I'm really excited to announce that my new book is being released this week. The book is called The Advantage, and the subtitle is Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Business. It is certainly the most comprehensive and important book I've written to date, bringing many of the concepts from my previous books and consulting practice together in one place.
Now, I realize that the subtitle is a pretty bold statement, but I honestly believe it's true. Let me explain why.
Most leaders who are looking for a competitive advantage for their organizations tend to focus on the classic, intellectual pursuits of business. These include things like strategy, marketing, finance and technology. As important as those subjects are, they have lost much of their impact because they've become so commoditized.
In this age of ubiquitous information where everyone has instant access to just about everything via the internet, it's almost impossible to establish and protect an advantage based on knowledge. Ideas just spread too rapidly these days. Even the smallest, most basic organizations are using relatively sophisticated financial, strategic and technological tools. In effect, they have become permission to play.
However, there is one particularly nasty set of problems that remains largely unsolved in most companies. It erodes productivity and morale, and drives the best employees away. Moreover, it prevents an organization from tapping into its intelligence and talent around those traditional subjects like strategy, finance, marketing, etc. What I'm talking about is organizational politics and confusion.
Healthy organizations minimize politics and confusion, raising morale and productivity to levels that their competitors could never imagine. They also attract and retain the best people. And if all that weren't enough, they tap into all the intelligence they have and almost always find ways to get smarter. I can't imagine a bigger competitive advantage than that.
And yet, most leaders still spend the majority of their time and energy trying to make their organizations smarter. This makes sense because that's how they've been trained, and that's where they're most comfortable. They usually prefer quantitative, objective and impersonal topics to more integrative, holistic and relatively subjective ones, even if those topics yield relatively little benefit and leave their organizations mired in a lack of health.
So how does an organization go about becoming healthy? Well, that's what The Advantage is about. Of course, the solution is not terribly complicated. More than complexity, intelligence or experience, it requires courage, common sense and persistence. It involves a four-pronged approach that can be applied in a matter of days and weeks, and which yields marked results within a month or two. The process is as engaging and practical as it is reliable.
If you decide to pick up a copy and read The Advantage, I hope that it allows you to transform your organization, whether it is a corporation, a department within that corporation, a small entrepreneurial venture, a school or a church. It's my goal that one day in the future, the simple principles contained here will be common practice, and that salespeople, busboys, bank tellers, CEOs, and everyone else who works in an organization will be more productive, successful and fulfilled as a result.