It’s All About Work. Organizing Your Company To Get Work Done

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Senteo Rating 2.5
04/27/23
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Author:Christopher R. Clement, Stephen D. Clement.
04/27/23
views 1607
comments0
Author:Christopher R. Clement, Stephen D. Clement.
DIAMOND
RATING
Senteo Rating 2.5

It’s All About Work. Organizing Your Company To Get Work Done
Christopher R. Clement, Stephen D. Clement, 2013
Senteo’s Review information

The central argument of this book is that the most important factor in an organization’s success is proper organizational structure that maximizes productivity. The underlying point is that poor organizational structure means that people working in the organization spend too much time and energy figuring out who should be doing what, instead of, well, doing it.

This book is based heavily on the work of Dr Elliott Jaques, an academic who studied organizational theory and first coined the term ‘Requisite Organization’. As such, the book is quite heavy on theoretical concepts and technical terminology. In the interest of keeping the review accessible, we have avoided using the precise technical terminology.

The Clements begin their work from first principles, by first outlining that the purpose of any organization is to get work done. They continue by stating that almost invariably this work entails the provision of goods or services to a customer; therefore, the organizational structure of any business must be centred around analyzing and fulfilling the customer’s needs above all else.

The authors put forward a framework consisting of 5 basic principles, which they liberally illustrate with examples. The five principles are as follows:

  1.  Establish the Correct Number of Organizational Levels. Each ‘level’ within an organization must have a clear value-adding purpose. Too many levels and the organization ends up over-managed; too few and it will lack direction and managers will struggle to keep track of the work being done.
  2.  Clearly Define Accountability and Authority: People in the organization should have a clear understanding of what they are responsible for and whom they report to. People in supervisory roles should have authority to, if necessary, compel others to work.
  3.  Clearly Define Working Relationships: Relationships that cut across normal organizational boundaries are commonplace and indeed necessary for effective work. These relationships are often ad-hoc. Instead, they should be clearly defined to reduce miscommunications and misunderstandings.
  4.  Continually Assess Individual Working Capability: The performance of individuals, and especially leaders and managers, in organizations must be constantly scrutinised to ensure that they improve and that only the best get promoted.
  5.  Ensure that Managers Are Competent to Lead: Effective leadership requires 2 conditions – organizational and psychological.

a.  The organizational conditions of leadership are proper structure. It ensures that managers at every level can focus on the managerial tasks that actually provide value, as opposed to bureaucratic ‘turf wars’ and other distractions.

b.    The psychological conditions of leadership essentially come down to ‘how far is this or that individual suited to exercise the functions and duties of the managerial role’. Managers must first and foremost be able to do their own work well, or else others will have no confidence in their leadership, as this will create the impression that their judgment is inadequate.

Many books on leadership are full of fluff with no meaningful content. This book is not like that. The book is very candid in pointing out that effective leadership in business is something that comes from effectively executing mundane, routine, repetitive tasks and ensuring that others below you in the hierarchy can do the same. This is a point that is often forgotten in current vogue, which emphasises teaching people how to be ‘inspirational leaders’, to inspire and win the hearts and minds of your employees, rather than effective managers, who divide tasks and ensure that they are done properly.

While on the whole the book is well structured, it could benefit from greater concision – the co-authors write in a fairly repetitive way. The book is also quite heavy on organizational theory and related technical terminology. While one can still understand it, the jargon may prove a barrier to readers unfamiliar with business management theory.

Furthermore, this book offers a fairly traditional view of organizational, and suffers from a lack of attention to more modern business models, such as Agile and networks of teams. The Senteo methodology, building on recent business literature, explains why decentralized organizations are better positioned to take advantage of business opportunities than centralized, rigidly hierarchical organizations. We would recommend following some of our courses on organizational transformation to find out more.

It’s All About Work; Organizing Your Company To Get Work Done shows the reader how to attack organizational challenges from a sound theoretical base that is both practical and realistic. The Clements propose such a method by describing five simple principles around which every company should organize. With vivid and powerful stories, they explain these principles and demonstrate how you can put them into action in your company. These principles are audacious in their very simplicity because they focus on the art and science of getting work done. And getting work done efficiently and effectively is why organizations exist.

This book is a good start for those leaders and executives who seek to oversee and implement organizational change. This book outlines the basic guiding principles of what this change should achieve as well as some practical advice on how to implement it. However, the nature of this change is rather generalist in that it will make the organization more efficient at getting work done – for those who are interested in taking organizational change one step further, towards building a relationship-centric organization, we recommend our very own Senteo Methodology.

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    It’s All About Work. Organizing Your Company To Get Work Done
    Christopher R. Clement, Stephen D. Clement, 2013
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