2021 Brave 2021 New Work: Are You Ready to Reinvent Your high quality Organization? outlet online sale

2021 Brave 2021 New Work: Are You Ready to Reinvent Your high quality Organization? outlet online sale

2021 Brave 2021 New Work: Are You Ready to Reinvent Your high quality Organization? outlet online sale

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“This is the management book of the year. Clear, powerful and urgent, it''s a must read for anyone who cares about where they work and how they work.”
 —Seth Godin, author of This is Marketing
 
“This book is a breath of fresh air. Read it now, and make sure your boss does too.”
 —Adam Grant, New York Times bestselling author of Give and TakeOriginals, and Option B with Sheryl Sandberg

When fast-scaling startups and global organizations get stuck, they call Aaron Dignan. In this book, he reveals his proven approach for eliminating red tape, dissolving bureaucracy, and doing the best work of your life.


He’s found that nearly everyone, from Wall Street to Silicon Valley, points to the same frustrations: lack of trust, bottlenecks in decision making, siloed functions and teams, meeting and email overload, tiresome budgeting, short-term thinking, and more.

Is there any hope for a solution? Haven’t countless business gurus promised the answer, yet changed almost nothing about the way we work?

That’s because we fail to recognize that organizations aren’t machines to be predicted and controlled. They’re complex human systems full of potential waiting to be released.

Dignan says you can’t fix a team, department, or organization by tinkering around the edges. Over the years, he has helped his clients completely reinvent their operating systems—the fundamental principles and practices that shape their culture—with extraordinary success.

Imagine a bank that abandoned traditional budgeting, only to outperform its competition for decades. An appliance manufacturer that divided itself into 2,000 autonomous teams, resulting not in chaos but rapid growth. A healthcare provider with an HQ of just 50 people supporting over 14,000 people in the field—that is named the “best place to work” year after year. And even a team that saved $3 million per year by cancelling one monthly meeting.

Their stories may sound improbable, but in Brave New Work you’ll learn exactly how they and other organizations are inventing a smarter, healthier, and more effective way to work. Not through top down mandates, but through a groundswell of autonomy, trust, and transparency.

Whether you lead a team of ten or ten thousand, improving your operating system is the single most powerful thing you can do. The only question is, are you ready?

Review

"This is the management book of the year. Clear, powerful and urgent, it''s a must read for anyone who cares about where they work and how they work." 
  —Seth Godin, author of This is Marketing
 
"I am now a convert. Aaron sums up all the crazy ideas about how to create teams and companies that maximize their potential by decentralizing their power—a once idealist notion that is now possible and essential. For a book that might start a revolution, it''s surprisingly practical and undogmatic. There’s no fluff—it''s all meat, and real news. I could think of dozens of people I know who I now want to read and study it."
  —Kevin Kelly, author of The Inevitable, and cofounder, Wired magazine
 
"This book is a breath of fresh air. Aaron Dignan offers a bold, ennobling vision for a world of work that enhances our dignity and freedom rather than degrading and constraining us. Read it now, and make sure your boss does too."
  —Adam Grant, New York Times bestselling author of Give and Take, Originals, and Option B with Sheryl Sandberg
 
"The one-size-fits-all monoculture is a thing of the past. Brave New Work shows us how to embrace the oh-so-human complexity of our organizations—and discover a new way of working that makes room for the many styles, perspectives, needs, and gifts trapped inside them."
  —Susan Cain, author of Quiet and Quiet Power, curator of Quiet Revolution
 
"If you’re trying to create a world-changing culture, reading Brave New Work should be your next move. Aaron’s simple, counterintuitive approach will help you get out of your own way, eliminate bureaucracy, and awaken the humanity within." 
  —Scott Harrison, founder, charity: water, and author of Thirst
 
"Human beings can’t thrive in a work culture that uses burnout and ''being always on'' as proxies for dedication and success. In Brave New Work, Aaron Dignan shows us that, in fact, workplaces that empower people to take care of themselves are far more likely to deliver sustainable performance and happiness."
  —Arianna Huffington, Founder & CEO, Thrive Global
 
