Breaking through our own “incompetence” levels

Achieving growth as a business requires the destruction of barriers that are typically associated with our own areas of incompetence. This process occurs in a few stages. We learn, we practice, and we master. Consequently, we come out of the other end better than we were before. Imagine a supersonic jet, “breaking though” the sound barrier, but instead we have broken through another level of incompetence.

At LINAR, we work with the full spectrum of operations and supply chain professionals. It is quite common that these professionals are fully aware of what they should be doing and working towards, but very few manage to act on these insights and do what is necessary to break through barriers that obstruct their growth. Our job is to help clients take actionable steps to break through these barriers, and achieve hard results.


In order to fully understand the areas of incompetence that are holding you and your organization back, you must identify the barriers as they exist. This process requires significant attention, as there are quite a few types of hurdles that exist and demand clear navigation to overcome.

A common type of hurdle is structural in nature, like the overall management framework. Others are more procedural, as they involve the day to day processes that are in place at an organization. An example of a procedural barrier could be a redundant intake process when onboarding new clients.

A third barrier, and perhaps the most common is the attitudinal barrier. This barrier can be challenging to confront and overcome, as it relates to perception and biases that exist. Attitudinal barriers require changes in beliefs, and often shift in unison with advancements or changes that are made within the industry.

The final common barrier that we come across involves the development of skills and acquisition of knowledge. We often see business owners that are not fully aware of how changes can be made to the ways in which they have been taught in the past. Identification and realization is the first step to break through a barrier.

Focus on the Root Cause

After identifying the barriers that exist and need to be addressed, it is critical that the root cause be handled, and not just the immediate symptoms. This root cause is the reason that any related symptoms exist, and can be solved through addressing it head on.

Too many leaders get caught up in trying to cure the symptoms instead of targeting the key issues that produce those symptoms. Perhaps the symptom is that certain teams aren’t delivering work in the desired amount of time. However, when examined closely the root cause could be that weekly meetings are not planned or carried out as effectively as they could be, and eat up too much valuable time for team members.

The ability to target and address the root cause will eliminate resulting symptoms. This is achieved most effectively when communication is clear, and ideas for potential solutions are shared with all team members. Leadership can’t possibly provide every single solution, as real change and growth requires a range of viewpoints and suggestions from everyone involved.

Initiate Change

After barriers are identified and focus has been applied to the root cause of those barriers, then comes the time to create real sustainable change. When solutions are being discussed it is important to keep the following questions in mind: Does this solution address the root cause? Is this particular solution actionable?

It is far too common that businesses make attempts at change, but these attempts fall short and quickly dissipate. Despite the intention, incompetency gets in the way and no real impact is ever felt. A large reason for this is because change is difficult, as it requires people to change both their thought processes and actions. As long as these challenges are kept in mind, and actionable solutions are developed and adhered to, processes will change, and barriers will be overcome.

Most companies hit a roadblock or barrier, and then growth stalls. With those three steps you can start to identify reasons for stalled growth, and begin to break through the barriers that exist. If you are interested in exploring how we can help you overcome some of your company’s specific barriers, contact us at [email protected]

Jose-Luis Bretones

Linar Advisors – Managing Partner