seem a little much when we are talking about children, who want to improve, reach their potential, but have not yet come to the point where they are dedicating their lives to their sport.

I have been around young people and parents long enough to be acutely aware (and in awe of ) the dedication put in at the grassroots level by teachers, parents and willing volunteers. They donate their time for the love of the game and their children.

I have seen such wonderful hard work and dedication come a cropper because of the struggle to overcome physical and mental blocks.  Its particularly hard when the team or individual does not recognise the problem, because of course, when they don't see the what's getting in their way they cant really be part of the solution. And if they are not part of the solution.....they are probably part of the problem.

The TOC tool the ATT, is a very good fix for this.  Its easy to learn, easy to facilitate and highly effective, in part because it adopts a non-confrontational process that puts complete ownership in the hands of the user.  No wonder we are beginning to see incredible results with kids who just weren't getting it before!

When you state your objective - your goal, and when you take a long hard and honest look at what is stopping you reach that goal, its so much easier to recognise your part.  When you have a coach who can facilitate such reflection it is so much easier to work with your coach to overcome the obstacles, because the player has made the choices and connected the dots,  - not the coach (you).  And as the player has clearly stated what it is they want to achieve, it becomes a bit of a no-brainer for them to think of how they can change to ensure it happens - it so much more effective than being screamed at by your coach, or worse still, just having your coach give up on you!

The process is the same one I am using with 6th formers to manage their stress and reach their higher education goals see post published 8 November 2013to read what students and teachers are saying about this.

Be assured, learning how to use the ATT is easy whether you are the player, the coach or a parent.  You could buy my book which describes in detail how to use an ATT or, if you are interested, I am looking to work with a team or a sports coach and research the impact using TOC has on individual and group performance. 

Please feel free to contact  me at   if you would like to discuss this further.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Daniel Goleman's is most well-known for his books on emotional intelligence. His new book, Focus was released on October 1st   

According to the blurb on Amazon, 'Focus delves into the science of attention in all its varieties, presenting a long overdue discussion of this little-noticed and under-rated mental asset'.      

This statement really caught my attention, not least because TOC also addresses the need for focus and provides us all with a selection of tools and thinking processes that can support users cut out the noise and distractions. Distractions that can make situations seem complex or complicated. TOC allows us to focus our attention so we can identify core conflicts, the thing that one must focus on for improvement and create solutions, that up until this point have been evading us.

It goes on to say that,  'In an era of unstoppable distractions, Goleman persuasively argues that now more than ever we must learn to sharpen focus if we are to survive in a complex world.’

TOC, originally used in business, offers that in any complex system, (humans are complex systems so this includes emotions, thinking and learning) there is likely to be very few (and perhaps only one) core obstacle/s within the system that prevent us  from reaching our goal.
If we can focus our attention so we can identify the core constraint/s in such situations and identify a true win-win solution we can improve not just the specific situation, but often the entire system of which it is a part.  
Imagine a system; you, your school, your students. Now imagine that system as a chain.
If you want to improve the capacity and capability of the whole chain (your whole self, school, student body), should you focus your attention on strengthening the already robust parts or the weakest part of the chain?

TOC business consultants suggest that focusing your attention on any link other than the weakest is likely to be a waste of both your time and effort.
Focus is necessary.  Mmmm, but is it automatically sufficient?
Identifying the weakest link, which is also referred to as the system's constraint, is offered as the only way to strengthen the chain itself. In fact, within business, it is recognised that a common failure of many process management implementations is the lack of focus.
Within business applications it has been seen that applying a solution designed for one area, across an entire organization, forces other departments, teams, processes (or links of the chain), many of which may be robust and working well, to change unnecessarily. Furthermore, in doing so, resources and energy available for improvement are diffused across a wide area instead of focused where they are needed.
         "If in real estate, it's "location, location, location," then in improvement, it's "focus, focus, focus."  
                                                                                                                                                                      Frank Patrick
When we focus our attention in a way that can identify ‘bottlenecks’ and appropriate solutions, we can focus resources and energy where they are most needed to improve that bottleneck and subsequently the entire system.
I have sat through many a TOC Business Consultant's presentation in awe. When a company makes a commitment to change and is prepared to try something different by investing in the entire organisation's thought process the results can be simply staggering.  Its not magic, but when you hear these consultants talk about the transformations that have taken place and the goals that are now being achieved, it sure sounds like it. 

And like so many things that are brilliantly transformed, its seems so obvious when you hear how they caused the change.  Simple too - a commitment to focus everyone's thinking and attention in a way that identifies core constraints and appropriate solutions. 