"We tend to look for answers by looking reflectively backwards—it’s what we’ve all been taught in school. But Dignan insists that the "best practices" of the past no longer work because the bureaucracies of existing organizations have been defeated by new technologies. Instead we can only find those answers by "living in the now” the way a new breed of organization is already beginning to master."
  —John Maeda, Head of Computational Design & Inclusion, Automattic
 
"I really never believed in any of this organizational stuff until I saw Aaron Dignan at work. He can help almost any dysfunctional group find common purpose, discern the simple patterns underlying the most complex situations, and guide wayward organizations back to their core values. Most impressively, he can translate all that into language even a businessperson can understand and enjoy." 
  —Douglas Rushkoff, author of Team Human and Present Shock

"This book will teach you to wrestle and win against workplace bureaucracy. Aaron cuts to the core of what makes teams successful by realigning hearts, minds, and egos. He always sparks better outcomes, and his book will be just the spark you need to get started."
  —Beth Comstock, author of Imagine It Forward, and former Vice Chair, GE

About the Author

Aaron Dignan is the founder of The Ready, an organization design and transformation firm that helps institutions like Johnson & Johnson, Charles Schwab, Kaplan, Microsoft, Lloyds Bank, Citibank, Edelman, Airbnb, Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, and charity: water change the way they work. He is a cofounder of responsive.org, an investor in purpose-driven startups, and a friend to misfit toys. He lives in Colorado with his wife and son.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

PART TWO: THE OPERATING SYSTEM

94% of problems in business are systems-driven and only 6% are people-driven.
 
—W. Edwards Deming
 
Becoming a people positive and complexity conscious organization can be overwhelming. It’s hard to know where to begin, or what matters most. But through the careful collection and tagging of hundreds of unconventional practices from around the world, I found that Evolutionary Organizations are converging on twelve domains as the proving ground for the future of work. It is in these spaces that the courageous few are taking risks. And it is in these spaces that struggling enterprises will likely find their faults. Together they form a canvas—an Operating System Canvas—through which we can see and shift our organizational identity.

THE OS CANVAS
 
PURPOSE
How we orient and steer

AUTHORITY

How we share power and make decisons

STRUCTURE

How we organize and team
 
STRATEGY
How we plan and prioritize
 
RESOURCES
How we invest our time and money
 
INNOVATION
How we learn and evolve
 
WORKFLOW
How we divide and do the work
 
MEETINGS
How we convene and coordinate
 
INFORMATION
How we share and use data
 
MEMBERSHIP
How we define and cultivate relationships
 
MASTERY
How we grow and mature
 
COMPENSATION
How we pay and provide
 

THE OPERATING SYSTEM
  
Each domain of the OS Canvas asks us to consider an aspect of our organization more deeply than we typically would. For example, what is authority? How should it be distributed? And how does that manifest (or not) in your culture? How do you make decisions? How should you? Is your approach to authority a signal-controlled intersection or a roundabout? Is it People Positive and Complexity Conscious? The canvas forces us to confront the deltas between our assumptions, our beliefs, and our reality. If we say we want to hear every voice but spend most of the day talking over others, that tells us something. If we say we value agility, but every decision requires a dozen approvals, the opportunity is clear.

In the pages ahead, we’ll explore how each of these domains is changing, the provocateurs that are shaping them, and the emerging principles and practices they’re pioneering. Each domain is broken into five parts: an overview that introduces the concept, thought starters designed to challenge your assumptions, ways to take action and try something new, insights on navigating the domain in change, and questions to consider as you reflect on and reinvent your own OS.

You may have noticed that the domains of the canvas are generic and value agnostic. That’s intentional. We want to ensure that any organization can leverage the canvas regardless of its organizational philosophy. The Morning Star Company, for example, has found huge success in the domain of structure by revolutionizing traditional job titles and roles. Every year, four hundred full-time employees at the world’s largest tomato processor write their own job descriptions. They do this by authoring a Colleague Letter of Understanding, or CLOU, that contains their commitments to and agreements with one another. CLOUs are reviewed and challenged by colleagues who offer advice, not mandates, about what should change. Since this document changes every year, there’s no need for traditional job titles or promotions. But that’s okay, because everyone adjusts their own salary as they learn and grow. The math works out. While their industry grows around 1 percent a year, Morning Star has averaged double-digit revenue and profit growth for the past twenty years. Today it generates more than $700 million in revenue. In an industry that normally treats workers as expendable, it has managed to create a way of working that rivals any unicorn for innovative and human-centric design principles.

