Every new strategy should be tested against the law of limiting constraints. Limiting constraints are the things that will prevent your idea or strategy from being as successful as you desire it to be. They are issues that become constraints to what you wish would happen but the constraint becomes a barrier. If, however, you can identify those probable constraints ahead of time and make necessary modifications to mitigate them, your strategy is likely to be more successful than it would have been.

I once led an international mission agency that was seeing too many unqualified personnel being sent to the field in spite of having a well honed system for vetting prospective missionaries. As we looked at the systems we discovered two limiting constraints that were preventing us from achieving better outcomes.

The first of these constraints was philosophical and the second was in the testing and interviewing we did. It is well known that mission agencies have a history of overlooking issues that candidates have since one of their main indicators of success is their total number of missionaries. Unless this metric could be changed from the numbers of missionaries to the emotional, spiritual, EQ, relational and skill health of prospective staff we would continue to get the results that were less than satisfactory. This required us to change our definitions of success for the recruiting department. The wrong metric was a limiting constraint.

The other limiting constraint was that we used ineffective testing materials and had the wrong people interviewing prospective staff. Bad information in, bad information out. We ended up shutting down our intake process for six months so we could build it from the ground up. Had we not dealt with these two limiting constraints we would not have solved our problems.

In both designing new strategies and evaluating current ones, take the time to ask what the potential or current constraints are that keep you from being more successful than you are. Then do the hard work of figuring out how you can remove those constraints from your system. Constraints are barriers to success. The more you can identify and remove those barriers the better off you will be.

  • Jul 05, 2020
  • Category: News
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