Constraints can unwittingly open doors

“Constraints can unwittingly open so many doors.”

—Lindsay Hunter, Chicago-based Fiction Writer

Image of the sky through shattered glass

Image from Tzedek-Tzedek

The Theory of constraints is an important management system that helps businesses achieve their goals. The concept has proven to be beneficial in areas such as manufacturing, where it has improved service, on-time delivery, and reduced the need for excessive inventory.

Identifying constraints, or what some call bottlenecks or the weakest link in a chain, can help all of us become more efficient and effective simply by removing them or by finding a way around them.

Where, however, could constraints on either your personal or professional worlds actually serve you to explore and discover new opportunities?

EXERCISE:

Try a few thought experiments to examine the potential benefits of the following list of constraints:

  • Time: having a finite lifespan
  • Your memory
  • Money
  • Your health and fitness
  • The natural resources of the earth
  • Your belief system
  • Experience and knowledge
  • Space: your physical environment

Feel free to reply to this post with any insights you have, and opportunities you discover.

You know you’re getting old when

“You know you’re getting old when you stoop to tie your shoelaces and wonder what else you can do while you’re down there.”

—George Burns, 20th Century comedian and actor

Image from New York Daily News

George Burns the actor, writer, singer, and perhaps most notably, comedian, was a bit of an expert on aging. He lived to be 100. His career spanned over 75 year in vaudeville, radio, and even film, where at the age of 79, he won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in the 1975 film, The Sunshine Boys.

Along with his comedic wit, George must have been an efficiency expert, looking to squeeze all the value out of his efforts, even along the short journey down to tie his shoes.

EXERCISE:

Where would a “work smarter, not harder” approach to your daily efforts make the biggest difference in the days, weeks, months, and years to come?

In The Long Run a Shortcut Never Is

“In the long run, a short cut seldom is.”

—Malcolm Forbes, Founder of Forbes Magazine

Image of a "shortcut" sign

Image from wordher

In the never-ending battle between efficiency and effectiveness, the shorter “Road to Hell” may be paved with good intentions, but often results in unexpected problems.

I’m not referring to organizational initiatives such as Six Sigma or Lean, but to more common, daily occurrences, such as handling e-mail.

How often do you overlook or delete emails with the intent of greater speed, efficiency, and overall productivity, then have them come back to haunt you?

How often have you sent an important message to a client, colleague, or your boss, with one or more significant spelling or grammatical errors, and wish you could have a “do-over”?

EXERCISE:

Where and on what issues is it the wise call to slow down and not take a short cut, to assure the result you desire?