What Is This Thing Called Theory of Constraints and How Should It Be Implemented? Eliyahu M. Goldratt. North River Press.

What Is This Thing Called Theory of Constraints and How Should It Be Implemented Book Cover What Is This Thing Called Theory of Constraints and How Should It Be Implemented
Eliyahu M. Goldratt
North River Press
December 1999

In 1985, The Goal was introduced into the market. Initially, it encountered a lot of skepticism – a management textbook written in the format of a love story? It will never be accepted.

That was the opinion of most “experts,” but as usual, they were wrong. The Goal was not just a book about a success story, it became a success story itself! Read and cherished by CEO’s and floor workers, by hard-nosed professionals and housewives, its impact was beyond my wildest expectations. Not only that, this “love story” became mandatory reading in numerous universities. It is probably one of the very few fiction books that turned into an accurate documentary.

Hundreds of plant managers all over the globe have identified so strongly with the hero – Alex Rogo – that they have replicated his actions and thus his astonishing results. Testimonials of those occurrences have streamed in from all over in the form of letters, telephone calls and numerous enthusiastic personal stories. And, they still come in – more than ever.

But these implementation efforts, along with their tangible results, have exposed two major obstacles. Obstacles that in almost all cases have caused the companies results to plateau and sometimes even decay. It turned out that any improvement, no matter how big, is not sufficient. Only a process of ongoing improvement can sustain a company’s excellent performance in the long run. Sounds quite trivial, but its ramifications are far from being trivial.

Very quickly it became evident that The Goal is not providing what is actually needed. The Goal provides brilliant simple solutions when what is really needed is the process that will enable management to generate such solutions on their own. Moreover, The Goal may have highlighted, but certainly did not address, the major problem of changing the nature of a company. Changing it to the extent that change itself will become the norm, not the exception.

This is certainly a psychological problem that requires not just the know-how of dealing with the psychology of individuals, but more important and more difficult, the know-how of dealing with the psychology of the organization.

This book is written in the attempt to deal with these two major questions: what are the thinking processes that enable people to invent simple solutions to seemingly complicated situations? And, the question of how to use the psychological aspects to assist rather than impair, the implementation of those solutions in a mode of an ongoing process.

Realizing full well that this book, if it is to be effective, must be studied and not just read, I hope that The Goal will be of help as a vivid illustration of the generic methods described here.