Monday, November 2, 2009
Up the Organization - by Charles Townsend...
This book is about solution two. It’s for those who have the courage, the humor, and the energy to make a non monster company, or a non monster piece of a monster company, operate as if people were human.
I usually underline the important passages in the books I read (note: only the books I buy). For this one, if I were to do that, I would end up underlining all through the book. It is so good and it is not an understatement when I say that I was completely blown away by what Townsend has written.
"No reserved parking spaces, no org. charts, no job descriptions, no short term pandering to the wall street, no company planes, no golf club memberships. On the positive side, stock options for everyone, honesty as the best policy, reinvestment for the long haul, rewards for performance, commitment to product (service) quality, true delegation, encouragement of healthy dissent, and above all, the insistence on putting customers first. "
Here we are in 2009, with people talking about putting a curb on executive compensation, other such similar things and there lived a person who just didn't talk but also practiced it in 1960s. That sure is to make me depressed and excited at the same time. Depressed because some one talked about it even before i was born and not much has happened about it and excited because people who think differently may be in the minority but have always had/have some company and that is inspiration enough...
A few more random samples from the book to give you more taste of what the book is all about.
All decisions should be made as low as possible in the organization. The charge of the light brigade was ordered by an officer who wasn’t there looking at the territory. (page 22)
Excellence or what the hell are you doing here? If you don’t do it excellently, don’t do it at all. Because, if it’s not excellent it won’t be profitable or fun, and if you are not in business for fun or profit, what the hell are you doing here? (page 32)
Admit your mistakes openly, may be even joyfully. Encourage your associates to do likewise by commisserating with them (page 77)
If you are going to function effectively in our organizational society, it is important that you have a healthy contempt for our major institutions, public and private - and especially for their leaders. (page 147)
A good manager doesn't try to elimnate conflict; he tries to keep it from wasting the energies of his people ( page 17)
Ask yourself two questions every morning:
Who do I least want to see today?
What do I least want to do today?
Chances are they’ll be your top priority for the day. (page 141)
I can go on, but I will end up giving the whole book here. My sincere recommendation for all managers/leaders is to get hold of the book and read it end to end.
If possible, people should buy their own copy and keep it with themselves all the time. It is light enough to carry around, but heavy enough to keep people grounded.
BTW, the full title is "Up the Organization: How to Stop the Corporation from Stifling People and Strangling Profits" :-)