What are some good books that you have READ and APPLIED regarding organizational design?

What are some good books that you have READ and APPLIED regarding organizational design?


Depending on how you’re thinking about org design (structural vs. cultural), I found some good valuable learnings in An Everyone Culture: Becoming a Deliberately Developmental Organization, by Lisa Lahey & Robert Kegan, with some strong examples of how those components have been integrated at organizations.


Powerful: Building a Culture of Freedom and Responsibility by Patty McCord is a good, quick read on designing an organization alongside culture.

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As @JoshBerm mentioned above, I think this really depends on what aspect of organizational design you’re thinking about. Some favorites of mine…

  1. The Fifth Discipline by Peter Senge: This is an older one, but for me is where a lot of modern thinking around ‘systems thinking’ and the idea of ‘learning organizations’ stem from. It does a great job of balancing the tension of ‘structural vs cultural’ org design principles and continues to be a go-to reference for me, even after reading it for the first time about 10 years ago.

  2. The Principles of Product Development Flow by Donald G. Reinertsen: This is tough reading. It’s very pragmatic and even mathematical but it’s probably the book with the most APPLICABLE lessons for me in the past 5 years, because it’s basically a primer on applying agile thinking to the problem space of managing work through a system of people with throughput in mind, not efficiency. It took me a lot to read it, but I applied several lessons from this that I still lean on most days.

  3. Spiral Dynamics by Chris Cowan and Don Beck: Then, there’s the big one. I use some aspect of Spiral Dynamics in most of my daily interactions and work, although I’m probably less conscious than I was when I was learning the framework. The spiral framework can be a bit controversial, but if you approach it with a pragmatic lens to start with I think you’ll find it to be an incredibly useful ‘map’ to help you navigate the territory you find yourself in. I think the book is now out of print, but this is the canonical version you’ll want to read.

Finally, for something a tiny bit different…

The Everything Store by Brad Stone: This doesn’t directly talk about org design, but instead follows the journey of Jeff Bezos and early Amazon. As part of telling that story, it contains a great amount of examples and practical ideas you could try tomorrow.


Great suggestions so far! I would also add Guide to Organizational Design & Organizational Health, both by Naomi Stanford. These are considered more traditional org design books and I find them helpful in laying the foundation for some of the other titles listed above.

For the non-conformists out there, I will always recommend Reinventing Organizations by Frédéric Laloux. Many have called this book transformational to the way they view organizational work.

Happy reading! :+1:


I also love “Reinventing Organisations” by Frederic Laloux. Lots of things to challenge some traditional thinking in there…


As has already been mentioned, Org Design means different things to different people, but here are some good books on the subject (in no particular order):

  • Beyond Performance (Keller and Price) - a favourite of mine
  • Start With Why (Sinek) - given an understanding of your ‘why’ will help form your OD approach
  • An Everyone Culture: Becoming a Deliberately Developmental Organization (Kegan, Lahey et al) - another plug for a cultural viewpoint on OD
  • Organization Design (Stanford) - something of a bible from the person that taught me

Reinventing Organizations … life-changing book for me and others who have used and applied it

These are some books which we’ve used as muses to inspire how we go about our organizational design (be it team structure, role design, workflow management, people development, etc)

  • The Manager’s Path - Camille Fournier

  • Powerful - Patty McCord

  • Primed to Perform - Lindsay McGregor & Neel Doshi

  • Accelerate: Building Strategic Agility for a Faster-Moving World - John P. Kotter

  • The Making of a Manager - Julie Zhuo

  • Creativity Inc - Ed Catmull

  • Good to Great - Jim Collins


My favs that I’ve read:

  1. 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey
  2. Built to Last & Good to Great, Jim Collins
  3. Who moved my cheese, Spencer Johnson
  4. Primed to Perform, Lindsay McGregor & Neel Doshi
  5. Elastic, Leonard Mlodinow
  6. What to do when the machines do everything, Malcolm Frank,Paul Roehrig & Ben Pring
  7. Dare to lead, Brene Brown

