You have probably heard the expression, I think it is in all languages: “Fight fire with fire.”

I suggest that it makes sense only as a preventive measure.

Just imagine you have fire in your home. Would you start another one?

Does not make sense.

It makes sense as a preventative measure, to burn the field ahead of the advancing fire, so there is nothing to burn anymore.

That brings me to the insight that diagnosis does not automatically give you the desired prescription; It does not tell you what the treatment should be.

Here is another folk expression: “The fish stinks from the head but you clean it from the tail.”

You see: The diagnosis is one thing. The treatment is something else.

It is my observation that we make this mistake often of assuming that the diagnosis tells us what the treatment should be.

Assume you have a headache. The diagnosis is: headache. The treatment is to take a pill to treat the headache.

But it does not treat the headache. Does it? It only removes the pain. The cause of the pain continues.

Another example: You are overweight. The proposed solution is to go on a diet.

Anyone that tried going on a diet can tell you that it does not work.  Not in the long run.

My insight is that the treatment should be somewhere else rather than where the manifestation of the problem is.

Now, let me use PAEI.

If the diagnosis is that there is a breakdown in integration, the treatment is not by providing integration. In other words you can not treat an (I) problem with (I). You have to treat it with either (A) or (E) or (P).

In Adizes programs for healing organizations a problem of disintegration is treated with more (A), not more (I).

An Organizational Developer, OD specialist, on the other hand, usually will treat an (I) problem with more (I), with discussions, with training, with “hot seats”, etc.

In Adizes we establish rules of conduct—(A)—which produce (I): Behave as if you have Mutual trust and Respect, be on time, listen till given permission to talk, follow the road map on how to deal with conflict etc. Lots of (A) and guess what? (I) increases.

You can treat an (I) deficiency with (P): “Stop telling me how much you love me. Start bringing flowers.” is one of the expressions I use in my lectures.

You can treat an (I) deficiency with more (E). An example is the kibbutz movement, (I have been asked to consult to them.) In diagnosing the problem I see that (I) has declined over time and people are leaving the kibbutz movement in hordes.

The solution is not to have any (I) talk and try to convince people to stay. The solution I believe is that the kibbutz movement needs a new mission for its existence, a new ideology. The old reason to be is simply not valid anymore. The treatment should be a new (E).

Let me try to summarize the point:

All problems are caused by disintegration; by a deficient (I).

How did it happen? How did the system get disintegrated?

It was caused by a break down in (P), (A) and/or (E).

Thus, to treat the cause, not the manifestation, one has to treat the (PAE) roles. The treatment is in the cause, not in the manifestation.

This illumination explains why in Adizes we do not treat column 1 directly and why column 1 and 6 in diagnosis are close to each other.

It explains why we treat column 6 and eventually column 1, by treating column 4/5, which are the various (P)s, and column  3, which is the (E), and column 2 which is the (A).

I am sorry if I lost those who do not know PAEI, but my managerial insights are directed to those who do know.

If you want to know, please read my book: “The Ideal Executive- Why you can not be one and what to do about it” (Published in multiple languages.  Click here to buy it in the Adizes Online Store.)


Dr. Ichak Kalderon Adizes