Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Reinvent Your Enterprise Through Better Knowledge Work

I recently read Jack Bergstrand's book "Reinvent Your Enterprise Through Better Knowledge Work". Berstrand is a Peter Drucker student and continues on Druckers path. Drucker is one of my favorite management thinkers.

Bergstand proposes a 4 step framework:

1 - Envision (This is the key to most things in life. Start with the vision)
2 - Design (much of the book advocates getting the organizational design right)
3 - Operate
4 - Build

Things I liked about the book:

Bergstrand take a holistic approach recognizing that it is the whole system that needs to work and everything is interconnected.

He preaches simplification. (see In Praise of Brevity)

He re-emphasizes the need for speed and responsiveness. He points out how a small lack of responsiveness can mushroom quickly to create high inefficiencies. One of my key values i responsiveness.

Identify bottlenecks (sometimes even the obvious is worth saying)

He talked about the formal and the informal organization. Often it is the informal one that needs to be managed.

Good lines from the book:

"We must do more than improve our enterprises incrementally". I like this concept. One reason to ask a big how question like how do I sell 50% more is it challenges us to do things differently. If we just asked how could we increase sales by 6%, we would think - just do more of the same - work a bit harder, make one more call etc.

"Increasing from 2 people to 3 people on a project does not increase the complexity by 50% but it increases it by 200%". So true.

"Knowledge work is less visible and difficult to manage because it resides in people's heads"

It is a good book. Inspired thought (and that is what makes a good book for me).

There is a good related article on changing corporate culture in Harvard Business Review.

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