Respond to at least two of your colleagues who selected alternate Course Outcomes. Provide an insight or another example from the book. Your responses must be at least 1 paragraph in length and should be related to the content in Part 2 of The Goal.
1st Colleague to respond to:
Like many of you, I chose the 2nd option which is to analyze a complex value creation system using management concepts by identifying three passages from “The Goal”.
The first passage I chose to analyze was from Chapter 15. “ “Herbie, look, you’ve done a great job of lugging this stuff so far. But we have to make you able to move faster,” I say. “If we take some of the load off you, you’ll be able to do a better job at the front of the line.” Herbie finally seems to understand. Andy takes the iron skillet, and a few of the others pick up a couple of the items I’ve pulled out of the pack. I take most of it and put it into my own pack, because I’m the biggest. Herbie goes back to the head of the line. Again we start walking. But this time, Herbie can really move. Relieved of most of the weight in his pack, it’s as if he’s walking on air. We’re flying now, doing twice the speed as a troop that we did before. And we still stay together. Inventory is down. Throughput is up. (Goldratt & Cox 2014).
From a management perspective, being able to identify your team’ individual strengths and weaknesses is a plus in managing. This exert reminds me of the age old saying :” a team is only as good as its weakest link.” It was important, in my opinion, that Mr. Alex acknowledged to Herbie that he has done a good job and wanting the others to help him is not a discredit to all that he has already done and carried along for that matter. If he had gone about that process without acknowledging Herbies’ strengths it could have caused Herbie to shut down and slowed the troop’s hike even more. Mr. Alex alleviated a bottleneck without creating an additional one. In management, I would consider this a team building exercise activity, a problem-solving quality as well as a little conflict resolution; all of which are characteristics I believe effective managers possess.
My second passage I decided to analyze was chapter 17 when Mr Alex was explaining the epiphany he had while hiking with the scouts to his production team.
“Okay, what’s the problem?” I ask.
They glance at each other.
“Come on,” I say. “This is like I just proved two and two equals four and you don’t believe me.” I look straight at Lou. “What’s the problem you’re having?”
Lou sits back and shakes his head. “I don’t know, Al. It’s just that … well, you said how you figured this out by watching a bunch of kids on a hike in the woods.”
“So what’s wrong with that?”
“Nothing. But how do you know these things are really going on out there in the plant?” (Goldratt & Cox 2014).
Mr. Alex, like many other leaders and members of management, find inspiration outside of the workplace that can be translated into business terms that makes perfect since to them. While explaining this to his team, Mr Alex notices the lost look in their faces and asks the team to elaborate on what is confusing them and tries to explain it better to the team. I believe that from a manager’s POV, making sure that you only only communicate your expectations and thoughts to your team, but that they understand what you have delivered: effective communication. Mr Alex goes even further when presented with an issue in the midst of exposing his new theory and was able to give a real life example that everyone could see and understand firsthand, that is based on the work they do outside of his explanation using what he learned while hiking. Mr Alex exemplified teachable moments when explaining to his team in that moment. I believe making the most of teachable moments while leading, effectively communicating with your team and checking back to make sure no one is left confused are foundational qualities of a manager.
The third passage I chose to analyze was chapter is also from chapter 17. The passage that follows shows how a little healthy competition in the workplace can benefit the system.
“Sure, no problem,” says Fred.
“By the way, do you actually think we’ll be able to ship one hundred pieces today?” I ask.
“I guess it’s up to Pete,” says Bob. “If he says he can do it, I don’t see why not.”
“Tell you what,” I say to Bob. “I’ll bet you ten bucks we don’t ship today.”
“You serious?” asks Bob.
“Sure I am.”
“Okay, you’re on,” says Bob. “Ten bucks.” (Goldratt & Cox 2014)
I believe there is something about a challenge and someone doubting your abilities that make one work harder, not to mention a nice friendly wager. The idea that applying pressure can go either good or bad is one reason I would refrain as a manger from using this tactics. In this case, Mr.Donovan had the positive reaction to the pressure and allowed it to motivate him. There are some instances that can yield negative results and the worker feel overwhelmed and not produce half of what was expected. I believe Mr. Alex applies the right amount of pressure with the right motivating factor that ended in the results he was expecting. He was expecting to ship the package of 100 pieces the next day even though the bet was for the pieces to make it to be shipped on the last shipment of the day. Sometimes as a manager, we have to give our subordinates a deadline that comes before the system’s hard deadline to make the cut. Mr. Alex did so without alarming or offending his workers.
