In most of my work, I focus on helping a client overcome some external obstacle getting in the way of his or her goals.

These obstacles include competitors, shifts in customer needs, or a change in the economic environment.

During this work, I often stumble across something I call the “self-inflicted wound.” This happens when the client’s organization fails to do something important that’s fully within the organization’s control.

For example, I had one client trying to double sales and struggling to do so. In analyzing his sales process, I discovered that 90% of inbound sales phone calls were going to voicemail.

When those phone calls were answered by a live person, 80% resulted in a sizeable sale. When the calls went to voicemail, less than 10% resulted in a sale.

My client fixed that problem and within 90 days, monthly sales grew 45%.

That’s an example of a self-inflicted wound and what can happen when you avoid making them.

I’ve recently been training to run an obstacle race. In my busy day, I often don’t have time to do a proper muscle warm-up routine.

I know what to do. I know it’s important. However, my lengthy warm-up process often takes longer than the actual workout itself. Because of this, I’ve been skipping the warm-ups to “save” time.

Well predictably I hurt myself… twice… in the exact same spot both times… for the exact same reason: no warm-up.

That’s a self-inflicted wound.

Nobody is immune. All self-inflicted wounds are preventable.

Want to do better in case interviews? Know you need to practice but don’t? That’s a self-inflicted wound.

Want to grow sales by 50%? If so, and members of your sales force are spending more time on Instagram than on the phone — that’s a self-inflicted wound.

The cure for self-inflicted wounds is simple — effort.

That’s it.

So what self-inflicted wounds might you be making right now?