"This masterful book is a delight to read—articulate, provocative and illuminating. It isn’t merely radical, it’s revolutionary!"
CEO, Mandalay Entertainment Group
"Denning has written an original and brilliant book which transforms "radical management" into doable and, more
important, indispensable management. Also an indispensable read!"
Distinguished Professor of Business,
University of Southern California
"Steve Denning is one of today’s most acute and creative critics of traditional management
thinking. This is a wonderful book--witty, candid and erudite."
Co-author of Working Knowledge and What’s the Big Idea?
"To reinvent America and the world, we desperately need radical, new leadership and management. Stephen shows the way."
Mark Victor Hansen
Co-creator, Chicken Soup for the Soul
"Denning goes to the root of the management issues confronting companies today. Focusing on seven core principles, he lays out a pragmatic roadmap for shifting the corporation from a focus on scalable efficiency to a focus on delighting the customer and each other, while achieving even higher levels of productivity. In the process, he creates a space where we all can more fully achieve our potential.”
Co-Chairman, Deloitte Center for the Edge
"The Leader’s Guide to Radical Management delivers. It delivers insight into why today’s broken
institutions don’t work. It delivers the principles and practices that can reinvent them. It
delivers powerful examples of organizations that are doing it —and some that aren’t — and it
delivers the tools to help you start digging a new foundation."
Jim Kouzes, coauthor of the bestselling The Leadership Challenge
"Steve Denning is the Warren Buffett of business communication. He sees things others don't and is able to explain them so the rest of us can understand.”
Chip Heath, co-author of Made to Stick
"Steve Denning is one of the leading thinkers on the power of narrative in business settings."
Daniel H. Pink,
author of A WHOLE NEW MIND
The Leader's Guide to Radical Management
Re-inventing the Workplace for the 21st Century
Inspiring Continuous Innovation,
Deep Job Satisfaction and Client Delight
Hardcover, Jossey-Bass, now available
To read the Preface and the Introduction, go
Purchasers of the book can collect a fabulous array of articles, books, audios and videos
Have you ever wondered why the workplace often feels like you’re living in a Dilbert
cartoon? Have you ever wondered why only one in five workers is fully engaged in
their work? Have you ever wondered why individual management fixes don’t stick?
The fixes seem to work for a period, but they don’t take hold: the organization slides back into the old way of doing things, as by the
force of gravity?
Have you ever wondered what it would take to move your organization to a new level of productivity and innovation, not just as a short-term initiative, but on a permanent basis?
The good news is that some organizations figured out how to do this. They’ve discovered how to subvert the world of Dilbert cartoons. They have found out how to get continuous innovation, and deep job satisfaction, and delighted customers, simultaneously and on a sustained basis.
This way of managing is good news. It’s good for the organization, because it routinely leads to two-times and four-times gains in productivity. And it’s good for customers, because it generates a continuous stream of innovation and gets more value to those customers sooner. What’s more, it’s good for those doing the work: as one CEO told the author: “This way of managing appeals particularly to the new generation, They want autonomy. They want ownership. They want purpose. It makes sense to them. But it also resonates with older workers.”
Moreover it busts the iron triangle. Most management fixes which make things better for the organization at the expense of the workers or the customers, or make things better for the workers at the expense of the organization, this new way of working—radical management—makes things better for all three—the organization, the workers and the customers simultaneously. It busts that iron triangle.
The crisis that never ends
The reality is that organizations today face a crisis. It's not a crisis involving
a single event like the
financial meltdown of 2008. This crisis is more serious and more insidious.
The crisis is of long standing and its signs are widespread. The rate of return on assets
of US firms is one-quarter of 1965 levels. Innovation continues to decline. Workers are
disgruntled. Customers are frustrated. Brands are unraveling. Executive turnover is accelerating.
In the last 25 years, startups created 40 million jobs in the US, while established firms created
almost none. Traditional management is broken.
Most proposals for improving management address one element of the crisis at
the expense of the others. The principles described by award-winning author
Stephen Denning simultaneously inspire high productivity, continuous innovation,
deep job satisfaction and client delight.
Radical management is a fundamentally different approach to management,
with seven inter-locking principles of continuous innovation: focusing
the entire organization on delighting clients; working in self-organizing
teams; operating in client-driven iterations; delivering value to clients with
each iteration; fostering radical transparency; nurturing continuous self-improvement
and communicating interactively. In sum, the principles comprise a new mental model of management.
• Outlines the basic seven principles of continuous innovation
• Describes over 70 supporting practices.
• Rethinks management from first principles.
• Is written by the author of
The Secret Language of
Leadership--a Financial Times Selection in Best Books of 2007.
• Is published along with a second edition of
The Leader’s Guide to Storytelling and a re-issue of Squirrel Inc.
Who is this book for?
CEOs, senior managers and leaders who want to master the elements of radical management.
creating continuous innovation, deep job satisfaction and client delight.
CEOs, senior managers and leaders who want to create and sustain a high-performance organization,
creating continuous innovation, deep job satisfaction and client delight.
Visionaries of all stripes, anyone who knows there is a better way and is serious about making it happen fast.
Consultants who want to delight clients with radical management
Leaders who want to apply the principles of Scrum, Agile or Lean to general management.
Any manager who wants to create a more productive workplace.
The Seven Basic Principles of Radical Management
Radical management is a fundamentally different approach to management, with
seven inter-locking principles of continuous innovation.
1. The goal of work is to delight clients.
Traditional management aims at producing goods or services, or making money for the shareholders.
Radical management aims at delighting clients and focuses, not just the marketing department, but the entire organization on this goal.
2. Work is conducted in self-organizing teams.
What are self-organizing teams?
Why they constitute the best way to generate continuous innovation.
How to make them happen?
3. Teams operate in client-driven iterations.
This in turn leads on to working in client-driven iterations, because delighting
clients can only be approached by successive approximations. And self-organizing teams,
being a life-form that lives on the edge of chaos, need checkpoints to see
whether they are evolving positively or slipping over the edge into chaos.
4. Each iteration delivers value to clients.
Client-driven iterations focus on delivering value to clients by the end of each iteration.
They force closure and enable frequent client feedback.
5. Managers foster radical transparency.
Self-organizing teams—working in an iterative fashion—in turn both enable and require
radical transparency so that the teams go on improving of their own accord.
6. Managers nurture continuous self-improvement.
Traditional management sets a limited goal of “good enough” quality, which
translates into an acceptable number of defects, an acceptable range of
standardized products that hopefully meet customer requirements.
Continuous improvement means having the entire work force find ever
better ways to give more value to clients.
7. Managers communicating interactively through stories, questions and conversations.
An underlying requirement of all of these principles is interactive communication.
Unless managers and workers are communicating interactively, using authentic
narratives, open-ended questions and deep listening, rather than
treating people as things to be manipulated, none of the above works.