My books list:

  1. Employee Engagement 2.0, Kevin Kruse
  2. 21 Lessons for the 21st Century, Yuval Noah Harari
  3. Hooked, Nir Eyal
  4. Every Monday Matters, Matthew Emerzian
  5. Raise Your Game, Alan Stein, Jon Sternfeld
  6. The Power of a Positive Team, Jon Gordon
  7. S.M.I.L.E, Steve M Rigby
  8. Be Fearless, Jean Case
  9. Bring Your Whole Self to Work, Mike Robbins
  10. Team Human, Douglas Rushkoff
  11. Master Your Mind, Roger Seip, Robb Zbierski
  12. Farsighted, Steven Johnson
  13. Joyful, Ingrid Fetell Lee
  14. Ninja Future, Gary Shapiro
  15. Go Long, Dennis Carey, Brian Dumaine, Michael Useem, Rodney Zemmel

The Power of Company Culture - Chris Dyer.
A straightforward, really helpful guide to company culture.

Dear All,

I recently read Laszlo Bock’s new book, He was the Head of HR- Google for many years. He shared many insights from Google about their HR Practices. They have 50.00 employees all over the world and were selected as the ‘’ Best Employee ‘’ Great Employee’’ for many years for their practices across the world in the last 15 years.

I fully recommend you to read this book as well.

As you might expect, there were a number of things that felt unique to Google (i.e.- multi-million dollar stock grants they can offer employee #10,000+), or seem like ideas as “Pay Unfairly).

However, the exceptions shouldn’t prevent us from learning and applying some of the lessons and research shared in this book. Any leader / HR person can benefit from some of Laslzlo Bock’s Rules. Consider these lessons as battle-tested, scientific approaches we can apply at our workplace at our discretion.

Here you can see some suggestions for us to apply in our organizations:

· Give 15% innovation time for employees

· HQ employees meet with customers- visit branches

· Monthly employee update & Q&A meetings- NBF Talks

· All bank KPI’s are shared with all employees

· Improve Innovation Lab, Use it extensively, practically, put Library at Happiness Center

· Culture analysis- what kind of culture we have? Search it through Separate survey or in ESS

· Leverage Recruitment Process. Hire the best. Do everything to recruit the best.

· Share feedback with all interviewed participants and survey them and get their experiences/ suggestions

· Interview database. All interviewers use same database and collect reviews and take the average of all interviewers’ ratings.

*Google has developed a number of interesting practices to improve their hiring as they grew explosively and wanted to maintain a high bar for hires. The have applied a few key rules that has helped them in their data-driven approach to hiring the right people:
•Subordinates should interview their future managers to ensure they’ll be excited to work for them.
•They have a “Cross functional interviewer” to ensure a person isn’t hired out of desperation or because the role has been open for too long.
•The optimal number of interviewers is 4 to avoid too few or too many interviewers spending time on a candidate.

· Use employees as trainers- create internal trainers pool.

· Diversity & Inclusion- check women’s progress- pdr, promotion statistics and encourage them to apply more, negotiate more, progress more

· Survey for performance management and ask user’s perceptions on our processes.

· Department Calibration meetings for PDR ratings- before managers confirm ratings and discus with employees, all department managers do a calibration meetings and agree on ratings for team members, agree on bell curve and actions.

· Teach performance biases to managers especially for PDR Times.

· Performance review and objective setting/ development meetings must be different. We should encourage 2 separate meetings.

· Prepare Performance Review/ Development meeting manuals to managers

· Employees are assessed by his/ her peers through 360 survey.

