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A Beautiful Constraint: How to Transform Your Limitations Into Advantages, and Why It's Everyone's Business

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An inspiring yet practical guide for transforming limitations into opportunities A Beautiful Constraint: How to Transform Your Limitations Into Advantages And Why It's Everyone's Business Now is a book about everyday, practical inventiveness, designed for the constrained times in which we live. It describes how to take the kinds of issues that all of us face today--lack of An inspiring yet practical guide for transforming limitations into opportunities A Beautiful Constraint: How to Transform Your Limitations Into Advantages And Why It's Everyone's Business Now is a book about everyday, practical inventiveness, designed for the constrained times in which we live. It describes how to take the kinds of issues that all of us face today--lack of time, money, resources, attention, know-how--and see in them the opportunity for transformation of oneself and one's organization's fortunes. The ideas in the book are based on the authors' extensive work as business consultants, and are brought to life in 35 personal interviews from such varied sources as Nike, IKEA, Unilever, the U.S. Navy, Formula One racecar engineers, public school teachers in California, and barley farmers in South Africa. Underpinned by scientific research into the psychology of breakthrough, the book is a practical handbook full of tools and tips for how to make more from less. Beautifully designed and accessible, A Beautiful Constraint will appeal beyond its core business audience to anyone who needs to find the opportunity in constraint. The book takes the reader on a journey through the mindset, method and motivation required to move from the initial "victim" stage into the transformation stage. It challenges us to: Examine how we've become path dependent--stuck with routines that blind us from seeing opportunity along new paths Ask Propelling Questions to help us break free of those paths and put the most pressing and valuable constraints at the heart of our process Adopt a Can If mentality to answer these questions--focused on "how," not "if" Access the abundance to be found all around us to help transform constraints Activate the high-octane mix of emotions necessary to fuel the tenacity required for success We live in a world of seemingly ever-increasing constraints, driven as much by an overabundance of choices and connections as by a scarcity of time and resources. How we respond to these constraints is one of the most important issues of our time and will be a large determinant of our progress as people, businesses and planet, in the future. A Beautiful Constraint calls for a more widespread capability for constraint-driven problem solving and provides the framework to achieve that.


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An inspiring yet practical guide for transforming limitations into opportunities A Beautiful Constraint: How to Transform Your Limitations Into Advantages And Why It's Everyone's Business Now is a book about everyday, practical inventiveness, designed for the constrained times in which we live. It describes how to take the kinds of issues that all of us face today--lack of An inspiring yet practical guide for transforming limitations into opportunities A Beautiful Constraint: How to Transform Your Limitations Into Advantages And Why It's Everyone's Business Now is a book about everyday, practical inventiveness, designed for the constrained times in which we live. It describes how to take the kinds of issues that all of us face today--lack of time, money, resources, attention, know-how--and see in them the opportunity for transformation of oneself and one's organization's fortunes. The ideas in the book are based on the authors' extensive work as business consultants, and are brought to life in 35 personal interviews from such varied sources as Nike, IKEA, Unilever, the U.S. Navy, Formula One racecar engineers, public school teachers in California, and barley farmers in South Africa. Underpinned by scientific research into the psychology of breakthrough, the book is a practical handbook full of tools and tips for how to make more from less. Beautifully designed and accessible, A Beautiful Constraint will appeal beyond its core business audience to anyone who needs to find the opportunity in constraint. The book takes the reader on a journey through the mindset, method and motivation required to move from the initial "victim" stage into the transformation stage. It challenges us to: Examine how we've become path dependent--stuck with routines that blind us from seeing opportunity along new paths Ask Propelling Questions to help us break free of those paths and put the most pressing and valuable constraints at the heart of our process Adopt a Can If mentality to answer these questions--focused on "how," not "if" Access the abundance to be found all around us to help transform constraints Activate the high-octane mix of emotions necessary to fuel the tenacity required for success We live in a world of seemingly ever-increasing constraints, driven as much by an overabundance of choices and connections as by a scarcity of time and resources. How we respond to these constraints is one of the most important issues of our time and will be a large determinant of our progress as people, businesses and planet, in the future. A Beautiful Constraint calls for a more widespread capability for constraint-driven problem solving and provides the framework to achieve that.

