The Goal

imagesYears ago, someone gave me the book, “The Goal”, by Eliyahu M. Goldratt & Jeff Cox.

I remember picking it up years ago, and thinking that it was a book about “Goal Setting”, only to be disappointed at first that it was a book that basically told the story of a crisis in manufacturing, and it worked through the process that Alex, the plant manager is facing, as he also faces a crisis in his marriage. I read the book, enjoyed it, and pulled some things out of it that have challenged me in my  leadership over the years.

I pulled the book out again a couple of weeks ago as I began thinking about some posts on Goal Setting and some Tip Sheets to help people create and set real goals.

In this book, one of the things they work through is the idea of the “Theory of Constraints”. The Theory of Constraints basically tells us that everything is vulnerable in leadership because there is always a “weak link” or a “bottleneck” in any process that keeps us from accomplishing what it is we set out to do.

The book works through this process and explains how this works.

Now, I want to come to the point of this post.

We’re talking about GOALS this month, and those of you that know me know that I speak often of the importance of  GOOD GOALS, of SMART GOALS, of ANY KIND OF GOALS. I simply believe that if we are able to create, manage and tackle goals, it will help us grow our organizations, it will help us grow as individual leaders, and it will increase our effectiveness and our impact.

I believe this. I’ve seen it work. I’ve experienced this, both in times of effective goal setting and in times of a complete lack of clear and practical goals.  I know that we’re better leaders when we have something to work towards.

For some of us, the reason we don’t accomplish our goals comes back to this “Theory of Constraint”. We have great intentions, we have great ideas, we even have great goals, but something keeps us from accomplishing them, and we’re just tired of failing at our goals, so we stop creating them.

Here are 5 things that might be keeping you from experiencing the effect of great goals in your life and work:


Our goals aren’t good ones. The idea of SMART GOALS basically tells us that goals have to be: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely.  More on SMART GOALS…


We have great intentions, but we let other things get in the way. We fight the “Tyranny of the Urgent”. We let good things crowd our lives and it keeps us from accomplishing GREAT things.


We live in a world that is full of noise, opportunity, need and crisis. We haven’t learned how to focus on the most important things. This sounds like priorities, but it’s deeper than that… it’s the ability to stick with something when there are so many other things fighting for our attention.


Sometimes we’re afraid to make decisions because they might be wrong. We are paralyzed by fear that keeps us from doing anything. We would rather be “stuck” than make a wrong decision.


We don’t accomplish our goals because we don’t ask for help when we need it. We think that good goals are ones that we can do on our own. We forget that we need other people sometimes. We forget that sometimes we CAN’T do it ourselves.

Are any of these things creating a bottleneck between you and the goals you have created and are hoping to accomplish? Figure out what’s keeping you from your goals, and fix it! Don’t allow one or all of these things keep you from greater success, greater accomplishment and greater impact.

Don’t give up on your GOALS!

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