Issue #49

The UDE Matrix and finding the hidden “why”

Today, I want to share with you a tool and process you can use to find what to focus on. It is called the UDE Matrix. Here we go…

Yesterday, I talked about keeping a “Constraint Log”. I’d like to take this a level further.

See, don’t underestimate the power of a systems view of your business, your blog, your life. When you start to look at things as a system with constraints, it provides a nice logical framework from which to look at things.

To review, in brief…

  • A system is any process that results in a certain output. Think of it like an assembly line. And that system could be for something as big as building a whole blog, or something as mundane as making a cup of coffee.
  • Whenever a system isn’t giving you the desired output as quickly as you want, there’s a constraint. Imagine if a factory assembly line worker were screwing up his one job. The output of that factory would be screwed up even if every other worker is doing his/her job just fine. He’s a constraint.


So, you know there’s a constraint of some kind going on when things aren’t going right.

But, sometimes the constraints don’t just present themselves. Sometimes it takes a little diggin’.

The key to finding it is a simple question: “WHY?”. And you keep asking this until you get to the fundamental.

In the Lab training The Finisher’s Formula, I walk you through something called the UDE Matrix. UDE stands for “Undesirable Effect”. It is basically anything you don’t like. And, in the course, I have a template you can use to create this matrix. Looks something like this:


So, along the top, you list out the undesirable effects. These are system outputs you don’t like. Then, you start asking the question… WHY?

As you go down the column, you ask WHY. And you do that until you can go no further. You then arrive at the root cause. This is the core constraint that, once you solve that, begins to unlock the ones above it.

Alright, let’s make this a little more applicable, shall we? 🙂

Let’s say an undesirable effect in your online business is SALES ARE TOO LOW.

OK. Why?

Well, you think it over and you think “Well, people don’t really want what I’m offering.”

OK. Why?

“I don’t know what people really want.”

OK. Why?

“I haven’t asked them.”

Ah. Now we’re getting somewhere. But…. why?

“I’m overwhelmed.”

Really? Why?

“I’m not organized and I have no plan.”

Now we’re really getting to the root of it. And honestly… many times when we do this exercise we find that the TRUE constraint often does come down to a lack of self management of some kind.

But, this makes sense, right? If you are personally not putting in any organization into things, then you’re going to be overwhelmed and running around like a chicken with your head cut off. And if you’re running around confused, you might have read about the importance of asking people what they want but never did. And it snowballs up the chain to no sales.

Perhaps the constraint is something else. Perhaps you don’t ask people because you’re shy. OK. Different constraint, but at least you find it and know where to focus.

So, that’s the UDE Matrix. It is a simple tool for finding constraints and knowing where to focus your attention.

Try it out on a UDE of your own. Perhaps…

  • “My traffic numbers are really low.”
  • “My email list isn’t growing”.

OK. Why?

And, you wanna know a little secret?

Some Lab members have wondered why The Roadmap spends a lot of time in phase 1 on planning, curing overwhelm, and putting order into your environment. Many want to jump right into the money stuff and skip it. But, here’s why…

Because more often than not, the core constraints for many people growing their online business come down to lack of organization and lack of a plan. Sometimes, to set the stage for success, we have to spend some time solving those constraints first.

The Lab is here to help you find and solve constraints so you can get the ultimate win. The UDE Matrix is one of many tools available to members. And it is part of one course called The Finisher’s Formula. It is for people who want to FINISH what they started working on!

Take care – have an awesome weekend. 🙂

– David

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