The herd is as fast as its slowest member. And you need to think of your company as a herd. Each department being a member of the herd. So, you could say that your company can only grow as fast as the slowest developing department.
But that is not all. This metaphor can be applied on a sliding scale of granularity. FIrst the business can be considered the herd, with the departments as members. Then an individual department can be a herd, each employee in it being a member. Then each sub department… you get the point.
Now let’s get to the bottlenecks all business leaders need to fix constantly in their companies. It’s not like it is just one bottleneck, or a list of bottlenecks that are known and once cleared it will all go smoothe. No way. It is an ever increasing revolving door of bottlenecks. As soon as you fix one another one is generated.
Why is that?
For the simple fact that releasing a bottleneck puts pressure in other parts of your company, creating a bottleneck there. With each bottleneck solved you generate at least another bottleneck, if not more.
For example, let’s say your sales department is lagging behind, you have too much stock on hands and the accounting department is mostly sleeping during the day due to the lack of activity.
Now, imagine you fix the sales department bottleneck. Not just fix it, but really get the sales department going and selling like there is no tomorrow. What would happen?
I’ll tell you what will happen.
The more sales are generated by the sales department the more you will struggle with bottlenecks due to your production and accounting. The production will strive to keep up with sales but it will be lagging. New measures will need to be implemented so as to be able to produce more in the same eight hours. So you’ll switch to working on that new bottleneck.
Plus your accounting will be super busy counting all the new money, generating all the paperwork due to the increased sales.
Unfortunately as soon as you scale your production and fix that bottleneck, your sales will become again a bottleneck that needs to be fixed so as to allow the business grow. And so on and so forth in an ever increasing circle of complexity. For as your move to the next bottleneck the type of problems you need to handle is of an ever increasing complexity.