This is a management book that challenges convention and aims to appeal to a wide target audience. Seddon argues that while many commentators acknowledge command and control is failing us, no one provides an alternative. His contention is the alternative can only be understood when you see the failings of command and control by taking the better – systems – view. There is little in the book that you would find in a normal management curriculum. Seddon is scathing and controversial about leadership theorists, maintaining that leadership is being able to talk about how the work works with the people who do it. The book provides practical advice and examples of how to put this into place. Packed with illustrations of the unintended consequences of command and control thinking, you will be amazed that management of our organizations should be so appalling. You will see how customer service is poor and carries high costs and that changing the way the work is designed and managed will result in lower costs and better service. But, as Seddon points out, these are things managers cannot “see” from their current position. Managers don’t know what they don’t know. Seddon’s case is that taking this view teaches managers to change their thinking, and he shows how the very observations they make when understanding what he calls “the what and why of current performance as a system” become the building blocks of the systems solution. And also illustrates the solutions for the cases he uses.
You can buy the book here