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C&S lesson plan

3. C&S lesson plan

C&S: Consequence and Sequel

This lesson plan is for the C&S lesson workcard


C&S is a crystallization of the process of looking ahead to see the consequences of some action, plan, decision, rule, invention etc.

For some people, thinking ahead may always be part of doing a CAF, but it is worth emphasizing this process more directly since consequences do not exist until you make an effort to foresee them, whereas factors are always present at the moment. CAF is primarily concerned with factors that are operating at the moment and on which a decision is based, whereas C&S deals with what may happen after the decision has been made. Timescales are relative to the situation, so here is a relative framework:

  • immediate reaction

  • short term: more people are responding to the change (a few minutes, hours, days?) 

  • medium term: the change is now stable or accepted (a few weeks, months?)

  • long-term: the change has existed for so long it is not considered a change anymore (a few months, years, decades?)

C&S is concerned with action of some sort, either the action that one intends to take oneself or the action that others are taking. The intention is to enlarge the view beyond the immediate effect of that action. An action may seem worthwhile if the immediate effect is good. But if one makes a deliberate effort to look at longer term consequences, the action may not be worthwhile at all. Conversely, an action that has good long-term consequences may not seem very enticing at the moment.

If CAF is thinking about a situation at the moment, then C&S is thinking ahead. Obviously, consequences also can turn up as part of a PMI, but the important point about a deliberate C&S is that attention is focused directly on the future.

PRACTICE ITEM 1.  A new electronic robot is invented to replace all human labor in factories. The invention is announced. Do a C&S on this.

Each group is asked to do a different time scale C&S. One group does immediate consequences, another short-term, another medium-term and another long-term consequences. Where there are more than four groups the process is repeated. Time allowed is 3 minutes. One group for each time scale is designated to give its output and the others can add further points as usual.


  • Immediate consequences include massive unemployment and misery, opposition to the idea, strikes, etc.

  • Short-term consequences include shift into service industries, re-training and changes in the method of distributing income.

  • Medium-term consequences might include the idea of two people for every job (taking turns), hobbies, crafts and boredom.

  • Long-term consequences might include people only working for two months a year - rather like a reverse vacation.

PRACTICE ITEM 2.  A new law is suggested to allow school children to leave school and start earning a living as soon as they want to after the age of 12. Do a C&S on this from the point of view of someone who leaves early, from the point of view of the schools, and from the point of view of society in general.

Each group chooses which point of view it is going to explore with a C&S: the point of view of someone who leaves school early, the schools themselves or society in general. At the end of 3 minutes an output is invited from each of the points of view by means of designated groups. If one point of view has not been chosen it can be briefly discussed.


  • The children who do not like school will leave early and may soon make a lot of money.

  • If they are successful they will not regret it but if unsuccessful they might.

  • There might be pressure from parents to make children leave school early.

  • The schools might benefit since those remaining would really want to be in school rather than being there because they are forced to.

  • Society would probably suffer because there would be wide differences in education among its members.

  • Those who left early might not find it easy to move to a different job if the one they were doing became obsolete.

PRACTICE ITEM 3. A new device makes it possible to tell whenever someone is telling a lie. Do an immediate C&S on this.

Only 1 minute is allowed for the groups to consider this practice item.

At the end of that time the teacher moves from group to group getting one suggestion at a time until no new ideas are forthcoming. 


  • Courts and legal procedures would be greatly simplified.

  • Police could round up a lot of suspects and question each one.

  • People would quickly learn to tell half-truths.

  • Perhaps it would not make much difference because the machine would only be used if you suspected the person was lying.

  • On the whole, people would be better behaved.

Discussion points

Open discussion with the class as a whole, acting as individuals rather than groups.

  • Do long-term consequences matter?

  • If it is not easy to see the consequences should you bother with them?

  • When is it most useful to look at the consequences?

  • Whose business is it to look at consequences?

Learning points

The groups look at the list of learning points given in the student workcards. They are asked to pick out the principle they think is most important. The groups can also be asked to criticize any one of the principles or to make up a principle of their own.

These de Bono Thinking Lessons are free to use by parents, guardians and teachers. (This means on this website, or to print and use in home or in the classroom. Not for further distribution or commercial use). 

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