What’s Holding You Back, Part II

Posted on by in Attitude, Business, Change, Creativity/Innovation, Finances/Money Management, Goals, Growth, Leadership, Learning, Managing Talent, Planning, Strategy, Time Management

If you didn’t read part one, scroll below (if you’re on the blog right now) or click on the following link>> (if you’re reading this by RSS).

Note: If you didn’t answer the question from the last post, “What are the major constraints that are hindering me (and my business/organization) from achieving my (our) potential?”, then make sure you do so before proceeding any further.

Okay, so you’ve now identified your major constraints (and as I said last time, they could be external or internal, mental or physical, systemic of situational). They could be a person or a process, a self-limiting belief or a financial limitation (for example).

The next thing you want to do is order them. You want to take each constraint and ask the question, “Where does this constraint come in the priority list of which constraint needs to be solved first?” In other words, you want to play each constraint off the others as you seek to find the major constraint that needs to be solved first.

I liken this to a playoff system (brackets) you see in sports. For simplicity’s sake we’ll call constraints “C”. So you play C1 vs. C2. Let’s say C2 needs to be solved before C1. Then you play off C3 vs. C4. Let’s say C3 needs to be solved before C4. Then you playoff C2 vs. C3 and let’s say C3 needs to be solved before C2 (which means it has to come before C1). You now know what has to happen first. In other words, once you work through this process, you’ll quickly know what the major constraint is for you (or you and your business) this year.

Using the four constraints listed above, it would be understandable to think that you need to solve the financial problem first. But that might not be true. It may be because you don’t have a systematic and methodical process in place to acquire new capital. However, it may be that the reason you don’t have a systematic and methodical process in place is because Sally is in charge of that area and she’s not very competent. She’s been at your company for ten years, she’s loved by every one, but she’s incompetent. You know you ought to let her go, but you haven’t pulled the trigger yet. Why?

Ah, it’s that self-limiting thought that keeps you from changing her out. It may be a belief that letting Sally go will demoralize your team. Or the belief that, “If I just give her some more time and training, she’ll succeed” (which could be true, but hasn’t been for the past five years). Or it could be the belief that, “She’s a single mom and she needs our help.” Or it could be the belief that, “Maybe in a year another position in our company will open up and I can move her over there.” Etc. We all have them. And those self-limiting beliefs do get in the way of making good business decisions.

The beauty of working through this process is that once you play this game, you’ll often find out that what you thought was the major constraint (in this case, “We don’t have enough access to capital”) may, in fact, not be the most important constraint to solve first.

So, before I give you the next step, why don’t we stop here for today. Take out your list of constraints and order them. Play them off against one another and see if you can reduce your constraints down to a handful of the most important constraints to solve first. And most importantly, make sure you identify what the first constraint is that you need to solve before any others!

To your accelerated success!

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