Several years ago, my co-worker Vicki gave me a copy of Eliyahu Goldratt’s book, The Goal. I slogged through it. In addition to a full-time job, I was in grad school at the time, and had plenty of reading to keep me occupied. Nonetheless, I read a few pages every day because I respected Vicki’s recommendation. After finishing the book I returned it to Vicki’s desk – she was traveling – with a sticky note saying “Thank you – interesting read”.
A week later we sat down to lunch and Vicki asked me, “So what did you think about Herbie the Boy Scout?”
Because I had read the book piecemeal, I had to admit that the characters and concepts had not yet coalesced in my mind. Vicki took the time to discuss Mr. Goldratt’s ideas with me. During lunch she illustrated how the concepts are relevant to more than manufacturing. The ideas became real. In other words, it finally clicked for me.
The theory of constraints has led me to evaluate the processes and set-ups around me – in my home office and kitchen, during fundraisers, and even on election day. In a simple and elegant way, The Goal has profoundly influenced my work life and home life.
The passing of Mr. Goldratt (6/11/2011) reminds me of the fleeting nature of life. Vicki and I have both changed jobs since she gave me that summer reading assignment. We’ve remained good friends. I think I’ll give her a call and take her to lunch.
You can get a copy of The Goal on Amazon for yourself – or buy a copy to lend to a co-worker.