Nowadays there’s no shortage of books about progressive organisational thinking. They vary widely from messianic tomes through deep model thinking through to fanboy texts about the latest start-up fad.
In reality, while they all add something to the emerging body of knowledge about this fascinating field, many don’t offer the everyday executive any useful way into this new and unfamiliar world of work.
Often the underlying concepts require understanding of other theories and practices to be able to make sense of them, making it hard for a newcomer to this brave new world to find an easy way in.
It’s this gap that Lead Together: The Bold, Brave, Intentional Path to Scaling Your Business by Brent Lowe, Susan Basterfield, and Travis Marsh, seeks to fill. The book makes a strong case for a different future of work to the well-trodden path of traditional organisational thinking, captured neatly in five principles based on the authors’ research with more than 60 businesses worldwide.
As its title suggests, Lead Together is a book aimed at leaders, particularly those seeking to scale businesses with a focus on self-organisation and self-management. It will appeal to leaders who recognise there are alternative ways to scale that harness the latent potential of people and don’t constrain them as top-down Taylorist management approaches do.
Underlying progressive concepts are explored in just enough detail to enable the reader to understand and evaluate, without seeking to be a universal textbook for the many models and techniques developing in progressive workplaces.
Case studies are neatly woven into the text, demonstrating the practical application of techniques by leaders. For readers wanting to explore further, there are plenty of recommendations to books, blogs and podcasts.
The book elegantly avoids the trap of failing to critically evaluate the contextual relevance of a particular model. What works in one place won’t necessarily work in another – and Lead Together nicely helps explain why that’s the case.
I particularly liked the practicality of the book. Having read it cover to cover initially, I’ve found myself dipping into particular chapters as I’ve faced unfamiliar challenges at work.
Since I received it last year, it’s become the one book that sits on my desk rather than on the bookshelf. Its pages are littered with annotations, highlights and post-it notes from the numerous times I’ve referenced it since. It continues to make a real difference to my leadership practice and thinking most days.
Simon is Chief Operating Officer at The Panoply – a UK-based rapidly growing purpose-driven design and technology business. He specialises in designing and leading effective organisations with a focus on progressive management approaches. www.simonwakeman.com