The Role of Personal Constraints in Determining a Company's Success

The Role of Personal Constraints in Determining a Company's Success

Concentrate on one’s weaknesses, not one’s strengths, Flip Flippen of the Flippen Group outlined to attendees Monday at the People in Energy Conference in Houston.

Rather than use the term “weaknesses,” Flippen prefers the term “personal constraints.” These are the areas that hold people back – in business as well as in life in general. The personal constraints of a company’s management are particularly important, and if unaddressed, the company inevitably suffers for it, Flippen said.

There are five laws of personal constraints, according to Flippen. The first is that we all have personal constraints. It is up to a company’s leaders to make the personal constraints of employees known. However, certain groups do not generally get the kind of feedback they need. Women and minorities are often not given the kind of feedback that is necessary for career development because male managers are often worried about upsetting women employees, and because they do not wish to appear racist, Flippen said.

However, few company leaders get the kind of feedback they need, too. Those under them are reluctant to provide constructive criticism to management, and even other managers avoid being too critical. Yet it is a company’s top leaders who most often determine the success or failure of the company.

The second law that Flippen discussed states that one cannot rise above constraints that they do not acknowledge or will not address. The result is that the individuals with personal constraints – and everyone has them – will have every aspect of their lives affected by them – the third law.

The fourth law is that one’s personal constraints tend to be role-specific, Flippen said. So, one’s performance in a particular area might not be affected by one’s constraints. However, when one rises in responsibility, the constraints might then manifest themselves. 

Finally, the fifth law of constraints is that those with the least win, and the companies headed by management possessing few constraints tend to do better over time than companies where those in management possess more personal constraints.


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