Brave New Work: Are You Ready to Reinvent Your Organization?
February 18, 2019
What’s stopping us from doing the best work of our lives? According to Aaron Dignan, It's the way we work.
What’s stopping us from doing the best work of our lives? It's the way we work. Bureaucracy. Hierarchy. Compliance. Everything that slows us down and makes us feel less human. Our organizations are broken. But we can fix them. Aaron Dignan helps organizations—from small companies to global corporations—eliminate red tape and awaken their innate ability to self-organize and self-manage. His book Brave New Work (2/19/19; Portfolio) is the new go-to manual for leaders seeking to lead their organizations to a more adaptive and human future.
Our way of working was invented on a factory floor more than 100 years ago (see image on right!). The world has changed immeasurably since then, but our work lives have stayed remarkably similar. Nearly everyone, from Wall Street to Silicon Valley, points to the same frustrations: lack of trust, bottlenecks in decision making, siloed functions/ teams, meeting and email overload, tiresome budgeting, short-term thinking, and more. But few cultures ever transcend these habits.
Why? Because we have failed to recognize that organizations aren’t machines to be predicted and controlled. They’re complex human systems full of potential waiting to be released.
Dignan says you can’t fix a team, department, or organization by tinkering around the edges. Over the years, he has helped his clients completely reinvent their operating systems—the fundamental principles and practices that shape their culture—with extraordinary success. And they’re not alone.
- A bank that abandoned traditional budgeting, only to outperform its competition for decades.
- An appliance manufacturer that divided itself into 2,000 autonomous teams, resulting not in chaos but rapid growth.
- A healthcare provider with an HQ of just 50 people supporting over 14,000 in the field—named “best place to work” year after year.
- A team that saved $3 million per year by cancelling one monthly meeting.
Their stories may sound improbable, but Brave New Work shows exactly how they and other organizations are inventing a smarter, healthier, and more effective way to work through a groundswell of autonomy, trust, and transparency.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Aaron Dignan is the founder of The Ready, an organization design and transformation firm that helps institutions like Johnson & Johnson, Charles Schwab, Kaplan, Microsoft, Lloyds Bank, Citibank, Edelman, Airbnb, Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, and charity: water change the way they work. He is a cofounder of responsive.org, an investor in purpose-driven startups, and a friend to misfit toys. He lives in Colorado with his wife and son.
Learn more: BraveNewWork.com or TheReady.com or @aarondignan
This giveaway is brought to by Portfolio, an imprint of Penguin Random House. We have 20 copies available.
“This is the management book of the year. Clear, powerful and urgent, it's a must read for anyone who cares about where they work and how they work.”
—Seth Godin, author of This is Marketing
“I am now a convert. Aaron sums up all the crazy ideas about how to create teams and companies that maximize their potential by decentralizing their power—a once idealist notion that is now possible and essential. For a book that might start a revolution, it's surprisingly practical and undogmatic. There’s no fluff—it's all meat, and real news. I could think of dozens of people I know who I now want to read and study it.”
—Kevin Kelly, author of The Inevitable, and cofounder, Wired magazine
“If you’re trying to create a world-changing culture, reading Brave New Work should be your next move. Aaron’s simple, counterintuitive approach will help you get out of your own way, eliminate bureaucracy, and awaken the humanity within.”
—Scott Harrison, founder, charity: water, and author of Thirst
“This book is a breath of fresh air. Aaron Dignan offers a bold, ennobling vision for a world of work that enhances our dignity and freedom rather than degrading and constraining us. Read it now, and make sure your boss does too.”
“The one-size-fits-all monoculture is a thing of the past. Brave New Work shows us how to embrace the oh-so-human complexity of our organizations—and discover a new way of working that makes room for the many styles, perspectives, needs, and gifts trapped inside them.”
—Susan Cain, author of Quiet, cofounder of Quiet Revolution
“Complexity conscious. People positive. These words from Aaron’s book keep ringing in my ears as I work. He reframes the way we see companies and the way we see each other inside them, and gives us practical tools to transform ourselves and our environments. Whether you lead a company, work at one, or imagine yourself founding one someday, read this book immediately and start an evolution.”
—Miguel McKelvey, cofounder, WeWork
Human beings can’t thrive in a work culture that uses burnout and 'being always on' as proxies for dedication and success. In Brave New Work, Aaron Dignan shows us that, in fact, workplaces that empower people to take care of themselves are far more likely to deliver sustainable performance and happiness.”
—Arianna Huffington, Founder & CEO, Thrive Global
“We tend to look for answers by looking reflectively backwards—it’s what we’ve all been taught in school. But Dignan insists that the "best practices" of the past no longer work because the bureaucracies of existing organizations have been defeated by new technologies. Instead we can only find those answers by "living in the now” the way a new breed of organization is already beginning to master.”
—John Maeda, Head of Computational Design & Inclusion, Automattic
“I really never believed in any of this organizational stuff until I saw Aaron Dignan at work. He can help almost any dysfunctional group find common purpose, discern the simple patterns underlying the most complex situations, and guide wayward organizations back to their core values. Most impressively, he can translate all that into language even a businessperson can understand and enjoy.”
—Douglas Rushkoff, author of Team Human
“This book will teach you to wrestle and win against workplace bureaucracy. Aaron cuts to the core of what makes teams successful by realigning hearts, minds, and egos. He always sparks better outcomes, and his book will be just the spark you need to get started.”
—Beth Comstock, author, Imagine It Forward, and former Vice Chair,