I read Bruce MacEwen fairly regularly for pieces like this one, Do the Management Gurus Have Clothes?
The relentless onslaught of business and management books often feels (to me, at least) like standing at the bottom of the sluiceways of the Grand Coulee Dam. Fortunately, all but a tiny slice of the dead-tree armada is utterly inconsequential. Of the remaining few books that penetrate consciousness for a week, a season, or a year, my secret suspicion has always been that far more are bought than are read.
The bulk of the article is on a new book, which MacEwen expects to join the company of the few, the proud, the ... well, the worthwhile: The Halo Effect, by Phil Rosenzweig. As I read MacEwen's thoughts on the book, I could help but wonder where Theory of Constraints falls in the "nakedness" test, particularly because TOC seems to connect to several ways of thinking that MacEwen reports: don't just do what everyone else does; develop a strategy that will really differentiate your services; understand the levers in your system. On the other hand, I know the TOC community continues to struggle to make TOC "the way business is done" (a long-term goal of the community). Is it simply that TOC hasn't made its way into the mainstream management circles with the endorsement of one of the titans of industry?
But the biggest plus for TOC is that it is built around logic. All of the tools and programs developed by the community are built from a bed of logic. They help guide people through conflicts, develop interventions to resolve those conflicts, and make sure the planned change will actually resolve the problems at hand. Here's how MacEwen argues the importance of critical thinking:
In this unknowable world, what attitude and what approach grace us with the best odds of success? Only one: Critical thinking.
This means rigorous and unblinking analysis of reality as it is, not as you want it to be; a welcoming attitude towards mistakes as learning opportunities and a skeptical attitude towards successes as profoundly time-and-place specific; and a severe allergy to formulae, knee-jerk reactions, and wilful ignorance of the new, the foreign, and the "other."