But this approach to structure may not be right for your context and culture. Your approach may be more or less radical or aligned in spirit but different in practice. That’s fine. My only ideological prescription is that People Positive and Complexity Conscious mindsets have the power to reshape these spaces for the better. Every culture has elements of the traditional, the contemporary, and the idiosyncratic. The canvas is a tool for reflection and sensemaking, not judgment.

Further, this canvas is not intended to be mutually exclusive or comprehensively exhaustive. From a complexity perspective, reducing an organization to its independent parts is folly. The canvas simply highlights the areas that our research tells us are most in flux. Better to start in these dynamic spaces than to remain immobilized by the sheer intractable nature of it all.

At some point in this tour of the OS you’re going to start to wonder, How the hell do I lead my organization through a change as profound as these cases and stories suggest? And what if it doesn’t work? Don’t let that slow you down. The remainder of the book is dedicated to sharing all the lessons my colleagues and I have learned in the trenches with organizations trying to make it to the other side of the rainbow. The transition to a better way of working can be made. But not with the change management they teach in business school. You’ll need every ounce of your People Positive and Complexity Conscious conviction, and more than a few of the tips and tricks you’re about to discover.

As we dive deep into these twelve domains, just remember: The problem isn’t your leaders. It’s not your people. It’s not your strategy or even your business model. It’s your Operating System. Get the OS right and your organization will run itself.

PURPOSE

In 1970 Milton Friedman famously said, “The social responsibility of business is to increase its profits.” To put it bluntly, the business of business is business. In the decades since, Legacy Organizations have inter- nalized this to an astounding degree. As we’ve seen, this maxim has led corporations to optimize everything in society—the market, the law, even our attention—in order to drive short-term gain. At the same time, the cost to humanity and the environment has been profound. Unchecked growth has created the conditions for a climate crisis that is unfolding in real time. This singular focus has also led to rampant inequality and a level of worker engagement that is pathetic at best. A mission statement that places shareholder value as the definition rather than the result of success is uninspiring. Jim Barksdale, former CEO of Netscape, once quipped, “Saying that the purpose of a company is to make money is like saying that your purpose in life is to breathe.”

Instead we can elevate purpose above all. Given that we spend so much of our lives at work, wouldn’t it be nice if that work were worth- while? If it delivered meaning and connection? Take Whole Foods, for instance. If you were to read its “Declaration of Interdependence,” originally authored in 1985 by sixty team member/volunteers, you’d see that the company’s purpose is to “Nourish People and the Planet.” Five words, but a lot of information. Now, what about grocery giant Kroger? Why does it exist? Its stated mission is “to be a leader in the distribution and merchandising of food, health, personal care, and related consumable products and services.” Yawn. Imagine showing up every day for forty years with that as your rallying cry.

Purpose can be socially positive or socially destructive. After all, the key difference between a charity and a terrorist organization is intent. Which is why Evolutionary Organizations aspire to eudaemonic purpose—missions that enable human flourishing. And what of profit? Profit is the critically important fuel that powers our purpose. It’s the air we breathe. Without it we can’t scale our impact or realize our vision.
 
Which is why the vast majority of Evolutionary Organizations are quite profitable. In fact, the socially conscious and purpose-driven companies featured by professor and author Raj Sisodia in Firms of Endearment have outperformed the S&P 500 by a staggering 14x over a period of fifteen years, ten of which were after the publication of the book.

A great purpose is aspirational, but it’s also a constraint. It focuses our energy and attention. It places a boundary around our efforts by saying, Here is where we will build our dream. Too mundane (e.g., share- holder value) and we lack meaning. Too vague (e.g., change the world) and we lack focus. Too concrete (e.g., a computer on every desk) and we can find ourselves rudderless after the moment of victory. Done well, purpose unites us, orients us, and helps us make decisions as we go.
 
