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I am pleased to forward this good article from Brian Tracy a world reputed speaker and trainer.

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Eliminate the Bottlenecks

By Brian Tracy

In physical terms, a single blockade of a key artery can lead to a heart attack and the death of an otherwise healthy individual.

Some years ago, James Fixx, a leading authority on jogging for physical fitness, one of the top runners in America, and in Olympic condition, dropped dead of a heart attack while running at the age of fifty-two because a single piece of plaque that came loose and lodged in his heart. James Fixx was an incredibly healthy man until one blockage was sufficient to end his life.

This same principle applies to business, careers, and one's personal life as well. One fatal flaw can cost you a lot, if not everything.

Identify Your Limiting Factor

In your business, for example, there are almost always critical constraints of "limiting factors" that determine how fast you achieve your goals. Not only can a constraint slow you down and keep you from achieving the sales and profitability you desire, but a serious constraint can bring your business to its knees. Identify what is holding you back and remove it.

Follow the Formula

You apply the process of constraint analysis to your business by following certain steps. First, you decide on your specific business goals. Make them clear, measurable, and time-bounded. Second, ask yourself, "Why am I not at that goal already?" What is holding you back? What is the constraint, choke point, or bottleneck that determines how fast you achieve the specific goals or sales, cash flow or profitability in your business?

Bottlenecks Exist Everywhere

In every complex activity, from the production of a huge factory to the job of getting from home to work in the morning, there is a limiting factor or constraint of some kind that affects the speed at which you achieve your goal. This bottleneck or choke point determines how fast you get the results you desire, and it often determines the success or failure of the entire process.

Incompetence as a Constraint

The constraint in some situations might be the presence of an incompetent person that no one has the courage to confront or remove. It is amazing how many businesses get into serious trouble, or even go broke, because of the unwillingness to deal effectively with an incompetent person.

Take Charge of Your Situation

Only 20 percent of your problems and constraints are outside of your business and your direct control. Only 20 percent of your problems are caused by the marketplace, your competitors, or other external factors.

This is not to say that important external factors may be limiting your growth and profitability, but the place to start looking for your problems is within your organization, before you begin to look outside.

Action Exercise

Assess each person in each key position. Are they competent and capable of doing what needs to be done for your business to be successful?
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