· Work on low performers- agree on their development plans. Work on high performers- create their career development plans

· What makes a great Boss- 10 tips- share with NBF Managers- Google oxygen Project findings

10 behaviors of Google’s best managers,

  1. Is a good coach

  2. Empowers team and does not micromanage

  3. Creates an inclusive team environment, showing concern for success and well-being

  4. Is productive and results-oriented

  5. Is a good communicator–listens and shares information

  6. Supports career development and discusses performance

  7. Has a clear vision/strategy for the team

  8. Has key technical skills to help advise the team

  9. Collaborates across [the company]

  10. Is a strong decision maker

· Performance management analyze for managers- what they have given (as a rating) to their teams for the last 3 years? What they have taken from them- 360, BLM, ESS? Review and compare with others and decide trends and development points.

· Department’s PDR ratings for 3 years- compare/ review

· 360, BLM survey to managers but all results will be shared with them

· Use upward manager’s feedback survey. Separately or as part of other initiatives.

Through these surveys, managers are able to sit down with their teams and address issues. Managers also have tangible data to talk with their HR Business Partners about how they can improve.

The results? In two years, overall manager scores went up from 83 percent to 88 percent favorable, and their worst managers rose from 70 percent to 77 percent favorable. As Bock put it, “It’s actually become harder to be a bad manager.”

· Short sessions to managers- 1-A manager as a developer, 2-Career Conversations to educate them on key skills.

· Use best employees (Top Talent, High Performers) as trainers

· Put KPI’s for each training and follow up

· Stop any programs which does not create/ add any value.

· Share manager’s responsibilities with managers in terms of training transfer/ learning enforcement

· Learning 70 20 10 Model- review the processes and think evaluation processes for each

· Enhance rotation process- encourage rotations

· Follow Kirkpatrick training evaluation model- level 1 2 3 4

· Leverage Shukran Process- points, kudos, certificates, forum style

· Share all rewards and recognition tools with employees openly

· Offer free stuff. For NBF dry cleaning, holiday fairs, MBA fairs,

· For Google free / subsidized/ paid stuff see below:

So how do they do it?

Google has found that many businesses would like to sell to Google’s employees. So they use their bargaining power as a source of 50,000 potential customers to get discounts. They also often ask employees to pay for using the perk as you can see in the image for things like dry cleaning, bike repairs, and hair salons

· Bring your kids day- once in a year

· Bring your mother/ father day- once in a year

· Company Talks- Bring successful people to your company. Make them have speeches and publish them in Youtube.

· Flexible working hours- Give employees 3 options –work between 7.00-3.30 or 8.00-4.30 or 09.00-5.30

· Employees run Mystery Shopping- for NBF’s services.

· Compensation to wife’s/ families in case of an employee’s loss of life- paying 50% of salaries 5/10 years, supporting kid’s education until they reach 18.

· Extended maternity leave- 4 months

· Give bonus/additional money/ support to new mums, dads- 1000$

· Send e-mail to managers 1 day before new joiners join for their roles/ expectations

· Send new joiners an e-mail for being proactive- short guidelines.

· Meet/ brief buddies for their role and enhance buddy system

· Improve new joiners on-boarding process

· For information security, physical security, floor security use creative posters=

· Healthy foods/ awareness at restaurants
The Good: Make healthy food prominent, downplay the candy.

In an effort to make their employees eat healthier, especially for between meal snacks, Google redesigned their snack kitchens. Healthy snacks like dried fruits and nuts were prominently displayed in clear containers, while candy was placed in containers with small labels in harder to reach areas.

The results from these small changes were impressive. By simply taking advantage of the impact of proximity to food, Google was able to:
•Reduce total calories consumed from candy by 30%
•Drop the proportion of fat consumed by 40%
•Eat 3.1 million fewer calories in just 7 weeks of the experiment in their Google New York office

Charged by the success of this experiment, they rolled out these changes across all the company’s offices.

Foods for thoughts…

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I’ll recommend LEVERS OF ORGANIZATION DESIGN by Robert Simons

The one book I use time and time again is Designing Dynamic Organizations: A Hands-on Guide for Leaders at All Levels. It’s practical.

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Designing Your Organization by Amy Kates and Jay Galbraith – incredible primer on org design that covers everything and is really focused on designing for results. They have follow-up books that are more specialized.