Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Brave New Work (Aaron Dignan)

Author Aaron Dignan's Brave New Work tackles the organization spiral of suck that many of our employers embody on a regular basis. It puts forth numerous suggestions on how to fix dysfunction in the corporate world in order to improve company performance, increase diversity of thought and talent, and enhance employee engagement.

Dignan spends much of the book tackling the concept of a company’s operating system (or OS). There are twelve main parts of the OS canvas that he advocates as critical to improve and transform companies - from purpose (just what on earth are we doing and why) to compensation (how much do we pay and how do we go about it). The critical takeaways include transparency, openness, freedom to fail, and freedom to work. Meetings for the sake of meetings are certainly frowned upon in Dignan's model; he advocates for work with purpose and honesty.

Obviously, this is not the first business realignment book that’s come down the pike, nor will be it the last. Pieces of what Dignan advocates are borrowed from other business transformation leaders like Adam Grant and Ray Dalio, both of whom also wrote books that I have reviewed and recommended well. This particular book is an especially effective asset to any company leader that is walking into a strategic planning cycle or has hit bumps in the road of growth. Given many people in the corporate world have slogged through long meetings and have gotten zero collaborative information sharing out of it, Brave New Work offers another needed argument for corporations to think big, brave, and different about how they function (and to trust that their employees are talented enough to increase the company’s performance in the process).