Goal setting and Attainment
Goldratt E. M. and Cox J wrote one of the most engaging books in the business fraternity when the co-authored “The Goal: A process of ongoing improvement”. Published in 1992, this book continues to be one of the best even in the current business environment. The book by Dr. Eliyahu M. Goldratt, originally published in 1984, revised in 1992 and 2004 has become a book for case studies in colleges and operations in businesses. The focus is usually towards bottlenecks, how to alleviate or get rid of them in the actual and real life and the Theory of Constraints. It is used to teach students about the significance of constraint management and capacity planning. A goal can also be called an objective. It can be defined as the result or achievement toward which effort is directed. It can be said to be an aim or an end (oxford dictionary).
“The Goal” is a book that is a fiction work. It is a book about business but is disguised as a novel. It is a story about love. Love about and for the manufacturing process (Goldratt, 1992). The lead character is Alex Rogo who is a manager at a production plant, which is a property of Unico Manufacturing. Here, almost all things are always behind schedule. The goal therefore is to turn this company around from being unsuccessful and unprofitable to be a success. The process, which they use, is simple, yet effective. Mr. Alex and his team manage to make the company a success within the three months limit, which the company executive had given them. The goal attainment process, which they used, is as discussed.
Unico is a company that produces machined assemblies. Mr. Alex Rogo has well educated and competent staff. However, the company has over twenty million dollars’ worth of unsold inventory (Goldratt, 1992). This is of course slowing the operations of the company down. It is unprofitable. The goal as deduced to Alex by his old physics professor who helps him in turning the company around is increased productivity. A business must increase its productivity or output, while at the same time reducing operational expenses and inventory.
The first step to take in the process of attaining this goal is to gather operational solutions. This, Alex and his team gather that the first problem they have is overproduction. Thus, to be efficient, overproduction must stop.Jonah teaches Alex that cost accounting is the number one enemy of productivity, money is the most important thing to management, over efficiency and a plant in which everyone is working all the time is inefficient (Goldratt, 1992). Thus, the second step is to trim excess work force, reduce inventory, and reduce excess capacity thus increase sales. If only one, two, or the above are attained, this means that the company is not working towards achieving its set goal. This set goal is of course to reduce inventory, reduce operational expenses, while at the same time increasing throughput. The third step is to do a production capacity test. Alex observes that this can only be done when inventory is minimized; energy, which raises operational costs, expended, giving the deserving resources more capacity and increasing the rate of final throughput production.
Personally, I think Mr. Alex’s goal and achievement is admirable. Business executives to turn around their businesses should copy it. If I were Mr. Rogo, I would do the same. Mr. Jonah does well to provide him with the guidance and advice that he requires. That is my humble thought on the issue.
Tim Harford has written a groundbreaking book in “ADAPT”. Briefly, Mr. Harford says the already made solutions cannot solve today’s life problem. He argues that these problems cannot be solved or tackled expert opinions and our leaders (Harford, 2011). He says that we must instead adapt. The author, who is an underground economist, ingeniously weaves economics, anthropology, physics and biology to write an award winning, compelling story with life lessons. He argues a passionate case about the importance of error and adaptive trial in solving issues such as financial crises, poverty and climate change. He also gives the importance of fostering creativity and innovation in our personal lives and businesses.
The first example that Mr. Harford uses is evolution, which is anthropology. He uses statistical evidence to teach a very important lesson about the rising and falling of companies. This he says uses the Darwinian Selection (Harford, 2011). He says that bankruptcies experienced in periods of relative stability in patterns that are impossible to map. He likens this to extinction of fossils. The next lesson, to which Tim draws the reader’s attention, is the bureaucracy in the government. The example that he gives is the Iraq War where he talks about Donald Rumsfeld’s arrogance in his presumption that the Iraq War could be automatically won by people sitting behind desks in the Pentagon doing strategic calculations.
Rumsfeld was stubborn and effused to admit error in the “anti-occupation” insurgency. He compares Rumsfeld to General David Petraeus who was able to accommodate dissenting opinion. Therefore, he was more successful; with his book “surge”. He said the permitted tactical error (Harford, 2011). This relates to real life situations where a person must learn that he made a mistake before anything good can come out of his experience; the General’s book was more successful than Rumsfeld’s because he accommodated other people’s opinions, which were different from his. Rumsfeld on the other hand did not; he in fact called those who were opposed from his opinion “enemies of the legitimate Iraqi Government”.
The crux of Mr. Tim Harford’s book lies in conviction. He uses an experimental but adaptive approach in order to succeed. He teaches that when our problems are more elusive and complex, our trial and error becomes more effective (Harford, 2011). The author outlines the principles for failing productively. The first principle is the idea casting a wide net. The second principle is to “practice failing” in a space that is safe. Finally, the third and last principle he outlines is to be mature and prim enough to accept failure when it has happened. That is to say that you know you have missed the mark, therefore accept and move on.
In my opinion, Mr. Harford has written a starling book. I completely concur with his messages and lessons. The examples that he uses are good and very effective in driving the point home. Therefore, Mr. Harford boldly brings out the solutions not only to the business fraternity, but also to the life in general. His solutions are applicable to all and sundry.
Goldratt, E. M., & Cox, J. (1992). The goal: A process of ongoing improvement. New York: North River Press.
Harford, T. (2011). Adapt: Why success always starts with failure. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.