Take a journey down into the inner-workings of organizations as they strive to meet the addiction-fuelled expectations of their stakeholders – what they do and what they don’t do. Moreover, don’t just look through the eyes of success, but look also through the eyes of failure and learn both from what you see, and from what you don’t see.
This is what the authors do in Addicted to Performance as they explore what was going on inside a few organizations prior to the occurrence of a major incident/accident, catastrophe or disaster event. They wanted to know what the leaders were thinking and what the workforce was doing, or for that matter, not doing.
- Was there evidence of pressure being exerted on the organization in some way?
- Did the actions of the leadership or culture, shape or nurture, maybe even create, the environments from which these organizational accidents, catastrophes or disasters emerged?
Some of the Questions They Asked:
- Why did things go so wrong on the oil-drilling rig DeepWater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010? Was it simply an accident or was there more to it than that?
- What was the role of organizational culture in the National Australia Bank trader fraud in 2004?
- How did budget cuts and consequent reductions in resources and manpower contribute to the loss of RAF Nimrod XV230 over Afghanistan in 2006?
- Did organizational culture have anything to do with the windscreen of a British Airways BAC One-Eleven blowing out over Oxfordshire in 1990?
- Who or what blinded regulators like the Financial Services Authority in the United Kingdom, to the systemic risk hidden deep inside the business models of the country’s financial institutions prior to the Global Financial Crisis in 2007-2008?
As the story unfolds, the plight of modern-day organizations becomes more and more apparent. They are trapped in the pursuit of the efficiencies necessary to satisfy society’s addiction to “more-for-less.” Their leaders, as society’s proxies, are seemingly unable or unwillingly to do anything except follow the herd. They too, it seems, are trapped.
There is no one or guaranteed way to escape this trap, and simply emulating what others have done or are doing will not be enough. Leaders have to look through, as it were, the filters of their own world view – to look beyond their own experiences, knowledge and beliefs to include those of others. Their challenge is to confront the reality of their organization’s current situation and circumstances, to recontextualize this reality into an emergent future and to devise ways to secure it. Transformative leadership is required. Many leaders, however, have neither the capability nor the desire to engage in the conflict and graft inherent in such a challenge.
Leaders are, after all, society’s proxies!
This Book – Who Should Read It?
Who should read this book – a book that the authors’ hope will stimulate thought, enhance understanding and possibly even elicit the occasional “I get it…” epiphany?
Any incumbent or aspiring politician, director, executive, senior manager, government official, community leader or student for that matter should, we humbly suggest, take the time to think about the many ways in which leadership and culture, pressure for performance and systemic risk all combine to shape an organization’s future. A future that can reflect the past – more of the same – or be recontextualized into an emergent new future by an engaged and innovative workforce.
To review the table of contents and a selection of excerpts from the book, please click the link. More »»