Simple Complexity: a Management Book for the Rest of Us, a Guide to Systems Thinking

Simple Complexity: a Management Book for the Rest of Us, a Guide to Systems Thinking

by William Donaldson

This book provides the cure for myopic management. It is about applying the principles of complexity and systems thinking to management. “Every organization is a system—in fact, a system of systems, perfectly designed to get the results it is getting today… Systems thinking is the unifying discipline that brings clarity to all of the other disciplines at work in your enterprise… The key, defining concept of systems thinking to remember is that nothing in the system is ever unconnected.”

Donaldson emphasizes the importance of context. “You have to ensure everyone has shared mental models of the enterprise and its management system… Remembering that context can enhance learning and comprehension by 50-100 percent, you must give employees context for both the part of the system they play a role in and the whole system.”

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Turn the Ship Around

turn-the-ship-around

Turn the Ship Around: How to Create Leadership at Every Level

by L. David Marquet , Captain, U.S. Navy (Retired)

Capt. Marquet writes about implementing a profoundly different management approach when he took command of the worst performing submarine in the U.S. Navy. “Within a year, the situation was totally turned around. We went from worst to first in most measures of performance, including the one I valued the most—our ability to retain our sailors and officers.”

“Disengaged, dissatisfied, uncommitted employees erode an organization’s [productivity] while breaking the spirits of their colleagues.” Marquet found the root cause of the problem to be the leader-follower structure, in which subordinates “have limited decision-making authority and little incentive to give the utmost of their intellect, energy, and passion… We had 135 men on board and only 5 of them fully engaged their capacity to observe, analyze, and problem solve.” Continue reading

Stragility

stragility

Stragility: Excelling at Strategic Changes

by Ellen R. Auster and Lisa Hillenbrand

“Tragically, more than 70 percent of change efforts fail and in most cases the organization emerges weaker—exhausted, demoralized, and confused.”  To combat this, authors Auster and Hillenbrand have coined the portmanteau word “Stragility” to represent a skill set for “strategic, agile, people-powered change… Without ongoing agility, even good strategies will fail.” Continue reading

Strengths Finder 2.0

strengths-finder-2-0

Strengths Finder 2.0

by Tom Rath

The premise of this book is that people are happiest and most productive when their work is well suited to their strengths. Conversely, many people pursue the “path of most resistance.” The book includes a code to access an online assessment which will identify your top five strengths.

“Gallup has surveyed more than 10 million people worldwide on the topic of employee engagement… People who do have the opportunity to focus on their strengths every day are six times as likely to be engaged in their jobs and more than three times as likely to report having an excellent quality of life in general.” Continue reading

What Keeps Leaders Up at Night

what-keeps-leaders-up-at-night

What Keeps Leaders Up at Night: Recognizing and Resolving Your Most Troubling Management Issues

by Nicole Lipkin

In this excellent book, clinical psychologist Nicole Lipkin explains the psychology behind many of the human behaviors that affect productivity and sound decision making in the workplace. “Good leadership requires dealing effectively with messy, quirky, unpredictable, confusing, irrational, and clumsy people. That is what makes the business of leadership so insanely difficult and complex.” Continue reading