Finding the “Herbie” in Your Change Initiative

For many companies, the biggest threat today is not complacency, but overreaching. When too much change is happening at once, competing initiatives undermine one another and disconnected priorities put the core business at risk.

But how should change champions reconcile these competing, urgent initiatives?

Eli Goldratt’s 1984 classic, The Goal, offers a counter-intuitive but powerful solution. To explain his approach, called the “theory of constraints,” Goldratt uses the analogy of a scout troop on a hike. The fact is, only one factor determines how fast they will get to their destination: the speed of the slowest scout, a poor soul named “Herbie.” To maximize their speed as a troop, they need to let Herbie set the pace. They put Herbie at the front of the line, then do everything they can to lighten his load and help him do his best. Similarly, to maximize the speed of progress, business leaders must identify the “Herbie-group” within their organizations and use that to guide the pace and sequence of change.

In this post on strategy+business, Finding the “Herbie” in Your Change Initiative, I offer a few ways Goldratt’s approach can help you accelerate your critical change initiatives.

Tell me what you think!

All the best,

Elizabeth Doty