30 review for A Beautiful Constraint: How to Transform Your Limitations Into Advantages, and Why It's Everyone's Business

  1. 5 out of 5

    Brian Fitzgerald

    I read this book at a time when a few of us within Greenpeace International were running a rogue project to better define the story of what Greenpeace stood for, as opposed to what it stood against. Despite the fact that it was written for a business audience, the concept of a challenger brand, and the need for insider "Challenger thinking" resonated perfectly with my experience. This turned into a handbook for pirate behaviour, complete with a taxonomy of players you need to turn a big ship. Hi I read this book at a time when a few of us within Greenpeace International were running a rogue project to better define the story of what Greenpeace stood for, as opposed to what it stood against. Despite the fact that it was written for a business audience, the concept of a challenger brand, and the need for insider "Challenger thinking" resonated perfectly with my experience. This turned into a handbook for pirate behaviour, complete with a taxonomy of players you need to turn a big ship. Highly recommend this for anyone working inside an upstart startup or an organisation dedicated to change, who has a vision that's under-resourced, punching above its weight, and setting off antibodies.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Cooljoe815

    It is a great book. My main takeaways is that life will give you a mixture of constraints(CSTR) and abundance. Especially CSTR and the trick is to move from victim to transformer. Look at CSTR in a positive way that will force you to think in ways you never thought. I can if we … is a positive frame of words to start the discoveries of solutions that perhaps you never considered. There are a lot of wonderful examples of stories where people have done that-my two favorites are Audi winning the Na It is a great book. My main takeaways is that life will give you a mixture of constraints(CSTR) and abundance. Especially CSTR and the trick is to move from victim to transformer. Look at CSTR in a positive way that will force you to think in ways you never thought. I can if we … is a positive frame of words to start the discoveries of solutions that perhaps you never considered. There are a lot of wonderful examples of stories where people have done that-my two favorites are Audi winning the Nascar race and Dr. Walters the school teacher who refused to see constraints as a victim and limiting. The other takeaway is asking the propelling question- Dr. Walters is how do I turn around a school district that has under performance for years with no budget and families are struggling to maintain basic necessities and with Audi , how do we win a race without increasing speed? My only suggestion and small criticism is that the main emphasis was business which makes sense because they are a business but it will have been even better to give a few examples of personal limitations, people who have a learning disability like Richard Branson of VirginAmerica and how with that constraints turn it to an advantage or ordinary people who see CSTR all the time. I loved this book. I strongly recommend it. You will see constraints in a different light and that is worth the price of admission.

  3. 5 out of 5

    John

    This book will open your mind to the art of the possible A great mix of practical frameworks, detailed case studies, and Cliff Notes for those who don't have time to digest the whole book. If you want to learn how to "think outside the box" or change the perception you have of yourself as someone who isn't "like those folks" who innovate - think about picking up this book.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Shhhhh Ahhhhh

    Top notch book. It is the functional companion to the vision expressed by The Obstacle is the Way. What I found lacking in TOITW is completely satisfied by A Beautiful Constraint. This is also a beautifully structured book. Each chapter comes with a summary at the end and the last chapter is basically just fleshing out the tools that were delivered individually earlier in the book. I'll summarize my takeaways but in a limited fashion as a) I believe this is a book not to be missed for anyone tha Top notch book. It is the functional companion to the vision expressed by The Obstacle is the Way. What I found lacking in TOITW is completely satisfied by A Beautiful Constraint. This is also a beautifully structured book. Each chapter comes with a summary at the end and the last chapter is basically just fleshing out the tools that were delivered individually earlier in the book. I'll summarize my takeaways but in a limited fashion as a) I believe this is a book not to be missed for anyone that cares about innovating, making change, creating or empowering people and b) I think I need to read it again to be sure I got what the book had for me. Constraints don't merely limit performance, they structure and enable it. Removing them, then, does not lead to unlimited performance but low or non-existent performance. There are three phases of response to constraints: victim, neutralizer and transformer. Victims see a constraint as insurmountable and shrink their ambitions to a scale they feel can be accommodated by the constraint or give up altogether. Neutralizers find ways to accomplish things by working around constraints. Transformers USE the constraints in order to not only accomplish their ambitions but to go far beyond them. Like using a gravity well, a thing that attempts to suck you in, as a sling shot, a thing that propels you forward, transformers embody the ethos of "the only way out is through." It's not just about attitude though. It's also about emotional connection to the outcome, or passion for the vision. Without that engagement that comes from that connection, efforts peter out. One way of stimulating engagement is through mental contrasting, or entertaining both the vision of the ambition and the grim reality of the constraints and their implications at the same time, and using the emotional tension that generates in order to achieve more. Another tool that helps is changing the way you think and talk about constraints and problems in groups. Instead of saying "We can't do ___ because", we can exchange that for "We can do _____ if", which stimulates a movement from the Victim phase forward by not entertaining the idea of shrinking the ambition. There was also a segment about finding the balance between seemingly irreconcilable trade-offs to reach new solutions (a subject covered very well in the TOC literature and is mentioned early on in the book). It also deals with sources of resources to solve problems that are worth considering, including the full scope of partners available (current allies, potential allies, current enemies, publicly available resources). The constraint of zero available funds also provides a powerful impetus to coming to solutions that are incredibly creative. There's definitely more but see point A and B.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Chris Esposo

