The Goal

By | December 18, 2013

“Have you read The Goal by Eli Goldratt? If not, you’re in for a treat.”

The Goal by Eli Goldratt


This was a statement made by Chris Young at LKUK13 which, although it was said about every book he mentioned, was very true. I was in for a treat.

Although it was written nearly 30 years ago by a scientist from Israel, it is still very relevant today. Told as a story, we hear how the lead character, Alex Rogo, turns his manufacturing plant around, whilst at the same time seeing the effect his actions have on his family. Rogo is encouraged by his mentor to question everything, rather than just doing something because it has always been done that way and, at its core, The Goal explains the Theory of Constraints (aka Drum-Buffer-Rope) by making us work alongside Rogo in his discovery of his bottlenecks, supplying questions rather than solutions, and asking us to learn through a deductive process. This Socratic approach is one which Goldratt believed was the meaning of education: “this is the way to educate, this is the way we should attempt to write our textbooks”. It certainly worked for me.

My favourite example of this approach, and one which was the catalyst for a variety of training games (more about those in 2014), was the chapter in which Rogo realised that production can only move as fast as its slowest part. Rather than use Rogo’s factory to explain this fundamental concept, Goldratt uses a Boy Scout hiking trip that Rogo and his son are on. Rogo has been duped into standing in as troopmaster for the weekend and struggles to keep the pack together: the fastest walkers are disappearing into the distance while “the fat kid”, Herbie, is being left behind. The process that Rogo goes through to solve this problem helps us understand Goldratt’s Theory of Constraint.

Have you read The Goal? If not, you’re in for a treat.

If you want to buy the book, it is available on Amazon in both a print version and for Kindle.

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