Thought Starters

Fractal Purpose. Every organization has a purpose. But not every organization ensures that its purpose is fractal—that it shows up at every level. While we want to avoid bureaucratic alignment exercises, teams should have a coherent narrative about how their efforts serve the whole, even if they’re intentionally pursuing a divergent path. The team’s purpose serves the same function as the organizational one. Even individual roles have a purpose that, if properly articulated, eliminates the need for lengthy job descriptions. If someone who onboards employees truly delivers “members who are informed, connected, and ready to contribute,” do we really need to specify the how?
 
Steering Metrics. Legacy Organizations are obsessed with measurement, often using it as a form of control—to find and punish weak performance. But when we obsess over metrics, we fall victim to Goodhart’s law, which states that a measure that becomes a target ceases to be a good measure. Why? Because human beings will manipulate the situation in order to move the numbers. Instead, we should think of metrics as guides for steering toward our purpose. If we make an app that has a purpose of helping people lose weight, then average time in app is interesting, but only insofar as playing with the app translates to healthier users. It’s also worth pointing out that steering metrics should, in fact, result in steering. You’re looking for quantitative and qualitative signals that will help you sense and respond. If you aren’t making decisions and taking action based on your metrics, you’re doing it wrong. At my company we used to track how many followers we had across social media. We got worked up about it. Then one day we asked ourselves, Have we ever made a change based on these metrics? Nope. We stopped tracking them that day. Last time I looked they were still going up.
 
Proxy for Purpose. Don’t confuse your customer with your purpose. Customer obsession has become a popular theme of late, modeled to the extreme by Jeff Bezos and Amazon. And it’s needed. To ignore the customer or lose sight of their needs, as many large corporate teams have, is deadly. But simply making the customer our purpose is also dangerous. If we act on customer feedback without judgment, we run the risk of regressing to the mean, to our basest tendencies. Henry Ford’s supposed quip “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse” illustrates the idea that sometimes our purpose is to take humanity to new places, places they can’t yet see for themselves. The truth is that our customers are a proxy for our purpose. They’re our partners in solving for the tension between our virtuous intent and their actual needs. Whole Foods can’t tell if they’re nourishing people writ large. But they can tell if more people chose to buy organic fruit last week, or purchased items that contained less sugar, or submitted more positive feedback about their experiences in the store. And that information might be enough for the brand to take a few more steps in the right direction.

Purpose in Action

Essential Intent. Purpose statements, even when they’re done well, are sometimes hard to translate into the here and now. In Greg McKeown’s best-selling Essentialism, he put forth the breakthrough notion of an essential intent, a goal that sits between your ultimate vision and your quarterly objectives. He says that an essential intent “is both inspirational and concrete, both meaningful and measurable. Done right, an essential intent is one decision that settles one thousand later decisions.” Think of essential intent as a stepping-stone. If we achieve it, we move further along our path to purpose. Tesla’s mission is “to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy,” that doesn’t really help an engineer make a decision today. If their essential intent is to create the first affordable and desirable electric car—and ship 500,000 of them  before they run out of money—that gives everyone involved a lot to go on. They’ll make trade-offs to achieve affordability, but not at the expense of desirability. And they’ll focus on production, knowing that delivery is make or break. Of course, time will tell how well they deliver on these ideas.

Ask every team in your organization to articulate their essential intent. What has to happen in the next six to twenty-four months to keep us moving toward the organization’s purpose? Share and discuss over drinks one afternoon. Resist the urge to make them all fit together perfectly. Instead, notice and discuss divergence and convergence. Offer everyone the chance to revise and refine their essential intents regularly, and keep them somewhere everyone can access them.
 
Six Months or Thirty Years. Here’s a slight twist on the same theme. In 2012, around the time Facebook reached a billion users, it published a little red book for employees that contained a lot of the stories, principles, values, and folklore of the business, memorialized for the next generation. Tucked inside was a page that read, “There is no point in having a 5-year plan in this industry. With each step forward, the landscape you’re walking on changes. So we have a pretty good idea of where we want to be in six months, and where we want to be in 30 years. And every six months, we take another look at where we want to be in 30 years to plan out the next six months.” While Facebook may have changed these time frames over the years, the spirit of the exercise remains. Clarify your purpose so that you can see it three decades down the line. Then tighten up your road map for the next half year.
 
