The Theory of Constraints

Where is the broken zipper in your firm?

When we enter the conversation of building an exceptional firm that empowers your ability to create exceptional architecture, we need to break this conversation down into smaller pieces.

In his book The Goal, management consultant Eliyahu Goldratt talks about the Theory of Constraints.

The Theory of Constraints states that the throughput of any system is limited by the weakest link of that system.

I was reminded of this on a recent surfing trip to the beach with my kids.

We brought along a new, flexible fabric cooler to keep our food cool.

Unfortunately, the pull on the zipper broke – rendering this $200 cooler completely useless.

This is a perfect example of how the Theory of Constraints effects a system.

Because the zipper pull was so weak, it had a catastrophic effect on the entire system (the cooler).

What I'd have you consider today is … where is the weak zipper in your system?

Carpe diem!




Enoch Bartlett Sears is the founder of the Architect Business Institute, Business of Architecture and co-founder of the Architect Marketing Institute. He helps architects become category leaders in their market. Enoch hosts the #1 rated interview podcast for architects, the Business of Architecture Show where prominent guests like M. Arthur Gensler, Jr. and Thom Mayne share tips and strategies for success in architecture.

3 Responses

  1. I forgot to ask you if you’re going to publish an article on Throughput Accounting? This TOC brand of accounting is such a diamond in the ruff for any firm!
    Bob Sproull

    1. Thank you for bringing up Throughput Accounting. I don’t have plans to publish an article on it, but definitely embodies important principles for architecture and design firms!

  2. My son is an architect and has started his own firm. I have been sending him multiple articles and papers on TOC and this morning he sent me yours. Nice job on it by the way!
    Bob Sproull

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