Bottlenecks and leadership

It is often said that bottlenecks define the total capacity of any system or project.

Here is a metaphorical project: Imagine an airplane had a harsh landing and 100 passengers need speedy evacuation. The plane may explode in two minutes. Exits, then, turn into bottlenecks.

Managing the throughput of people at these bottlenecks requires one type of leadership. Recognising the exits as bottlenecks, and knowing their management needs highest priority, is a logistical skill. Convincing crew and passengers of this priority may be a sales skill. Broadening the bottlenecks (like blowing a hole) is a technical skill.

Understanding the elusive nature of bottlenecks and their anticipation is a conceptual skill. It requires a vision or a goal. Bottlenecks exist relative to a goal or a vision (in this case saving lives). When goals change, bottlenecks change.

Do we as leaders fully understand the interdependence of different leadership skills for the overall result? If not, lack of leadership skills may turn into a bottleneck.