Synopsis

This is the remarkable story of how a company was transformed from a failing business to a highly successful enterprise by making brave and radical changes to the way the employees work. It tracks a ten year journey from a conventional organisation with management controls and centralised overhead functions, to a self-leading organisational model where every individual in the company runs a complete virtual business. The result is a highly productive work environment with improved profits, increased product quality, less waste, more agility, greater liquidity and high staff engagement.

The two owners of the company took advice from consultants and tried all the conventional ‘Lean’ & ‘Agile ‘ solutions, only to find that they were superficial and made temporary improvements at best. So they used their design skills to fundamentally restructure the business. They stopped telling people what their job was and started to tell them what results were expected. This success story shows up the inefficiencies of conventional hierarchical and departmentalised organisations and the clear benefits of having individuals take responsibility for all business processes to deliver an outcome. Unlike companies that have layers of management, decisions are made by the people that will have to implement them.

The result is a form of ‘responsible autonomy’ which is both challenging and rewarding for the individuals involved. But it takes bold leadership for the directors of a business to throw away the rule book and introduce a new model of work and it takes a multi-skilled workforce to implement it. This book provides a thought-provoking insight into the future of work. It challenges the role of conventional management and centralised support functions. It shows that organisations can operate successfully without the huge cost and burden of bureaucracy. It’s an example of self-leadership that cannot be ignored.

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