Book Details: The Chink in your MBA Armor
DDSL Partners, Llc
About the Book
The Chink in your MBA ArmorThe Chink In Your MBA Armor
What They Didn't Teach You About Customer-Market Efficiency Can Leave Your Company Defenseless
by Laszlo I. Nemeth
Hardcover | 2002 | $24.95
Barcourt Publishers; ISBN: 0967449030


"What has The Chink in Your MBA Armor got to offer that's new? Quite a lot. Like The Goal, this book is written in the form of a novel. The story approach allows Nemeth to show how a mindset develops in a company, creating blinders for management and setting people at cross purposes. This is a particularly effective way to show how, despite the best of intentions, human nature, high IQs and entrenched assumptions can combine to create gnarly problems difficult to uproot."
             Read the whole review - PDF format, 2.2 mb

"Nemeth... ably highlights the failure of traditional accounting systems to gauge accurately a company's success."
             --Publisher's Weekly

"This is a timely book. If you think an MBA is a key to success, think again. In this era of corporate financial shenanigans, outright fraud, auditing cover-ups and questionable Wall Street practices, there is a new focus on the internal workings of corporations.

To most laymen and even business managers, accounting and financial reporting have appeared esoteric and shrouded in a mystical cloak. But now we are all aware that there are serious problems in appraising corporations through their financial reports.

This book debunks many concepts of traditional management and accounting concepts in a very easy to understand manner. It is an easy read that takes dry subjects and turns them into enjoyable reading.

The author is the co-founder and President of Dynamic Decision Systems, Llc. He has been a co-developer of his company's Market Targeted Management approach and its supporting computer software. "
             -- Small Business Opportunities Online

"If you have an engineering background, or subscribe to one of the popular management theories where the efficiency of each employee is carefully measured, The Chink in your MBA Armor is a book you'll want to check out. Not because it confirms what you've always believed to be true, but rather because it strongly refutes the efficiency approach to business management.

Written in a narrative style, the author tells the story of a fictional manufacturing company. The characters you'll meet here will resemble the people many of us work with on a daily basis. As the story of the plant and the characters unfold, the reader is given advice and strategies that will help them better manage employees, and assess the work output of their workforce.

As the plot develops the author leads the reader to a plausible conclusion: instead of focusing on maximizing the possible output of each employee, businesses should look at the workflow and instead optimize the output of the areas that create bottlenecks, regardless of whether or not this approach means that some employees will appear to work less efficiently in the process.

If you like to quickly grab facts from a book, this won't be the book for you. The narrative approach, while addressing some of the personalities and politics that prevent an organization from achieving the best possible results, does not empower the reader to strategically acquire the concepts unless they read the entire text. Nonetheless, the narrative style adds a level of engagement that may make this book easier to read than your standard management text.

While the book looks at manufacturers, the advice has value to anyone running a business. What's most important here is the underlying methodology that managers and business owners are encouraged to adopt. The best way to get maximum results from your business starts with an understanding of how your workflow affects sales. Once you have this information, you simply need to map the workflow of your organization and optimize the work processes to ensure that everyone is working towards the same customer-driven, market-driven goal. "
             -- CanadaOne Magazine

             -- Arthur Levitt
             Former Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission

"This book is a landmark in its content and form. With irrefutable logic it corrects many concepts of your MBA studies. And unlike technical books, it is easy to read, a great story. I couldn't put the book down and when I finally did, my mind was racing so fast I couldn't go to sleep."
             -- David Richardson, CSP
             Richardson Resource Group

"Read this book to expand your horizon about successful and dynamic businesses in the 21st Century. Innovative. Substantive. Compelling."
             -- Nido R. Qubein
             Chairman, Creative Services, Inc.
             Chairman, National Speakers Association Foundation

"Excellent. Provides the operational insight necessary for a financial investor to be successful."
             -- Jeff Krauss
             Venture Capitalist, Psilos Group Management

"I have thoroughly enjoyed reading the book... I have also, while reading the book, been given cause to rethink several business decisions currently on my desk. I am sure that any industrial manager would have the same reaction as I did, of looking into a mirror, instead of reading a book."
             -- Jack Beagley
             President and CEO, Kanthal Corporation