Purpose in Change

While OS change is anything but linear, we have found that other dimensions are often dependent on a clear and compelling purpose. For example, distributing authority without clarity on what we’re trying to accomplish can lead to empowered people launching projects aimlessly. This results in emergence at best and chaos at worst. Don’t start that way. Ensure that any group in transformation—whether it be a team, a unit, a function, or the whole organization—has a strong sense of their collective purpose.
 
Questions on Purpose

The following questions can be applied to the organization as a whole or the teams within. Use them to provoke a conversation about what is present and what is possible.
 
❯ What is our reason for being?
❯ What will be different if we succeed?
❯ Whom do we serve? Who is our customer or user?
❯ What is meaningful about our work?
❯ What measures will help us steer?
❯ How does our purpose help us make decisions?
❯ What are we unwilling to compromise in pursuit of our goals?
❯ Can our purpose change? If so, how?
 

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4.6 out of 54.6 out of 5
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Top reviews from the United States

Fred Cheyunski
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Recasting Adaptive Organizing
Reviewed in the United States on May 15, 2019
I was looking for a current popular management book related to organization design and change to check on some of the more recent thinking in the field. As an underwriter for public radio, the book was getting frequent regular mentions on air, so I decided to give it a... See more
I was looking for a current popular management book related to organization design and change to check on some of the more recent thinking in the field. As an underwriter for public radio, the book was getting frequent regular mentions on air, so I decided to give it a try.

Having checked out the author and not finding much other than his heading a digital strategy company, I was a little warry and skeptical given my own background and involvement with such efforts. To my surprise the book turned out to be more substantial that I expected. While there could be more connection to similar earlier movements such as those related to developing socio-tech/high performance work systems (see Mohr and van Amelsvoort’s Co-Creating Humane and Innovative Organizations: Evolutions in the Practice Of Socio-technical System Design ), Dignan’s oeuvre does offer a fresh look at recent approaches for recasting and pursuing more adaptive organizing.

As it turns out Dignan’s learning and sharing in this book comes from his experience as a company founder, executive, and manager; apparently, he has pivoted his attention on digital strategy to include his concerns with enhancing how companies operate and people get work done.

Accordingly, the book proceeds through four major parts: (1) The Future of Work, about the nature of work today and the need for change (2) The Operating System, about the heart of Dignan’s approach (3) The Change, about his way of proceeding, and (4) What Dreams May Come, about such wider trends and implications. There is also an Epilog as well as helpful Appendix (with “Evolutionary Adaptive Organizations”), Notes and Index sections.

My favorite parts include Dignan’s charts and text that relate the decreasing organizational lifespan and the often challenging and toxic conditions in today’s organizations (also see O’Toole and Lawler’s The New American Workplace: The Follow-up to the Bestselling Work in America ). I liked the book’s oblique relationship and play with Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World.” It was interesting to see his Operating System (OS) description and the manner in which those components correspond and suggest an update to those in other similar frameworks (see Galbraith and Kate’s Designing Your Organization: Using the STAR Model to Solve 5 Critical Design Challenges ). His endeavor to revise the more typical change process (see the PriceWaterhouse Team’s Better Change: Best Practices for Transforming Your Organization ) to one that is more focused, modest and experimental with his “Priming” and “Looping” seems to make sense (e.g. the customized card decks are likely fun and timesaving aids). The author’s focus on the need for a revised leader behavior and role appears to extend what others have advocated (see Sibbet’s Visual Leaders: New Tools for Visioning, Management, and Organization Change along with my reviews of this and other titles above). It was also good to see him wrestling with the issue of scaling

