I’ve read a lot of books.

 Some with interesting methods for improvement in business or self.

When I find a book that you should read, I’ll share.

Here is one.

The Goal

By Eliyahu M. Goldratt

I like Tom Clancy and Clive Cussler novels. Spy thrillers are good books for me and easy to digest.

That’s a metaphor I use to tell others what kind of book I’m reading. Tom and Clive write wonderful books that have “Cheeseburger in Paradise” taste and nutritional value. Other books seem more like “Spaghetti and meatballs” with some more substance.

And then there is a Prime Rib dinner.

‘The Goal’ written by Eliyahu M. Goldratt was published in the George Orwelling year of 1984 and is “A Prime Rib dinner.”

I first read it as soon as it was published almost thirty years ago. 

It pretends to be a book about manufacturing and “Optimized Production Technique”. It focuses on “The Theory of Constraints” or as we civilians say “Bottlenecks”, but I believe its application is suited much more than just manufacturing. When you read this book, you might understand its application to you.

It is written as a novel where Alex, the main character, has been given three months to improve production (output) at his plant or else.

Alex runs into Jonah, his old physics teacher, by accident (or not). In a series of random and unexpected meetings Jonah challenges Alex to “Look at things differently”.

 I think Jonah is Socrates disguised.

Here is an example of Alex’s sequential discoveries. These five steps are at the heart of the “Quality Movement” of the 1980’s.

  1. Identify the system constraints.
  2. Decide how to exploit the system’s constraints.
  3. Subordinate everything else to the above decision.
  4. Elevate the system’s constraints.
  5. If in the previous steps, a constraint has been broken, return to Step 1, but do not allow inertia to cause a system’s constraint.

Alex goes with his young son on a Boy Scout hike and watches the line of scouts move as slowly as the slowest scout. Then Alex uses one of Johah’s observations and changes the dynamics.

See, it’s not just about manufacturing.

 Marcus Buckingham’s book “The One Thing You Need To Know” was written out of the frustration of no satisfactory answer to Curly’s statement in the movie “City Slickers”.

Well wouldn’t you know that “The Goal” ends with a similar scenario.

Alex has turned the plant around and is promoted.

Alex is explaining this to Jonah and says, “But I thought that making money is the goal. It is, isn’t it?”

“Making money is the goal for a manufacturing organization,” he says. “But it isn’t mine, and I don’t think it’s yours.”

And I say, “Well…ah, I don’t know.”

“This is good-bye for now, Alex.” Jonah says. “We’ll be in touch. Meanwhile, I have a suggestion for you.”

“What’s that?”

“Think about what the goal should be.”

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