Let me state that proposition again - Even the best, most completely and thoroughly researched and designed CRM solution can never actually be finished. To understand why I believe that is true, you first must seek to understand, what is "The Goal."
I'm sure others share this experience as well. Over the years I've encountered a hand full of books, articles, and quotes on the topic of business and success that have resonated with me so deeply that they continue to inspire me to this day.
One book above all others struck such a chord with me that it has always remained on my book shelf - The Goal, by Eli M. Goldratt and Jeff Cox - North River Press, Inc.ISBN 0-88427-061-0. You can find a copy here. I've recommended this book and given away more copies to friends colleagues over the years than I can recall.
Written in an interesting story telling fashion, the book follows the life of Alex, a mid-level executive, who has recently been promoted to manage a manufacturing factory that seems to be running well initially but in fact turns out to be failing upon closure inspection. If Alex can't turn the situation around soon, the factory will close and he and all his friends and employees will lose their jobs.
Alex has a college professor mentor (Jonah) that, as part of a clever story device, he manages to only occasionally have very brief conversations with for advice on how to correct the production problems at the factory.
Jonah usually provides a small tidbit of insight that points Alex in the right direction toward solving whatever the current most critical problem is at the factory.
In their first meeting, Jonah poses the key question to Alex - what is the goal of your organization - the real Goal?
This sets the tone for the remainder of the story in which Alex repeatedly searches for the goal, believes he has found it, and then discovers that was not the real goal and must search again.
Along the way we meet Alex's wife Julie and his children, and find that there are some problems at home that need to be solved as well and not just at the factory. Is it possible that the solution to one can also be the solution to the other?
Jonah's tips lead Alex on an interesting adventure that causes Alex to question many things about what The Goal is for his business and also for his family, and to frame the problems and challenges in a different manner as he searches for the elusive real Goal.
I first read this book as part of an graduate program entrepreneur course. In the group discussion, the professor asked the class if we had discovered what "The Goal" was?
I had been trying to sort it out myself, when suddenly it hit me - if I were a cartoon, a light bulb would have certainly appeared above my head! I picked up the book and turned it around so I could see the cover - as I slowly read the book's subtitle; I realized that the answer was right in front of me the entire time...
Like Jonah in the story, I have to run so am not able to tell you much more - but if you give The Goal a read, you will not only find out what the real goal is - but you will also find my argument for my initial proposition that any good CRM system is never finished.
I'd love to hear what others think of this book and would especially appreciate hearing stories about other books that have inspired you in your business and personal lives.