Design engineers now accept that they must change how they operate to
compete in the current economy, so they are seeking new management paradigms to
replace their once successful, but now inadequate, methodology. Likewise,
companies realize they cannot succeed in the 1990s by relying on fiat simply
because it is habit and then ignoring the resulting inconsistencies.
There are three types of people in an organization:
Those that progress because they make things happen.
Now is an ideal time to join the search for new ways to make firms responsive. For inspiration, I suggest you read two short books: The Goal and its sequel, It's Not Luck.
The Goal describes the problems Alex Rogo, a new plant manager, experienced and the solutions he derived while saving his poorly performing plant. It's Not Luck describes how Alex, after being promoted to executive vice president, converted three problematic plants into management successes.
The story begins with Alex struggling to keep his plant open. An encounter with Jonah, a former graduate school professor who became a consultant, inspired Alex to break away from conventional thinking and begin to understand the thinking process. This transition led Alex from crisis management to his implementation of Eli Goldratt's Theory Of Constraints.
There are no exhortations in either book; rather, the author tells the story like it happens, and leaves additional applications to the reader. Alex acts mostly in response to his own answers to questions Jonah poses. Jonah never presents solutions, just important questions.
For example, Jonah says, "You think you are running an efficient plant...but your thinking is wrong." Alex responds, "What's wrong with my thinking? It's no different from the thinking of most managers."
"Yes, exactly," says Jonah. "If you are like nearly everybody else in the world, you accepted so many things without question that you are really not thinking at all."
Views of others. Three friends said the following regarding the books:
A professor in a well known business college: "I am very familiar with The Goal--it is required reading for all our students."
A technology marketing consultant who practices in the United States and abroad: "I purchased copies of both books that day after you told me about them. They will be very helpful to me and to my clients."
Ask the ManagerQCan you provide any information regarding the improvement of technology transfer to the United States industrial base that has originated from within the federal laboratories?
A The March 1995 issue of the National Technology Transfer Center's newsletter, Technology Touchstone has this to say about this important subject:
"Officials of the NTTC and the Center for Technology Commercialization (CTC) have formally agreed to forge a new alliance in the effort to improve technology transfer to the United States, industrial base.
"CTC's mission is to help develop accesses to technology developed by NASA and other federal entities for U.S. companies located in the Northeast region of the nation. NTTC's mission is to serve as a national information clearinghouse for U.S. companies that wish to utilize U.S. federal technology transfer programs.
"Under the agreement, both organizations will work together to share information and direct clients in order to secure more effective technology transfer results. Specific joint analysis activities also will occur as a result of the agreement. NTTC and CTC will work together to focus on how companies are utilizing technology transfer services provided by both organizations; what information best meets company needs; and which technology transfer services need to be modified or enhanced.''
The Goal, E.M. Goldratt and J. Cox, Second revised edition, 1986, 337 pages. It's Not Luck, E.M. Goldratt, 1994, 283 pages. The North River Press, Box 567 Great Barrington, MA 01230, phone 1-800-486-2665.