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Clausewitz talks of several points which he asserts attribute to friction in the running of an army. The third point explains the friction that is brought about by uncertainty about our ideas and a lack of trust in fellow decision makers. This may be compared to the events that unfold in Goldratt’s novel “The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement.” This statement may be best exemplified by the actions of Alex Rogo the main character and production manager and Lou the plant controller.
Alex and Lou come to the conclusion that in order to solve the problems of the production plant, there are five stages involved; identification of the limitations of the system, the making of a decision on how to utilize these constraints to improve the system and lastly making everything within the system conform to system constraints. The constraints that are identified by Alex and Lou are what Alex refers to bottlenecks within the system. In adopting the aforementioned approach of problem solving, all elements of production will have to be subordinated to the bottlenecks identified within the system. The system will take advantage of these bottlenecks within the system in order to improve efficiency in production (Goldratt, 2004).
Clausewitz (2003) asserts that uncertainty at any given moment in time is brought about by a lack of proper knowledge not only about the enemy but also about our army. This uncertainty makes it difficult for us to exhaustively assess our situation with regard to our strengths and weaknesses and those of the enemy. Alex joins the production plant as anew manager and hence uncertainty about his subordinates capability and the challenges production is facing are inevitable. Alex makes use of the subordinates in order to analyze all the elements of the challenges confronting the production plant. Alex makes use of the third principle of friction by keeping his team together even as they work on different aspects of improving production. By ensuring that the entire team is working towards the achievement of a common goal, Alex is able to assess the whole problem from different perspectives.
According to Clausewitz (2003), confidence in the measures undertaken by the general is important in reducing friction. It is crucial for the leader to make decisions which he stands by even when they may not be popular. The leader should also have certainty that his ideas will result into expected outcomes. Alack of confidence by the leader will lead to friction since the subordinates will not follow someone who is not confident (Giles, 2005). Alex and Lou portray this confidence when they decide to improve efficiency through reducing production which was geared towards only ensuring maximum employment of people and machines. This was contrary to common belief and was certain to be seen by the subordinates as counterproductive. Alex and Lou are confident that this measure would work and therefore all subordinates are involved in the implementation resulting in an improvement in production and efficiency of the plant.
Confidence in ideas is not enough, it is also particularly important to have confidence in the subordinates who assist us in the implementation of the decisions made. In this connection it is crucial for the general to appoint lieutenants who can be trusted to implement our decisions competently (Giles, 2005). Alex as anew employee at the production plant does not have the luxury of appointing trusted subordinates. He however shows utmost confidence in his subordinates and entrusts the implementing of his ideas and formulation of policies to them. After getting satisfactory results from his subordinates, Alex demonstrates his confidence in them by offering them promotions in the department (Goldratt,2004)