The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement

The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement


Eliyahu M. Goldratt and Jeff Cox

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The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement Themes

Themes and Colors
The Importance of Goal-Setting Theme Icon
Working with Constraints Theme Icon
Ineffective vs. Effective Business Metrics Theme Icon
Efficiency vs. Optimization Theme Icon
The Cost of Corporate Success Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.

The Importance of Goal-Setting

In Eliyahu Goldratt’s business-management novel The Goal, Alex Rogo manages a failing industrial plant in small-town U.S.A. As Alex fights to keep his plant in operation, his over-commitment to his career threatens to ruin his marriage and cost him his family. In short, Alex is overwhelmed by the number of problems facing him both at work and at home, and he struggles to know which problems to put his energy into solving. However…

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Working with Constraints

Goldratt uses his book to introduce his Theory of Constraints: a novel way to understand and structure complex systems so that they run smoothly. In Alex’s manufacturing plant, every piece of every product they make must go through several consecutive stages of shaping, molding, and cutting in various machines before becoming a final product. However, so many different machines are involved that the plant struggles to keep a steady workflow—some machines always have…

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Ineffective vs. Effective Business Metrics

Alex’s journey as a manufacturing plant manager forces him to set aside his traditional ideas about how businesses operate and consider new approaches. This is particularly true in how he and his management staff use metrics (systems of measurement) to determine their effectiveness as a business and make decisions about how to improve their operations. Through Alex’s business advisor, Jonah (who represents author Eliyahu Goldratt himself), Goldratt proposes that businesses need to move beyond…

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Efficiency vs. Optimization

Based on manufacturing plant manager Alex’s own experience and his corporate managers’ directives, Alex spends much of his energy trying to make the individual workers and machines in his plant as efficient as possible. He prides himself on the fact that his workers are rarely idle and everything is constantly moving—until his business advisor, Jonah, reveals to him that such efficiency, such constant busyness, is not a good objective to hold. As Alex…

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The Cost of Corporate Success

In The Goal, industrial plant manager Alex’s struggle to keep his family together is interwoven with his discovery of newer, better processes for managing complex systems. Although only a subplot of the story’s main arc, Alex’s fraught personal life provides a revealing window into the cost of a high-powered corporate career path. Alex’s corporate career exacts mental and relational tolls upon himself and his family, suggesting that the satisfaction and prestige of corporate…

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