The Theory of Constraints in Person

An interesting post on LinkedIn earlier this week talked about the need to think about productivity in terms other than efficiency. Now until recently, I’ve thought about it as a balance between efficiency (doing things right) and effectiveness (doing the right things). But, a conversation of a few weeks back with a colleague caused a rethink.

David Hodes of the Ensemble Consulting Group puts the Theory of Constraints (created by the late Eli Goldratt) into practice in major industrial and commercial applications. He focuses on the small constraints in large systems that produce substantial inefficiencies. By dealing with constraints one at a time, he brings operations to a more orderly state. Read David’s book, More Than Just Work, for some insight into a remarkable and refreshing view of organisational optimisation.

In my world, I apply this idea to personal and professional productivity. What holds us back are constraints in our working and social lives.

In our wider social world, we need to look at limitations in our physical and psychological profile, and especially in our relationships. These all relate to our self-efficacy: a significant factor in how effective and efficient we are in life.

In the world of work, professionally, we need to understand our positioning (our ‘known for’) and our competences, coupled to the returns (financial and other) that we generate.

When we identify personal and professional constraints, it becomes easier to improve performance, and further to better integrate work with life.