Four Pillars: Never Say I Know

For those who practice the Theory of Constraints (TOC), there are Four Pillars which represent a set of mindsets. Each pillar is representative of an attitude which helps individuals overcome challenges and reach breakthroughs. This blog post presents one of the four: ‘Never Say I Know’. 

Best in class

Operational Excellence.

Industry Leading. 

How often do you hear these phrases? If you really consider their meaning and take them to their natural conclusions, it means that you have found the best way to do something. Brilliant! But, take care – when you reach the ‘best in class’, you can easily fall into a state of inertia. On the surface, this makes sense. Why would you change an ‘industry leading’ process? Do you not want inertia when you’re at the top of the game? 

This pillar of TOC recognises that inertia blocks innovation. The tagline ‘never say I know’ is a recognition that every situation can be improved. If you are currently the best in class, you need to be aware that others are aspiring to meet your standard and surpass it. You need to be constantly innovating, constantly improving your methods/offers. Stand still, and your competition will soon catch up! Regardless of how quickly your competition is closing the gap, inertia stifles creativity and can stop even the best employees from testing the limits and achieving new levels of performance. Psychologically, we start treating current methods as fixed rather than malleable and we no longer challenge them. As a result, we stand still and our competitors inevitably catch up, or even overtake, which would mean a loss of custom and therefore profits. You then have a big problem and are under pressure to innovate again. The solution? To constantly drive innovation in areas that will separate you from the competition. 

Never say you’ve made it; never say I know. 

By Phil Snelgrove, Lauren Wiles