3a4 Reflective journal on reading
The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People and Principle-Centered
Leadership, both by Stephen R. Covey.
a reflective journal on reading.
For my reading in this competency, I read the two books by Stephen Covey as
listed in my IDP, as well as a number of other books and articles.
- Agrawal, Manyika, and Richards (2003): Matching people
- Bower (1996): The Will to Manage (chapter 2)
- Bower (1996): The Will to Manage (chapter 5)
- Buckingham and Coffman (1999): First Break All the
Rules: What the World's Greatest Managers Do Differently
- The Clynes Group (1998): Meetings That Work
- Covey (1998): The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
- Covey (1992): Principle-Centered Leadership
- Day, Lawson, and Leslie (2003): When reorganization
- Day and Wendler (1998): The new economics of organization
- Hamel (2000): Leading the Revolution
- Hauser (2003): Organizational lessons for nonprofits
- Kotter (1996): Leading Change
- Kotter (2002): The Heart of Change : Real-life Stories
of How People Change Their Organizations
- Meen and Keough (1992): Creating the learning organization
- List of References
1.01 Agrawal, Manyika, and Richards (2003): Matching
people and jobs
An important part of developing an effective organization and keeping it at peak
performance has to do with matching the people to the jobs. Agrawal,
Manyika, and Richards (2003) talk about the difficulties managers face trying
to assign employees to jobs in the optimum way. It is too often done by
"As a result, human capital--the skills and knowledge
of employees--too often remains an untapped performance lever.
"All this is about to change. A new generation of tools
has made it increasingly possible to fashion a more sophisticated approach
to the management of a large distributed workforce."
The authors summarize some technology assisted methodologies for classifying
people according to how essential or pivotal they are to the business, then
improving the productivity of the pivotal workers and linking that to financial
1.02 Bower (1996): The Will to Manage (chapter 2)
The McKinsey Quarterly (2003) published an adaption of chapter two of Marvin
Bower's 1966 book, The Will to Manage. It is interesting to see
how much commonality there is between elements of what Bower refers to as company
philosophy and what today is called corporate culture - ethics, fact-based decision
making, adjust to forces in the environment, performance-based assessment, and
operating with a sense of competitive urgency. I am especially attracted
to Bower's comments about "Fact-founded decision making", because he
wrote this before the information revolution, and before data warehousing and
business intelligence became the forces that they are today. Bower says,
"the fact-founded approach is a management instrument of great power,
and offers three reasons - "better decisions", "greater flexibility",
and "higher morale". One of 2003's popular catch phrases is "the
agile enterprise". Information Technology is expected to add value
to the enterprise by allowing more rapid adjustment to changes in market forces
- IT is to become an enabler of organizational change. Bower's insights
are truly amazing when you remind yourself that they were written nearly thirty
1.03 Bower (1996): The Will to Manage (chapter
The 2003 McKinsey Quarterly also included an adaption of chapter 5 of Marvin
Bower's 1966 book, The Will to Manage. The chapter title is "Organization:
Helping people pull together." Bower makes a strong case for the importance
of good organization. He defines organizing as a planning process consisting
of five steps.
- Determine the work or activities to be done, the tasks or duties.
- Group activities into positions, to assign as responsibilities to individuals.
- Assign authority to each position, the right to carry out those responsibilities.
- Determine the authority relationships among positions.
- Determine personal qualities and criteria for designating superior performance
in each position.
In summary, "organizational planning is concerned--in management jargon--with
the duties, responsibilities, authority, relationships, and personal requirements
of positions." "Any high caliber employee's effectiveness, job
satisfaction, and attitude are vitally affected by the organization's
1.04 Buckingham and Coffman (1999): First Break All
the Rules: What the World's Greatest Managers Do Differently
Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman
(1999) have written a book on managing people that has a very provocative title
– First Break All the Rules: What the World's Greatest Managers Do Differently.
In essence, this book focuses on matching the right employee to the right job,
targeting employee strengths, setting the right outcomes, and choosing staff based
on talent and potential, and not merely on experience. The role of the manager
is to structure his or her organization so that the right jobs can be configured
for the right people, to attract and keep talent, and to develop employee strengths.
1.05 The Clynes Group (1998): Meetings That Work
It seems that a necessary evil for managing organizations is meetings.
In Meetings That Work, The Clynes Group
have set out steps under six headings for holding successful meetings.
- Plan for Success
- Get Your Meeting Off to a Great Start
- Manage Your Meeting
- Tips and Techniques to Enliven Your Meeting
- Solve Meeting Problems
- Wrap it Up!
1.06 Covey (1998) The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
I have used The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen
Covey (1998) as a rich source of ideas for dealing with all sorts of situations,
and found the best value has been in consulting it as needed, almost as a reference
book. I have a 4-tape set of cassettes containing an abridged version
the book, told by Stephen Covey himself. The passion of his telling adds
to the power of his message, which applies as well in personal and family life
as it does in the work situation.
