The Orbit Organization
Anne Schüller says companies need a purpose. At its core, this work is all about purpose. Companies need a purpose, more roles, instead of functions. What is a purpose? First of all, a current buzzword. The purpose, added value, utility or purpose of a product or service for a customer. If this purpose is strong and clear enough, say the successful authors and keynote speakers Anne M. Schüller and Alex Steffen, customers will be attracted sufficiently strongly. This – in the figurative sense “magnetic” – attraction leads to the company’s success in the medium term. 2 orbits then orbit around this nucleus “purpose”. Orbit 1 are “employees, partners and managers”. Orbit number 2 is the “management”.
On the first 100 pages, the authors use countless examples to prove why traditional organizational models are not useful for the future. These examples and stories read exactly as the authors give lectures: Very entertaining. You don’t hear yourself saying “no”. The reader can usually agree and feels comfortable with it.
That’s the best thing about this book in my opinion:
You feel comfortable, understood, see yourself 100% involved and can somehow agree to (almost) everything. The authors spin wonderfully fine threads “around the reader”, who is drawn deeper and deeper into the topic. And best of all: They put their finger so sensitively in the wound that it doesn’t even hurt.
The ideal company described by the authors must be adaptive, anticipatory and agile! Exactly. It’s that simple.
The whole book is an extensive collection of cooking recipes,
with an incredible number of ingredients from the most diverse provenances or experiences of the authors. A nice potpourri. In your head – while reading – it tastes very delicious. And that’s the main thing. Hunger comes with reading. The only challenge that the reader still has ahead of him: the recooking. And that is perhaps a small weakness of the book. The individual recipes are in no order or prioritization. The reader has to put this together himself. He must hope that he combines the right amount of “that” or “that” with a pinch of “this” without the soup tasting salty.
Is everything the authors write correct and resilient?
A lot of things, yes, but I don’t think that’s the claim at all. The book encourages reflection and rethinking. It motivates the reader to: “Change your path! Make something of it!”. The authors give simple, comprehensible instructions, repeatedly put together thematically appropriate lists of questions, on the basis of which the reader can check or hang around.
Anne Schüller says companies need a purpose. A lot of familiar things are also mentioned or summarized in a slightly different form – just “around the purpose”: E.g. More to act in roles and less in functions. Or: Managers only decide to a limited extent themselves, but set the goal and the framework, build bridges.
Whether there has to be a Chief Culture Manager or Chief Agility Manager, for example, in addition to the CDO, CCO, CXO …, everyone has to decide for themselves. Therefore, as the authors repeatedly emphasize, roles are more important than functions.
It needs distributed competencies in the company, it needs more intrapreneurs (we also had that 10 years ago). Objectives and Key Results (OKR) instead of Management by Objectives (MbO) is basically a good suggestion.
To remain flexible, a company needs more partners. These are intended to compensate for missing competencies and capacity fluctuations: “Make or Buy” becomes “Make, Buy or Collaborate”. They ask you to test, share, and learn more. I support testing 100%!
I really liked the chapter on bridge builders.
This is one of the seams or adhesive dots for a functioning, flexible organization. Those who overcome the silo culture will achieve significantly more success and create a better corporate culture.
Conclusion: The strength of the book is,
that there are many examples of why what doesn’t work. The authors ask many important questions. There are extensive instructions for action. Sometimes I wished for them a little more concretely. The book thrives on many examples and theses that encourage people to say “Yes, that’s right” or “I feel the same way” or “Do I know”. This creates good reader involvement. The impetus for rethinking is made with this book. It is not for nothing that the book was a finalist at the International Book Award 2019.
With the abundance of theses and arguments, I have not found one thing: The clear statement “A functionally structured organization with a hierarchical management style is not a basis for customer-oriented thinking and acting.” Without this – in my opinion – necessary change, a company does not create a profitable purpose and is therefore poorly positioned for the coming, ever faster developing changes.
When putting it into practice, readers will encounter many more obstacles. In this respect, this book is a perfect template for “building bridges” for us. That is, to continue exactly where the authors left off: in the implementation.
Image source: Website of Anne M. Schüller
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Note: This is a machine translation. It is neither 100% complete nor 100% correct. We can therefore not guarantee the result.