marking a box as an “opposite” within a tower

Sometimes you have a summary that stands all by itself–there are no other voices like it, yet there are several voices saying the exact opposite. In this case, go ahead and group the solo voice with the others and label it “opposite.” It represents a summary that is the opposite of the intent of the tower.

In my work mentoring teams through analysis, I have found a few reactions (emotions) that are mistakenly labeled “opposite.” Just because someone says, “Feel confused that I can’t do self-check-in …” doesn’t mean it’s an opposite of other boxes in an existing “Check-in” tower. It is the same intent. She is trying to check in. She has an emotional reaction to it, which is feeling confused. The emotional reaction is not an opposite in this case, so I tell students to remove the “opposite” label.

An example of a true opposite is this:

  • Get a Good Seat for the Flight (mental space)
    • Pay Extra for a Better Seat (tower)
      • Purchase extra legroom seat because I am tall
      • Pay for extra legroom when it’s a long flight
      • Treat myself to a seat upgrade
      • Feel thrilled to get a business class upgrade
      • Feel harassed by having to pay for upgrade when I should be able to use my points
      • (opposite) Decide I can’t justify paying for a better seat

Here’s a little trick you can employ as a test of each summary you want to mark “opposite,” where X is the summary and Y is the tower:

X because I don’t Y
X therefore I don’t need to Y

If either sentence is true, then X is, indeed, an “opposite.” Here are some examples of using this test, where the first quote is summary X and the second quote is the tower label Y. In all these examples, X is an opposite of Y:

“Feel thankful the arm rest is so wide in first class that my space won’t be encroached upon by a large person” therefore I don’t need to “Cope with Extra Large Person Sitting Next to Me.”

“Feel surprised that there was no weather related turbulence even though it was storming” therefore I don’t need to “Experience Fear in Flight.”

“Wear earplugs in the airport to avoid listening to other people’s stupid conversations or being hit on by men” because I don’t “Chat with People Near Me.”

“Ignore the crying kids and babies because there is nothing I can do and the parents are more miserable than I am” because I don’t “Feel Irritated With Other Passenger Behaviors.”

“Feel disappointed that I didn’t get the TSA pre-check for my flight because I had grown accustomed to getting it even though it’s kind of random” therefore I don’t need to “Get In the Line for the Elites.”

Here’s an instance where the test doesn’t ring true, so this is NOT an opposite:

“Feel disappointed with the in-flight entertainment system and choices” because I don’t “Entertain Myself with Reading, Movies, Music.”

In this case, the person was intending to entertain herself. She just failed in this particular case. So it’s not an “opposite.”

Anything can be an opposite: a behavior, an emotional reaction, or a guiding principle. The opposite must be opposite of the intent of the tower, and there’s no other tower for it. Usually there’s only one opposite in a tower, and usually there are very few towers with opposites.