"Laszlo Nemeth's profound yet simple prescription to gauge business strategies on customer market impact rather than factory or labor efficiency is a tour de force of management strategy and literary piquancy. Managers and investors alike will learn valuable lessons in business logic that defy prevalent practice, while enjoying a well-wrought tale of corporate challenge familiar to everyone involved in corporate life."
             -- Lawrence A. Cunningham, Author
             How To Think Like Benjamin Graham And Invest Like Warren Buffett
             and The Essays of Warren Buffett: Lessons for Corporate America

"The light hearted novel format of this book is a miraculous disguise of serious scientific business principles. The remedy for reversing business failures and turning them into success is masterfully described in this easy to read dissertation."
             -- Dr. Karl Verebey
             President, Leadtech Corporation

"This book is the secret to reinventing your focus so you can gain business on your market. A must read...!"
             -- Thomas J. Winninger CSP, CPAE
             Founder, Winninger Institute for Market Strategy

The Author says:
     The customary, traditional way of looking at a company is through accounting data and financial information. Businesses are valued by investors, and guided by executives, relying on this same information. But the true value of a business and its performance potential can be dramatically different from the picture painted by financial reports.
     It is no secret that business performance depends primarily on the ability of a company to please its market and serve it better than the competition. Every entrepreneur knows that a company's customers are the final arbiters of success or failure. So it is logical that a business should measure itself precisely the way its customers do. And to see the real value of a business, investors should focus on how well executives utilize their resources in light of the customers' requirements. Unfortunately, the traditional, accounting and financial information-oriented approach cannot evaluate a business with the customers' viewpoint. The consequence is often a bottom-line performance that is way below a company's potential.
     While it's not hard to see the wisdom in orienting all aspects of one's business toward the market, in order to satisfy customers, accomplishing this objective can be very difficult. There are many traditions, conventions and "sacred cows" blocking the way. Success requires a considerable shift in thinking and the adoption of a new, market-oriented viewpoint by everyone in the organization.
     Such fundamental change comes hard to many people. You may try to go in the right direction with your company and find little support. For many people it is very difficult to accept that what they have been doing, for say thirty years, is not right. People will not change because it's ordered. But people will change on their own terms. And that was my primary reason for writing this book, and for writing it as a story. My intended purpose is that by reading this book people will come to the conclusion that adopting a market oriented view will benefit them. This way, accepting the change becomes a natural transition.
     The book provides the rational, purely logical reasons for thinking about business in a way that's 180 degrees from the traditional view. It makes it easy to see the problems inherent in the principles of "Scientific Management" that are the foundation of management systems used widely today, particularly in traditional manufacturing companies. If your company uses these principles, you will recognize the problems readily. You will undoubtedly see why this approach is completely out of place in today's competitive business environment.
     The book is based on a series of complex projects with a major U.S. manufacturing company. The business issues you will read about are all real, none of them contrived. The company depicted in this book is in the automotive industry, however the lessons learned apply to all businesses, regardless of what they do or what their size might be.
     I changed the names of products and parts. I also changed numbers such as processing speeds so as not to divulge information given to me in confidence. All of the characters are composites of several individuals and their names are made up (except for Dr. Springer to whom I owe much for teaching me).
     The characters play a very important role in this book. They not only give life and reality to the issues, but their experiences take you along a logical path to the conclusion.
     Some suggest that it is more appropriate to exclude people, as individuals, from a study of business. I strongly disagree. All human beings are unique, with unique abilities and personalities. That is partly what makes business so interesting, companies so diverse, and management so challenging.
     Managing a company is managing its people who are all different and feel very strongly about their views. They all want to be recognized, they all want to make a mark, they all want to contribute if they are only given the opportunity. They need a single, objective point of reference to provide uncontested focus for their efforts. I hope this book will help in that regard.
     For many, the solution to business problems revolves around behavioral remedies. Although I emphasize the importance of the human aspects of business, my focus is on the purely logical issues. The solution I advocate requires a major shift from conventional thinking and comes from a thorough, hard nosed, rational, objective examination of the driving forces of business.
     Ultimately, a company's success depends on the ability of its people to make intelligent decisions and deal with their daily challenges in an objective fashion. So how individuals contemplate their predicament, how they change and how they triumph is what you will read about. I hope you'll find their story and their search for rational solutions easy to relate to, educational and entertaining. Even more, I hope you will find plenty of ammunition for your own battle to make your company and your own life, eminently successful. I wish you the best and look forward to hearing about your victory.

Laszlo I. Nemeth

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