Alex and Julie drink tea together in the evening and talk about their days. Alex shares all of his staff’s new plans and ideas and thinks that each of them could be critically important. Julie points out that for them to have the freedom to follow their passions, Alex will need to run the division smoothly; perhaps they should spend the next two months helping him prepare. Alex thinks that Julie is his “true advisor.”
Alex and Julie take time to share their thoughts on the day, which represents a positive step toward achieving their goal of sharing in each other’s lives. Their healed relationship demonstrates the effectiveness of having goals even in personal relationships.
At the plant, Alex gathers his staff and explains that he needs their help preparing to be an effective division manager. He asks what they think the first thing he should do in his new role is, and everyone agrees that first he must gather information and determine what people in the division think their primary problems are. Alex points out that he will likely wind up with an overwhelming amount of information and asks how they should organize it. To demonstrate, he draws numerous colored shapes on the whiteboard and asks his staff how they would organize them. They bicker over whether to organize the shapes by color, size, shape, and so on until Alex realizes that they have no idea how he should organize complex information. He adjourns the meeting for the day.
Alex’s plant’s survival resolves the novel’s primary tension and demonstrates the effectiveness of working within Goldratt’s Theory of Constraints in a manufacturing setting. The remaining chapters pivot to describe Alex’s preparation to take over his division, demonstrating the Theory of Constraints’ scientific approach and key principles can be applied not just in manufacturing, but in all variety of management problems.