The following summary of the 7 habits is taken from Franklin Covey web site
for their 3-day workshop on implementing effectiveness training.
1.07 Covey (1992): Principle-Centered Leadership
In Principle-Centered Leadership, Stephen
Covey (1992) has shown that when a leader shows the members of his or her
team that they are respected and appreciated, not only is this the decent thing
to do, but it brings positive results for the team and for the organization.
I made notes in a separate document as I read the
1.08 Day, Lawson, and Leslie (2003): When reorganization
In the 2003 Special Edition of the McKinsey Quarterly, Jonathan
Day, Emily Lawson, and Keith Leslie summarize the potential value of reorganization
and the associated risks in the opening paragraph of their article entitled, "When
"One of the most powerful levers for change available
to a chief executive is reorganization. At its best, it can sweep away
inertia and cynicism and energize employees with a common sense of purpose,
thereby making it easier to implement a new strategy, to digest an acquisition,
or to improve productivity. But reorganizations frequently fail, even
when they draw on a wealth of practical experience and decades of intense
academic research that have generate proven principles for organizational
1.09 Day and Wendler (1998): The new economics of organization
In The new economics of organization, Jonathan
Day and James Wendler (1998) examine "the strategies and organizational
designs of innovative and successful firms." Although there are too
few of these to come up with a set of best practices, "yet they do offer
a landscape attractive to executives for whom innovation and entrepreneurialism
are aspirations rather than everyday realities." The authors also draw
on "the discipline of organizational economics, which analyzes organizational
actions as outcomes of strategic interplay among individuals as they respond to
incentives or otherwise pursue their own interests."
"With its focus on such ideas as ownership, decision rights, and incentives,
organizational economics offers a practical tool in designing companies capable
of responding to the business challenges of the twenty-first century."
Day and Wendler compare enforced cooperation, top-down forms of organization
with personal initiative, bottom-up forms, and show how the effect of disaggregation
("the devolution of decision-making authority within and beyond the organization,
making the controlled economy of the firm more like a market"). "This
framework might seem to suggest that a corporation must accept either limited
personal initiative, or limited enforced cooperation. Fortunately, the
reality is more promising. The broad space in the center of the curve is increasingly
populated by innovative organizational forms (Exhibit 3)."
1.10 Hamel (2000): Leading the Revolution
In Leading the Revolution, Gary Hamel
(2000) has a blunt way of describing the value of the typical "organizational
pyramid". "Who holds the monopoly on setting strategy and mapping
out corporate direction? The same small group [at the top]. Is this
stupid or what?" (page 148). Hamel describes four distinct models that
are present in every organization - operational model, business model, mental
model, and political model. "For business concept innovation to flourish,
the responsibility for strategy making must be broadly distributed. Top
management must give up its monopoly on strategy creation. In this sense,
you can't have innovation in business models without innovation in political models."
1.11 Hauser (2003): Organizational lessons
Jerry Hauser (2003). Analyzes the Wendy
Kopp Teach For America case in Organizational lessons for nonprofits and
highlights the importance of paying attention to organizational matters, even
in not-for-profit organizations. Five years after its launch, Teach for
America was on the verge of collapse, with over $1 million in debt. "What
had gone wrong? Like many nonprofits, Teach For America focused exclusively on
its mission—and on the relentless pressure to meet short-term financing
needs—and shortchanged its organizational development."
1.12 Kotter (1996): Leading Change
There is a lot being written and said these days about the "agile enterprise"
and the "adaptive organization". It is a fact that the pace of
change in today's environment means that developing the ideal organization cannot
be bound by the rigidity of organizational structures and job descriptions.
These may have a role, but they must be allowed to be fluid to keep in synch with
the changes that adaptive organizations must be continually making. John
P. Kotter, an international authority of the subject of change, stresses the role
of communication in making change stick. This is step 4 in his Eight
Steps to Transform Your Organization. See pages 85 to 100 in Leading
Change (Kotter, 1996)and pages 83
to 101 in The Heart of Change : Real-life Stories of How People Change Their
Organizations (Kotter and Cohen,
1.13 Kotter (2002): The Heart of Change : Real-life
Stories of How People Change Their Organizations
1.14 Meen and Keough (1992): Creating the
David Meen and Mark Keough (1992) interview
Peter Senge, author of The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of the
Learning Organization, in an article in the McKinsey Quarterly (1992) entitled
Creating the learning organization.
"Large organizations by and large are not designed to
learn across functional lines. Functional hierarchies get in the way."
"For systems thinking to really become a part of the
entire organization, a fundamental shift in organizational structure or design
will be required."
"It is this continual process of building the knowledge
base of an organization that will, I believe, eventually be seen as the central
task of management in a learning organization."