    Simple idea, many use-cases. The book introduces the concept of "constraint thinking" which is looking at traditional constraints in your business or process (development, production, etc.), and flipping them and trying to either exploit them to improve your process or alter them and featurize them from a product development standpoint. Though, the methodology is probably best suited as change management fodder for consulting workshops when trying to get something big done in a high inertia envi Simple idea, many use-cases. The book introduces the concept of "constraint thinking" which is looking at traditional constraints in your business or process (development, production, etc.), and flipping them and trying to either exploit them to improve your process or alter them and featurize them from a product development standpoint. Though, the methodology is probably best suited as change management fodder for consulting workshops when trying to get something big done in a high inertia environment. The book has a few interesting use-cases from big companies like Nike and Unilever, and the cases themselves are very detailed (range of about an hour to two per case). The book also comes with some excellent organizational templates you can turn into PowerPoint slides to organize your message while pitching. Will have to do a closer reading a second time. I believe this is an example where it may make sense to purchase the Kindle or physical book to get the whole process and structure down pat. Recommend

  6. 5 out of 5

    Akshay

    Adam Morgan makes a compelling case that when we are faced with constraints, we have the option to be victims, neutralizers, or transformers, and that for most of us, being able to view constraints as opportunities to elevate our ambitions can be a fruitful endeavor. The book is a relatively fast read and I plan on using some images and material from it for future workshops/training. I found this three-step method to create change compelling: break path dependence (articulate why we are solving Adam Morgan makes a compelling case that when we are faced with constraints, we have the option to be victims, neutralizers, or transformers, and that for most of us, being able to view constraints as opportunities to elevate our ambitions can be a fruitful endeavor. The book is a relatively fast read and I plan on using some images and material from it for future workshops/training. I found this three-step method to create change compelling: break path dependence (articulate why we are solving problems this way), ask probing questions that tie together ambition and constraint, and re-frame "can't because" statements to "can if" statements.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Pam

    This is a well written book about how to use constraints as a tool for enrichment rather than as a fatal blow to your company processes. It illustrates stories from some large companies of how they successfully navigated constraints which they found in their way, or created in order to provide a benefit to their customers.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Tara

    Insightful exploration of how constraints, challenges and seemingly impossible demands can bolster creativity of individuals, teams and organisations, and open up new avenues of abundance. The book not only offers comprehensive examples of how constraints have been made beautiful but also provides practical and actionable steps for effective transformation.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Milda

    Did not finish reading, left halfway. First of all, the book format is so uncomfortable! A lot of wasted space in the pages, just for the looks, but holding this book while reading was a nightmare. The content is interesting, but not for the large audience. All in all constraints help us to come up with better solutions, just think outside the box.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Sam Conniff

    Incredibly well thought of within the marketing and advertising industry, a practical and accessible framework for driving change in organisations. By the author's own admission, he drops the pirate theme pretty quickly but the metaphor holds throughout.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Henrik de Gyor

    Reframing the constraints and limitations we face into advantages and opportunities. Lots of examples across many interests and industries. Worksheets and graphics to visually (and beautifully) clearly explain the points made. This was one of the many books included as a prerequisite to the altMBA.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Lars Plougmann

    An inspiring approach to pairing constraints with ambition and using constraints as a catalyst to achieve greater things. Peppered with success stories that illustrate situations where constraints have been used to transform business outcomes instead of being a limiting factor.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Douglas

    By all means, it was a solid “business” type book. It was just so difficult for me to read. Great and important message that can be applied in family life, communities, and business alike. But come on! Why are these books so difficult to read?!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sherry Seymour

    This book had a lot of interesting stories about how businesses have been creative to gain success. The only thing I didn't like was the inclusion of businesses who have sexualized and objectified women in order to gain profits. I do not feel that those businesses should be applauded.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jóvan

    Well-written book on business philosophy, supported by anecdotal and academic findings. It should be on the reading list of change managers, especially those who need to inspire innovation in their teams.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Courtney