The ability of companies who use TOC to turn themselves around, significantly raise profits and transform a work place into a leading example of innovation (often with corporate responsibility and clear community shared values) is always delightful to hear about but can these processes really be applied in every situation?
For instance, should we only focus on the weakest link in education?
And if yes, then whose criteria should we use to identify the weakest link?  Should it be the ability or lack of within; our sports teams or music scholars or our ability to raise the lowest scoring students to averages or above, or perhaps our ability to generate the highest test scores over all?  And what about our ability to produce young adults ready to engage as useful, productive and caring citizens?
Such questions surely require that we have clarity of purpose…..what are our goals and for that matter, what is the goal of education?
When politicians decide which criteria education and students should be judged by and those criteria create league tables, what out-put do we end up measuring? Can it sometimes happen that our attention is re-directed and focused towards new goals, such as position in league tables?
When we are focused in such a way, do we risk enforcing unhelpful rules on parts of the chain that were already working well based on the old criteria, in our efforts to achieve our new goal?  And does trying to fix the whole, in order to achieve a goal not everyone is aligned with or needs, risk failing everyone?
Many experts talk about the need for focus and many debunk multitasking, suggesting that although focusing on more than one thing at a time can feel and appear useful, in practice, we tend to slow down everything and in some cases even fail to deliver.  Time and time again I see this proved in a business scenario but how does it apply to educational systems that embrace mixed ability classrooms and all the different numeracy, literacy and behavioural initiatives that exist?
It seems complicated; league tables, mixed ability classrooms, prescriptive Government Educational Departments.  Yet one of TOC's guiding principles suggests that even complex systems will actually only have a few and sometimes just one, core constraint.  
I suspect that most of us want an education system that allows all of our children (not just those that are considered the weakest link in any particular chain) to develop and reach their potential in all the areas that we can influence and that they are interested in.
TOC suggests that if we identify the weakest link in the chain and then dedicate all our efforts and resources to strengthening that link, we will support the rest of the chain optimally.
So why question that this might be different in education?  If my experience shows me that these generic rules have worked in every situation I have applied them to (stress / alcohol / behaviour / group intelligence) can I entertain the notion that they would apply generically to education?  – of course. 
So I have to consider that educational practice and more likely, educational goals are based on generic assumptions and if that is the case, it is very likely that our assumed 'shared' goals have not been checked and are not actually valid for all.
Could it be that this is why some of our students are struggling and why problems in education seem complicated?
I suspect then that our assumptions, unchecked, mean we are not yet focusing our attention on quite the right spot. Furthermore, repeated attempts to fix problems that are consequences of other actions and not core issues, have complicated the picture to the point where people actually think it is a complicated problem.   
Have you noticed that some adults forget that they were once children too? Children that didn’t always make good decisions or get the best results and certainly had a lot to learn.  And yet they did learn.  They were full of inherent potential, soaking up not just the knowledge that was shared with them but the attitudes and experiences they observed and were touched by, for better or worse. All these elements were interpreted in a distinct way to create perspective and attitude and the unique individual that child grew up to be. This will always be the case.  As will the knowledge that what we share in our classrooms can be hued by cultural and or political bias.
So what should we focus on that acknowledges these limitations and still provides an education that will allow students to live well in a world seeing rapid accelerations in knowledge, unstoppable distractions and huge challenges to our environment and economic stability?
We need clarity as well as focus, but perhaps these are two sides of the same coin.
Focus to clarify what our common goals are (because when they are aligned it can often feel effortless to support each other reach them) and ability to focus our attention so we can identify both core constraints and win-win solutions to the obstacles that currently prevent us from reaching our goals.
Some research I carried out with 10 year old students over the course of a year, highlighted using a TOC thinking processes that taught students;
  • how to give critical feedback in a non confrontational way,
  • create clear group and individual goals,
improved group intelligence, reduced stress and demonstrably supported students to concentrate more fully in class. 
When we are working in flow, with our obstacles recognized and circumnavigated through robust planning, as we do when we use a TOC tool called the Ambitious Target Tree (a planning tool), we can achieve so much more and often in less time than ever thought possible. When we use a TOC thinking process know as the CLR’s to communicate, our attention can more easily remain focused on the goal as opposed to focusing our energy on defending ourselves, our ideas or our position.
TOC provides a variety of processes that scaffold our ability to think things through and reach new levels of understanding.  Not least is the safety net woven through all applications – how to CHECK OUR ASSUMPTIONS.
Surely we want students who can build and develop the information they have learnt in their text books and through our instruction as opposed to students who simply reproduce and regurgitate what society already knows?
We want our students to be able to think and engage with the information we are sharing. We want them to truly understand the process involved that dictates why water evaporates and later falls as rain. We want students to have a process for understanding both sides of an argument, who can think critically and find new ways to approach problems.
When we share with children;
·        How to consider and question the logic of what they hear and see
·        The understanding that decisions can be based on erroneous assumptions and how to check for them
·        How to identify core conflicts and find solutions that meet the needs of all involved
·        How to support others to grow and improve their ideas without making people feel small so that we can look big
when we can do all this, it won’t matter if there is political or cultural bias or insufficient detail in text books or supply teachers who don't have a deep understanding for the subject because our students will be able to critically engage with the content in a deeper and more meaningful way.
I would suggest then that the focus for education HAS to be in how we teach our children to think, critique and problem solve because if they can’t do that effectively, we are failing them, ourselves and our collective futures. 
If you would like to know more about TOC or how these simple thinking tools can support the children you have responsibility for reach their goals, please get in touch.

I am offering free seminars and trainings for teachers and parents until the 13 February 2014.