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Alex Rogo and His Team to the Rescue Again!
on 12 May 2004
It's Not Luck is the sequel to Eliyahu Goldratt's great business novel, The Goal. After their success in The Goal, Alex and his team have all been promoted into the key positions in the faltering Diversified Businesses group in their conglomerate. The whole company is faltering, and great pressure is put on Alex and the team to turn their businesses around. The story emphasizes the Thinking Processes from The Goal, and the importance of using them in business and in personal life. The problems addressed are primarily ones of (1) tailoring the bundle of business product and service offerings for customers in ways that create profit margin advantages across the business (2) by building on benefits from adding value for customers in improved ways and (3) creating these advances in ways that competitors cannot easily duplicate. The examples include a printing business for packaging, a beauty salon products business, and providing a service and parts intensive product.
The book's main story is interesting, and will keep you turning the pages. If you only read this as a novel about the caring manager and parent as a hero, you will find this to be a five star book.
If you want the book to help you learn new methods, you will find it not too beneficial. The examples are developed at such a level of generality that you will probably learn little from them. I graded the book down two stars for this weakness. Most readers won't know any more about how to create advantaged business models at the end of the book than they did at the beginning, except that they are to remember to apply the lessons from The Goal to all of their businesses.
The concepts that the book suggests are all perfectly valid and helpful ones. The first notion is to think of your customer and yourself as one entity. How can the two entities be combined in order to create the most value for both? The second notion is to then think about combining your business with acquisitions or being acquired by others so that the new business model can be applied to all these enterprises. I hope you do learn how to develop these commendable ideas.
After you finish reading this book, I suggest that you think about all of the ways that current measurements in your business cause you to optimize the performance of parts of your enterprise rather than the whole business and that of your customers. If you can locate those flaws, you can then begin to change the measurements to become those that reward the correct enterprise-customer optimization goal. The rest of the benefits will tend to flow from making that change, even if you never become very good at using the Thinking Process described in this book. Self-interest can take you a long way.
Become truly symbiotic with your customers in ways that enhance vitality for all!
And don't be afraid to think about how to include employees, suppliers, shareholders, and the communities you serve in this consideration of optimization!