The Goal

A Process of Ongoing Improvement

There is a whole following of people who love this book. I had not heard of it until years into my career. It’s something of a cult classic. I definitely recommend it. Probably one of the top 5 management books out there.

What is the ultimate goal of any organization? And how do you go about achieving that goal? This book is a fictional account of a plant manager trying to figure out how to improve performance in his factory. It establishes the theory of constraints — a primer for solving pretty much any enterprise challenge — and is told in a fictional style that makes it easy to retain the lessons.

30 second summary

The Goal of a factory is to make money; everything else is secondary. Identifying the constraints preventing the achievement of that goal usually results in a surprisingly short list of “bottlenecks.” Recognizing these bottlenecks and improving their performance should have a direct impact on the goal. Figure out what needs to be changed, what it needs to be changed to, and then determine how to execute that change. Sounds easy, right?!

My Top Take-Away

I will admit it: I did not read this book. I listened to the audiobook. A lot of people will say that’s not real reading. Know what I call those people? Haters.

The audiobook is great because there are voices and characters and it’s like listening to a B-rate production. But combining that with the fictional story about the factory really made these lessons stick, and I genuinely enjoyed reading (yes, READING) this book. And I realize how nerdy that sounds.

My key take-away is that I can now direct people to the theory of constraints. Google that term and learn it, or better yet, read the posts below and get a sense for it.

Bottlenecks matter.

The posts below walk through the book’s key concepts.