In their article on The New Economics of Organization, Day and Wendler
(1998) stress the importance of knowledge management as well as form of organization
in successful enterprises. As they put it, there are "Two challenges
for the corporations of the future: Entrepreneurialism and knowledge."
In the 1992 interview on learning organizations with Peter Senge, when Senge
was asked, "Is learning different from knowledge?", he replied, "It
is not.", but he distinguished them both from information.
"Learning or knowledge is different from information.
A fundamental misunderstanding that permeates Western society is that
learning or knowledge does not need to be related to action. Colloquially,
when we use the word 'learn,' we most often use it to mean 'taking in information.'
We say, 'I learned all about financial accounting for executives.
I took the course yesterday.'"
Agrawal, Vivek, Manyika,
James M. and Richards, John E. (2003). Matching people and jobs. McKinsey
Quarterly, 2003. (EN-0915)
(on local server)
(2003a). Company philosophy: 'The way we do things around here'. McKinsey
Quarterly, 2003, Number 2, pp. 110-117. (EN-0918)
(on local server)
(2003b). Organization: Helping people pull together. McKinsey Quarterly,
2003, Number 2. (EN-0913)
(on local server)
and Coffman, Curt. (1999). First Break All the Rules. (EN-0301)
New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN: 0-684-85286-1 (hardback). (editorial
Carlopio, James. (2000a, 25-Sep-2000). Holism, Management
and Organisational Change [Word]. (EN-0931)
URL: (on local server)
Carlopio, James. (2000b, 14-Oct-2000). Making Organisational
Change Quickly [Word]. (EN-0932)
URL: (on local server)
Clynes Group, The.
(1998). Meetings That Work. (EN-0782)
Chicago, IL: Lawrence Ragan Communications, Inc.
R. (1998). The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People® Workshop.
R. (1992). Principle-Centered Leadership. (EN-0047)
New York: Fireside Simon & Schuster Inc. ISBN: 671749102
D., Lawson, Emily and Leslie, Keith. (2003). When reorganization works.
McKinsey Quarterly, 2003. (EN-0914)
(on local server)
Day, Jonathan D. and
Wendler, James C. (1998). The new economics of organization. McKinsey
Quarterly, 1998, pp 4-17. (EN-0916)
(on local server)
(2000). Leading the Revolution. (EN-0183)
Harvard Business School Press. ISBN: 1-54851-189-5 (editorial
(2003). Organizational lessons for nonprofits [Web]. McKinsey. (EN-0875)
(on local server)
Kostner, Jaclyn. (1996). Virtual Leadership: Secrets
from the Round Table for the Multi-Site Manager. (EN-0038)
New York: Warner Books. ISBN: 0-446-67087-1 (editorial
P. (1996). Leading change. (EN-0868)
Harvard Business School Publishing. ISBN: 0-87584-747-1
Kotter, John P.
and Cohen, Dan S. (2002). The heart of change : real-life stories
of how people change their organizations. (EN-0867)
Massachusetts: Harvard Business School Publishing. ISBN: 1-57851-254-9
Meen, David E. and Keough,
Mark. (1992). Creating the learning organization. McKinsey Quarterly,
1992, pp 58?86. (EN-0917)
(on local server)
Other Recommended Reading
Ahituv, Niv and Zviran, Moshe. (1999). Top management
toolbox for managing corporate IT. (EN-0071)
Communications of the ACM, 42(4), 93.
Bennis, Warren G. (1989). Why Leaders Can't Lead.
San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Block, Peter. (1996). Stewardship: Choosing Service
Over Self-Interest. (EN-0300)
San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers. ISBN: 881052-86-9 (paperback). (editorial
Carte, Traci Ann. (1999). The Impact of "Publicness"
On Executive Information Systems Development (Organizational Theory, Systems
Garvin, David A. (2000). Learning in Action: A Guide
to Putting the Learning Organization to Work. (EN-0302)
Boston: Harvard Business School Press. ISBN: 1-57851-251-4 (hardback) (editorial
Katzenbach, J. R. and Smith, D. K. (1993). The Wisdom
of Teams: Creating the High-Performance Organization. (EN-0305)
New York: Harper Collins. ISBN: 0-88730-676-4 (editorial
Klein, David A. (1998). The strategic management of
intellectual capital. (EN-0059)
Boston: Butterworth-Heinemann. ISBN: 0750698500 (pbk. alk. paper)
Sullivan, Gordon R., Harper, Michael V. (1996). Hope
is Not a Method: What Business Leaders can Learn from America's Army. (New
York ed.). (EN-0307)
Broadway Books: 0-7679-0060-X (paperback). (editorial
Return to 3(a) Organizational development
Created: Sunday, February 20, 2000 05:06 PM
Friday, June 18, 2004 4:36 PM