I'm torn between whether this is the best book I've ever read, or the second. It's in contention with The Goal, also by Eli Goldratt.
The Goal introducI'm torn between whether this is the best book I've ever read, or the second. It's in contention with The Goal, also by Eli Goldratt.
The Goal introduces the concept of the Theory of Constraints by starting in a factory and identifying a manufacturing bottleneck. Towards the end, it talks about the idea that the thing constraining a business may not be physical, but mental - an idea or policy. The Goal's key idea is a process of ongoing improvement, targeted at whatever the current constraint is.
The Choice adds a whole new dimension by taking the essence of The Goal (focussing on the constraint) and It's Not Luck (thinking in cause-and-effect) and explains in simple terms how to apply it to, no less, the problem of having a "full, meaningful life". To do this, Goldratt claims - we must have enough successes, which depend on our stamina to overcome setbacks, our ability to create opportunities, and our ability to collaborate with people.
Goldratt's argument is that to achieve these steps to a full life, we must be able to think clearly. But, we are blocked from thinking clearly by four obstacles:
• We see reality as complex, rather than (as Newton showed) a thing of Inherent Simplicity • We accept conflicts as a given, rather than seeking to remove them • We blame, rather than assuming goodness and looking for explanations of other people's behaviour • We think "we know", rather than challenging our assumptions and looking for breakthrough ways to change a situation
The book is written as a dialogue between Goldratt and his daughter Efrat. The real win from that is that as the conversation progresses, Goldratt removes one-by-one the barriers that stop Efrat believing that anyone can learn to think clearly. The end result is a few simple steps that anyone can practise.
I've used Theory of Constraints tools to tackle big- and medium-sized problems before. But I've come away from The Choice enthused to practise day by day, hour by hour. It's an enlightening and inspirational guide to "thinking clearly"....more
Clear and concise guide to the Critical Chain application of Theory of Constraints for project management. Summarises the reasons behind the human behClear and concise guide to the Critical Chain application of Theory of Constraints for project management. Summarises the reasons behind the human behaviours that cause projects to massively overrun, and provides practical implementation tips. This book also contains useful explanatory material for some of the things Goldratt was not explicit about in his original business novel....more
Disclaimer: this book is effectively a training manual, and therefore its value is in giving you skills to practise. On that basis I can only review iDisclaimer: this book is effectively a training manual, and therefore its value is in giving you skills to practise. On that basis I can only review it (currently) having just finished reading it.
I'd put off reading this for a long time because of its apparently intimidating size and demanding. I was wrong on both counts: this book is not at all intimidating (extensive use of diagrams mean the text is much shorter than it looks), and the content is made extremely accessible.
TLTP teaches you to use logical reasoning and a system of "tree" diagrams, first shown in the business novel It's Not Luck. They are presented in the order they are intended to be used:
* Intermediate Objectives Map - to determine your goal and what you need to fulfil it * Current Reality Tree - a watertight, logical breakdown of why you are deviating from your goal (gap analysis) * Evaporating Cloud - one way of creating new ideas to resolve conflicts preventing you from achieving your goal * Future Reality Tree - a rigorous way of determining if your new ideas will further your goals, and finding ways to make them positively reinforcing * Prerequisite Tree - a planning activity that identifies tasks to implement your new ideas, and work around potential obstacles
What makes this book so accessible is that Dettmer gives a detailed description, with many examples, of how and why to apply logical thought processes. He has a great sense of written humour and uses this to break up some of the more difficult or dry points.
It is also entirely pragmatic. Dettmer seems almost pre-occupied with the idea that logical solutions to problems must include all parts of the solution - and if part of the problem is not boring your boss to death with logical reasoning, then that too must form part of the Logical Thinking Process. While I haven't tried, I have great confidence that all of the supporting ideas could be (or have been) worked through logically as problems in themselves.
The culmination of this is the priceless chapter Changing the Satus Quo. TLTP is littered with great quotes (which also serve to make the pace more manageable), but this starts with one of (IMHO) the most significant:
There is nothing more difficult to carry out, nor more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to handle, than to initiate a new order of things - Niccoló Machiavelli
This is where the various theories of leadership and motivation are tied together. It's intended only as a primer, and has an extensive list of references. Despite that, it really completed the book for me. It's apparent by combining personal experience plus examples from this book, that the most common and significant problems in achieving organisational success are about the policies people either put in place or default to. Therefore, success hinges on understanding the combination of the logic, emotion, needs and wants of the people in the organisation. ...more