While I appreciated the allusions to more recent methods like agile and lean as well as references to pioneers like Hertzberg, MacGregor, Deming and Senge, it seems other aspects of the organizational development tradition might be mined to augment such future initiatives. Nevertheless, Dignan’s effort is worth the attention as it provides a window on an emergent generation of thought and effort on self-management and more adaptive organizing.
25 people found this helpful
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T. G. Griffin
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Use the Book to Understand Yourself as a Manager/Executive
Reviewed in the United States on November 29, 2019
This is an important book; of all the books I have read on the topic, it has the clearest, most honest look at what it takes to build a system that will support one of the most effective organizational approaches. It is a straight forward look at what it takes in terms of... See more
This is an important book; of all the books I have read on the topic, it has the clearest, most honest look at what it takes to build a system that will support one of the most effective organizational approaches. It is a straight forward look at what it takes in terms of executive thought and strategy, enablers (called the OS in the book), and process to correctly combine and apply these to create an emergent / employee empowered style of operation. At the core of this method is the decision for leadership to surrender much of their power and place it in the hands of the workforce. This is a journey, not a destination.

Many will read the book, try to apply it and fail because they are using the methods mentioned in the book without adopting the thinking necessary to support it. According to a McKenzie report, only about thirty percent of corporate changes succeed. Do to the nature of the changes being asked for in Brave New Work, I would expect the success rate to be substantially less. In today''s corporation, it takes a strong brand based on image, charisma, and personal and immediacy in team execution to rise. This is typically the kind of person who prefers to be in direct control. In the Brave New Work world, it takes someone who is willing to allow goals to meander, small failure for learning, and the ability to see, understand and develop the front line of the organization into a fully functioning, transparent, skilled, knowledgeable, semi-autonomous team of achievers. This is control and power of a different kind and it is typically not found in people who have fought their way to the top and are anxious to preserve their rank and position. This is much akin to the professional politician we find today who is interested in maintaining office and accruing power compared to Jefferson''s "citizen statesman" who serves out of duty and need with no real desire personal gain apart from the reward of producing a good-of-the-whole outcome.

Before embarking on a journey to implement any portion of this system, the change implications for leadership, policy, and the people must be fully considered and a roadmap laid out so the guiding group has a hypothesis formed to when they are on track, when they are off the path, and when they need help. All major changes I have observed require a mentor to coach the people involved out of their current way of thinking. Anything less results in incremental improvement at best. At worst, it results in a relabeling of current practices, restructuring, and a retrograde of results in response to the resulting confusion.

Read the book and seriously consider its claims. Then take a long look at if you are trying for a quick win to spike profitability and productivity or if you are willing to take the proposed journey to build a system that will make an exceptional company in the long run. Either path is a valid choice but Brave New Work will not accomplish the first but provides the seeds for the second.
4 people found this helpful
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Ali R.
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Gets straight to the practical side of org design and change theory
Reviewed in the United States on February 20, 2019
Brave New Work translates theory into plain language and practices - making it a field guide for anyone in an organization who is tired of sensing and reading about the need for change and is ready to jump in with both feet to make it actually happen. And for any... See more
Brave New Work translates theory into plain language and practices - making it a field guide for anyone in an organization who is tired of sensing and reading about the need for change and is ready to jump in with both feet to make it actually happen. And for any practitioner/academic/consultant looking to up their game in terms of a methodology for implementing practical, tangible, self-sustaining change. It''s a good read that grounds you in research without jargon or intellectual arrogance and provides tactics without being overly simplistic. Definitely worth a read!
9 people found this helpful
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Stephanie Smith-Ejnes
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A must read
Reviewed in the United States on February 23, 2019
Brave New Work will totally transform how you think about work. For you leaders and founders out there, it’s a must read if you want your organization to really thrive. Dignan masterfully breaks down the historic reasons for our hierarchical, constrained... See more
Brave New Work will totally transform how you think about work. For you leaders and founders out there, it’s a must read if you want your organization to really thrive.

Dignan masterfully breaks down the historic reasons for our hierarchical, constrained organizations lacking purpose and meaning and even better, he describes a way out.

As a 20-year HR exec turned consultant the word “resonate” is a massive understatement to describe how it all landed for me. I’ve know for years that something is way off about how we organize. And I’m grateful for Dignan’s keen gift of sense-making (and extensive research) to describe what it is. And of course, his practical roadmap that shows us a better way.

