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An invitation….

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Early 1991 was a good time, the Collingwood Magpies had recently won the first Australian Football League premiership, and I was the Logistics Manager for Tecbelt Pacific.   Tecbelt was a partnership between Goodyear Belting and Pacific Dunlop and manufactured huge conveyor belts for the mining industry.     It was a new partnership, a new plant, and for most of us there, a new job.   We travelled to  Rosehill, New South Wales  to decommission the very old Goodyear factory.   A  new plant was established in Bayswater, Victoria not far from where I lived in Ferntree Gully.

The CEO of Tecbelt was Con Michaels, an enthusiastic man with a big laugh and big goals.   As an aside, Con became one of the few men I knew who put his family ahead of his work, but that’s another story.

As the plant became established and the systems were put in place, Con was constantly looking for ways to improve. “Rod”, he boomed, “this is what I want this organisation to be like. Read this book”.   And there in front of me, he placed a worn copy of

goldratt

The Goal” by  Israeli physicist Dr Eli Goldratt.   That book had an immediate impact on me.   Dr Goldratt revolutionised the approach to manufacturing and accounting.   In 1992  the book was amended as Dr Goldratt added further detail.   Twenty years later, he was planning to subtly update it again after he’d discovered further improvements.

I’d read all Dr Goldratt’s books subsequent to The Goal. I was enthralled by the way he’d take accepted business methodology and systems of thinking and then alter them. Dramatically.

I was eagerly looking forward to his revisions, but they never came. Why?  

Dr Eli Goldratt died in 2011, at the young age of 64. He hadn’t even reached retirement age. He died from an aggressive lung cancer.

I was shocked and surprised when I heard Dr Goldratt had died. And nearly as heart-broken as when John Lennon was murdered in 1980.   Dr Goldratt had plans to revise his work and issue new publications. To me, it was just like Lennon who was working on new music when he died.

Of course, I did what many people would do, I Googled for more information. But a couple of phrases I read on the internet angered me.  One I saw said, Dr Goldratt, “passed away on June 11th after fighting a valiant battle with cancer.”   Another read, “Eli passed away on June 11th 2011 in Israel, when he went down fighting lung cancer”.   Why did these phrases anger me?

Eli Goldratt did not fight cancer. That was a lie.   He invited cancer. He cultivated the conditions for cancer. He was a heavy smoker.   His death was a tragedy. A tragedy he created.   In the end, Eli Goldratt’s death was not much different to that of Philip Seymour Hoffman, the prolific actor who died from a drug overdose.

There are millions of people across the world inviting cancer, cutting short their lives and goals.   And there are millions of people across the world inviting and encouraging their depression, simply by letting it fester, cultivating the conditions for it, drifting along without taking up the fight, without constantly questioning what really causes depression.   These people may not die, but they are wasted and wasting. Just like John Lennon in 1980 when he spoke of his depression by saying, “My defences were so great.  The cocky rock and roll hero who knows all the answers was actually a terrified guy. Simple.”

What are you inviting into your life?

Rodney Lovell