    An academic approach to an abstract concept. This book is filled with case studies of people and companies making the most of what they have and succeeding. Constraints yield creativity.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Anisha

    An excellent book to transform the way we look at constraints in business.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Adam

    Concepts are pure 10 but the explanations drag. Should have constrained the length.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Isabeau Iqbal

    I skim/read this one. I'm not a big fan of this genre (with a lot of case studies of companies). I was expecting something different.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Robmgooch

    Great framework for helping you overcome obstacles at work! The Can -if worksheets are worth the price of the book by themselves.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Olympia Lui

    Really enjoyed this read. It may not be applicable to everyone all the time, but definitely worth the read. It gives a new and positive perspective on constraints and challenges!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    Clear, practical, aware of the natural limits of the application of the mental model being proposed. A bit overwritten.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jesse Whitson

    Fabulous book about extending your limits by changing your perspective.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Bob Ferrante

    Interesting idea Well. Appreciating and isolating just the constraint aspect of creativity does us a small service. It allows us to study the role of constraint in the creative process and argues for its virtues. Point taken. And that's really what you get here. Sort of a one-point-to-make book. One would suppose most producing artists and makers would then be rather bored with the rest of the result, as it's a fairly typical explication of a group creative brainstorming process, with typical exa Interesting idea Well. Appreciating and isolating just the constraint aspect of creativity does us a small service. It allows us to study the role of constraint in the creative process and argues for its virtues. Point taken. And that's really what you get here. Sort of a one-point-to-make book. One would suppose most producing artists and makers would then be rather bored with the rest of the result, as it's a fairly typical explication of a group creative brainstorming process, with typical examples for corporate America tossed in - representing their consulting firm's consulting customers (and thus serving as a resume for their firm). Unfortunately, the examples are somewhat discredited by time (Chipotle, anyone?) showing at least that even those firms that master the process at one point can institutionally forget it just a few years later...

  25. 5 out of 5

    JP

    Limits lead to invention. They have to be framed in a meaningful that creates a challenge to a worthy aspiration. Within that context, people - individuals and teams - get creative at coming up with breakthrough solutions. This book offers plenty of examples where others have done this to become rock stars, race winners, and market leaders. It has useful examples and then shows a formula for doing the same. So much of this technique is about having right framing, such as seeing abundance instead Limits lead to invention. They have to be framed in a meaningful that creates a challenge to a worthy aspiration. Within that context, people - individuals and teams - get creative at coming up with breakthrough solutions. This book offers plenty of examples where others have done this to become rock stars, race winners, and market leaders. It has useful examples and then shows a formula for doing the same. So much of this technique is about having right framing, such as seeing abundance instead of scarcity. The can-if methodology is a particularly practical way of sparking different types of solutions. In every constraint, there is a strength that can be leveraged.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Mercytiara

    This may have been a good book but the audible book, narrated by one of the authors, is terrible. Every sentence begins fine but trails off to inaudible mumbles. If you turn up the volume to hear the ends of each sentence, you are blown away by the volume of the beginning of the next sentence. I was only able to listen to the first two chapters and although I could make out the overall points made in those chapters, too many of the details were unintelligible due to the poor narration.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Ties

    Amazing book. Great examples and an idea that helps shift your perspective on your own challenges and possibilities. I'm highly interested in problem solving and creativity frameworks and this book is exactly what I look for on the subject. Cannot recommend this enough

  28. 5 out of 5

    Tim

    I thoroughly enjoy the perspective that Adam Morgan and Mark Barden share. This kind of philosophy is one that businesses and people should share alike. I think we all need to look at constraints as a challenge. They frame our way of thinking in a way that builds innovation. Excellent book.

  29. 4 out of 5

    John Smith

    Recommended if you are curious about managing constraints, accessing new resources and reimagining your circumstances in business and life. Not 5 stars because I don't prefer the way the book is organized, but it definitely works.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Nora Kärkkäinen

    After reading the book, I started to recognize ABC's everywhere - and that eye to spot "hey, that's ABC!" continues still today. On top of eye-/mindset-opening, the book offers great frameworks. Tried & tested especially the Can-If method with dozens of colleagues in a variety of business cases. After reading the book, I started to recognize ABC's everywhere - and that eye to spot "hey, that's ABC!" continues still today. On top of eye-/mindset-opening, the book offers great frameworks. Tried & tested especially the Can-If method with dozens of colleagues in a variety of business cases.

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