The best part- it’s all possible. Through his consulting work Dignan has seen organizations venture into this brave new world of work, which takes courage, patience, and a steadfast focus on continuous learning. In these “evolutionary organizations” people are trusted with autonomy not controlled with rules. And he shows us that the result is not only happier people, but higher profits as well. How can we not do this work?
6 people found this helpful
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Wally Bock
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Put Brave New Work on your short shelf of books that show us how we can do things better
Reviewed in the United States on August 12, 2020
Brave New Work describes. why the way we''ve done things for a century doesn''t work anymore. Put it on your short shelf of books that show us how we can do things better.  When Art Petty first recommended this book to me, I balked at the use of the term "operating... See more
Brave New Work describes. why the way we''ve done things for a century doesn''t work anymore. Put it on your short shelf of books that show us how we can do things better. 

When Art Petty first recommended this book to me, I balked at the use of the term "operating system." I''ve read too many books and articles whose authors use a computer analogy to suggest how human beings ought to work. Mostly, they write nonsense.  

Aaron Dignan uses "operating system" in the generic sense. Here''s a quote from the book:

“Operating systems are all around us. Take intersections. Two roads crossing present a deceptively simple challenge: how do we prevent cars from hitting one another, while maintaining the maximum flow of traffic”

Dignan follows that brief statement with an excellent description of an operating system. His description sets up the introduction of his two key ideas.

Dignan''s says the way we need to operate is both people-positive and complexity-conscious. He uses those terms throughout the book. 

Too many organizations today operate as though people were interchangeable parts. So, what would a people-positive workplace look like? There are several places you can find the answer to that question. It''s there in books like It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work. It''s there in organizations scattered around the world. 

I came up in business at a time when things were relatively predictable. Five and 10-year strategic plans and budgets were common. It was easy to figure out what would work and what wouldn''t.

Those days are gone. We live in a complex world and we need to develop ways of dealing with that complexity. That''s what complexity consciousness is all about. 

Dignan suggests that there are organizations out there that are people-positive and complexity-conscious. He says they are constantly reviewing their operating system and finding better ways to work. He calls them “evolutionary organizations.” 

Dignan proposes a dynamic model for organizations. It''s not about thinking. It''s not about being. It is about doing. 

Brave New Work is divided into two parts. Part 1 is about why we work the way we do. It''s a historic and analytical view of why organizations are structured the way they are. Another book that covers this is Stanley McChrystal''s Team of Teams. You may enjoy reading the two versions of how we got here. You''ll find some similarities and a few differences, and you''ll pick up more insight.  

Part 2 is about the principles and practices of evolutionary organizations. Dignan describes companies that are already acting the way he expects effective organizations to act in the future. 

Let me suggest two good companion reads. It Doesn''t Have to Be Crazy at Work is a good look at an organization that''s very much like the ones Dignan describes. David Burkus''s Under New Management is a review of what are today "cutting edge" practices in several organizations. 

You will be tempted to take this book as something like a course in carpentry. It''s not. It''s a toolbox. You will have to decide which things to try. Then, you must try them and adapt them to your unique situation. 

Gather several books with examples that you might want to try. Have different people in your organization read the books. Then discuss them. Pick one thing to try and do it. That''s the best way I know to get into the spirit of continually reviewing what you do and looking for ways to do better. 

One more thing. This is an optimistic book. We know most of the things that are wrong with the way we do things today. We can see possibilities for improvement. But we don''t yet know what the dark side of those improvements might be. Every solution sows the seeds of the next problem. The solutions that you develop after reading this book will be no different. 

