Sociotechnical: High Performance Organizations

I’ve just finished reading David Hanna’s excellent book, Designing Organization for High Performance.  The book is one of those books that you almost want to re-read again from cover to cover because its so full of interesting pieces of useful information.  You also want to get as many people to read this book as possible for the same reason.  Here’s my condensed view of the book.  A number of these points should be re-read again and again to gain the full depth of the mean:

  • Page 36 – A fantastic quote I used in a recent blog posting.  It basically means, to get better results, improve the organization design, but in changing the organization design, be careful not to impact what is already working

All organization are perfectly designed to get the results they get!

  • Page 39 – Continuation of the above point with more detail, which leads to assessment of the organization
  • Page 40 – The Organization  Performance Model (OPM)
  • Page 42 – Culture.  Unlike some peoples views, culture is not like air.  Hanna prefers to think of culture as the

    observable work habits and practices that explain how the organization really works

  • Page 51 – Design elements from a company that had an impressive record of meeting project commitments.
  • Page 56 – Define the purpose of an organization – without the business strategy, you are probably wasting your time trying to design a high performance organization! – Purpose, Mission, etc.
  • Page 66 – A more detail diagram of page 40.
  • Page 69 – Two brilliant quotes, from Marvin Weisbord:

What you look at is what you see

What theory you use determines what you look for

  • Page 70 – OP Framework.  Make connections in the data with two questions


So What?

  • Page 75 – Some interesting cause-and-effect from the perspective of “Culture” (SIMI)
  • Page 77 – Short-term management views can impact the staff, and thus products
  • Page 81 – Organization Performance Review set of questions.  9 questions.  Try them in your department 😉  Here’s the first question:

Is the result satisfactory?

  • Page 101 – Internal Myopia = focusing on internal operations, and ignoring important signals from their environment.
  • Page 134 – Hanna’s 1-6 points sound very….agile 🙂
  • Page 141 – Organizing Work Teams, and the Packers example.   More agile 🙂
  • Page 142 – Team Design Check-list
  • Page 157 – Design for results and self-sufficiency.
  • Page 159 – A good read on culture changes, driven my critical mass.
  • Page 160 – Cultural Attributes of HPOs; strong, radical leaders, with a clear vision.
  • Page 165 – Remember the basics!
  • Page 175 – New Leader Syndrome?
  • Page 182 – Maginot Lines in Management.   I’ve seen this in a number of places – managers hiding behind their own Maginot lines

Overall, excellent book.  Well worth a read for anyone looking to get more out of their organization





~ by mdavey on September 16, 2013.

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