Thanks for reading my post!
Goldratt, E. & Cox, J. (2014). The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement. (4th ed.). Great Barrington, MA: North River Press.
2nd Colleague to respond to:
The three passages I chose are located in chapters 15, 19, and 25. I chose to analyze a complex value creation system using management concepts.
Passage #1: And I say, “The idea of this hike is not to see who can get there the fastest. The idea is to get there together. We’re not a bunch of individuals out here. We’re a team. And the team does not arrive in camp until all of us arrive in camp.” (Goldratt & Cox, 2014, p. 123)
I chose this passage because it shows the lightbulb that went off in Alex’s head. As he’s been consulting with Jonah to understand the Theory of Constraints concept, he’s understanding that the flow of the plant is very important in measuring efficiency. Currently, how the plant is set up, is not productive enough to have positive throughput. But, as he is hiking with the boys, he realizes that it’s not about the fastest person on the team, but about the team as a whole. The saying, “you’re only as strong as your weakest link” becomes relatable in this passage. In order for the team to do well, you have to start with the “weakest” member in order to know what modifications need to be done. In this instance, the weakest scout, Herbie, was only the slowest due to the load he was carrying in his back pack. Once this load was distributed amongst the team efficiently, Herbie wasn’t too slow at all, and the team was able to get to their next checkpoint more efficiently. This is very important in business management because managers are held accountable to know their team. If you don’t know your team, you don’t know how to help them or the organization. Letting the “weak link” fall behind will only be detrimental to the team and the organization in the long run.
Passage #2: “The actual cost of a bottleneck is the total expense of the system divided by the number of hours the bottleneck produces,” says Jonah. “What does this make it?” Lou takes out his calculator from his coat pocket and punches in the numbers. “That’s $2,735,” says Lou. “Now wait a minute. Is that right?” “Yes, it’s right,” says Jonah. “If your bottlenecks are not working, you haven’t just lost $32 or $21. The true cost is the cost of an hour of the entire system. And that’s twenty-seven hundred dollars.” (Goldratt & Cox, 2014, p. 165)
Here, Alex, along with other members of his team, realize the actual amount of loss whenever there is a system downtime. Before Jonah’s explanation, they didn’t realize just how detrimental it was when a machine was inoperable. As a manager, it is important to know exactly how the department, unit, etc. is affected if the systems aren’t working properly. For example, at my current organization, if the phone system goes down, management is working hard to get it back up as soon as possible. If the phones are pushing customers through, the lines are continuously getting backed up and customers’ frustrations are rising. Being as though the hours in the day aren’t extended just because we have hiccups in the system, we now have to work harder to get our efficiency back on track. In addition, there is money lost in the process because prospective customers are potentially turned off. This still doesn’t take into account for operating and production expenses.
Passage#3: When I had talked to him by phone, he thought it unlikely a new bottle- neck would have occurred. What happened was that even as throughput increased, we continued loading the plant with inventory as if we expected to keep all our workers fully activated. This increased the load dumped upon the milling machines and pushed them beyond their capacity. (Goldratt & Cox, 2014, p. 217)
Even though Alex has managed to increase the throughput of the plant, he’s still running into other issues that are still causing orders to be backed up. Once again, he consulted Jonah to get his opinion on what could be changed about the “new bottlenecks”. Jonah advised that there aren’t any new bottlenecks but that there needs to be some process improvements. Alex managed to set up a priority system, but also caused things to get backed up in the process. As a manager, this is when he needs to use his critical thinking in order to devise a plan that works for both the priority and the non-priority (or the bottlenecks and non-bottlenecks). If the situation isn’t contained, this will continue to be a never-ending cycle of complications. The system worked for a while, in order to get the plant out of a deep hole, however, now the system needs to be updated in order to keep the flow going.
Reference: Goldratt, E. & Cox, J. (2014). The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement. (4th ed.). Great Barrington, MA: North River Press.