Brave New Work

I’ve been reading books on organizational behavior written by business gurus for thirty years. This is one of the best, most insightful, and enjoyable of them all.

Aaron Dignan is the found of The Ready. Although it is a really neat organization, this book is much more than an account of its history.

Rather, it is an attempt  to describe what he calls evolutionary  organizations that succeed because they are both “people positive” and “complexity conscious.”

Each of those themes is equally related and both are inextricably intertwined.

That starts with a statement he makes toward the end of the book.

Refreshing large dysfunctional systems without total system failure is actually one of the great challenges of our time. (235)

He thinks primarily about businesses; I focus on society as a whole. Whichever is your main concern, his statement could not be more accurate. Whether we are talking about big companies or big countries, we are in trouble.

I’m not convinced that his two solutions, alone, will do the trick. However, the combination of the two can take us a long way as a species as they have for the many companies he profiles. Take a look simply at his two points:

  • People positive. The companies he profiles all empower their employees and give them all but total power to make key decisions on just about everything–or at least on issues that don’t threaten the existence of the company as a whole. That part of his message is not all that new.
  • Complexity conscious. This is the part of his argument that adds more to what we think and know. The old operating system he bemoans was set up for an industrial age which is long gone. The future belongs to the companies–and I add societies–that are nimble and adaptive. And that requires a completely empowered work force or society and and new “operating system”

The bulk of the book covers that operating system which I can’t do justice to in a brief overview.

So, do yourself a favor and read this delightful and powerful booi.