I have been meaning to read The Goal by Eliyahu Goldratt for a while now, ever since Kamleshbhai, a partner I hold in high regard, gifted it to me. The Indian edition carries a foreword by B. Muthuraman, vice chairman, Tata Steel, which in itself is a great pre-suasion to the book.
When I finally got to reading it, it’s so much more than a metaphor for production and the associated Theory of Constraints. In the garb of a fable inside a fable, Eli Goldratt manages to make us arrive at lessons that can be applied to any field in life, not just production itself.
In fact, the lessons within were so engrossing that, to me, the fictional parts felt like an interruption. Below are the five key takeaways that made the book a source of such great inspiration to me:
- The protagonist Alex’s constant pursuit of excellence: He doesn’t rest on his past laurels. As long as you have the goal specifically defined, just like we have our vision and purpose crafted at JTCPL Designs, you can keep pushing yourself to achieve more.
- The importance of a great mentor: I liked how the mentor Jonah didn’t just give Alex answers but made him arrive at them through a journey of self-learning. This is perhaps Eli Goldratt’s attempt too – to not just give us lessons straight off a list, but to help us imbibe them through a compelling story.
- Self learning trumps rules set by others: The book constantly emphasises on learning the ropes by oneself. It is tempting to follow what others do and be blinded by the rat race to achieve more by mirroring practices. But each model behaves differently in different situations. This is why we can study others but at the end of the day, we have to unlearn external prompts and create our own rules.
- The courage to not conform: This is an extension of the previous point. Following a path cut out specifically for us isn’t just a function of logic, but an act of courage. This tenet is especially personal too because at JTCPL Designs, we’ve endeavoured to build a model not subscribing to market rules.
- Sometimes the correct answer is the simplest one: As Muthuraman puts it, “It is easy to fall into the conventional trap of looking for a complicated solution… we need to search for the inherent simplicity in every problem.” Whenever I am challenged with a situation with multiple choices, this thought helps me cut the noise and arrive at the solution.
The Tata Steel vice chairman himself has read The Goal thrice. And I feel like over the next few years, I will be revisiting the book too. It has earned itself a cherished spot in my bookshelf at the office, for sure.