In a Nutshell

Put Brave New Work on your short shelf of books that show us how we can do things better. It’s an excellent review of why today’s organizations work the way they do. It’s also a first-rate source of examples of things you may want to try.
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abhijeet B
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Excessive use of mid age 17th century English words closed to Latin and French
Reviewed in the United States on October 24, 2020
Contents and topics of the book are very interesting BUT the author unnecessarily excessively used mid-age 17th century English words which are very closed to Latin and French than using modern English language e.g. exacerbate can be simply worsened and there 1000+ words... See more
Contents and topics of the book are very interesting BUT the author unnecessarily excessively used mid-age 17th century English words which are very closed to Latin and French than using modern English language e.g. exacerbate can be simply worsened and there 1000+ words like that or at least 5-10 words per page. This cryptic language breaks the flow of reading and makes this book unfriendly for non-enlgish readers and I am sure many native English readers. I the author decides to publish a revision then I will recommend him to make it in simple English. I think if the language of the book should be easy like the newspapers or the standards from the domain otherwise it unnecessarily creates barriers to connect with its readers.
One person found this helpful
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Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Truly a must read if you care about how companies survive and thrive in these crazy times
Reviewed in the United States on February 22, 2019
Dignan is a masterful story teller but don''t let his smooth writing style fool you - this book is chock full of rich content and practical guidance. Dignan starts by making the case that hierarchy is a dysfunctional design that harkens back to the industrial age. We can... See more
Dignan is a masterful story teller but don''t let his smooth writing style fool you - this book is chock full of rich content and practical guidance. Dignan starts by making the case that hierarchy is a dysfunctional design that harkens back to the industrial age. We can all relate to stories of bureaucracy, insane meetings and power dynamics. The way we''re working simply doesn''t work. The good news is that Dignan presents a clear map for a better way to work. The framework is grounded in research and experience with leading companies. He shares detailed examples that help readers wrap their arms around innovative practices such as defaulting to transparent information and shifting from rigorous planning to adaptive experimentation and learning. Dignan shares many examples that bring these ideas alive. I am using this book in an undergraduate class on The Future of Work because it gives students a peak into the world of work that they are stepping into. I''m sharing the book with all my clients and friends who are frustrated that they can''t flourish at work today. Leave a copy on your boss'' desk. And get the conversation started - there''s hope to transform work one change at a time.
2 people found this helpful
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Gary H. Shaw
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A Practical Guide to Organization Design and Transformation
Reviewed in the United States on February 23, 2019
Dignan does a terrific job harnessing the best of past and current business practice and thinking and applies it to two common, pressing, and interconnected problems: changing the way we work and changing the way we change. In the process, he offers clear perspectives,... See more
Dignan does a terrific job harnessing the best of past and current business practice and thinking and applies it to two common, pressing, and interconnected problems: changing the way we work and changing the way we change. In the process, he offers clear perspectives, rationale, examples, advice, and encouragement for tackling organizational transformation. Brave New Work is built around the idea of an "operating system" canvas, against which it becomes easy to see the principles and practices for creating a future in which nothing gets in the way of doing the best work of our lives.
2 people found this helpful
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Top reviews from other countries

Liam Cahill
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
This book is important and brilliant
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 22, 2019
Brave New Work offers a wonderful, insightful and inspiring perspective on how responsive and evolutionary organisations can come to be and keep doing so. It''s witty, full of pragmatic ideas and suggestions that can help people create their own change. It has left me...See more
Brave New Work offers a wonderful, insightful and inspiring perspective on how responsive and evolutionary organisations can come to be and keep doing so. It''s witty, full of pragmatic ideas and suggestions that can help people create their own change. It has left me excited and buzzing. If there is one constructive view I can offer, it''s that the perspective isn''t extended to factoring boards, and how this picture would put could look as a result. But this is so minor given how comprehensive the rest of the book is.
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N. J. Parker
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Excellent read. Insightful commentary. Some old news.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 25, 2019
The book provides a useful overview for those seeking an alternative way of organisational being. It also provides some helpful tools. Some of the information is out of date, suggesting a reliance on what has been written by others without recent verifucation.
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Jay
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Insightful!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 24, 2020
There really are some dreadful books on business out there, and fortunately this isn’t one of them. Takes an effective bottom-up approach, and will be easy to embed in any agile organisation.
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Ken Flett
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Brilliant, just brilliant
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 31, 2019
Fantastic book with great insight into different ways of working to remove bureaucracy and some techniques to try to break down thinking and positively engage workforce
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Anandha
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Meh
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 4, 2020
Meh. Lots of recycled content.
One person found this helpful
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