Great Boss, Dead Boss: How to exact the very best performance from your company and not get crucified in the process by Edgar H. Schein
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
This is a book written in a story style which presents the idea of tribes and how these are how people in a business operate.
The book presents tribal dimensions:
- Individuals are socially, emotionally, and psychologically defined by their tribal membership.
- Individual Security (IS): Individuals act to reinforce their security when under threat.
- Individual Value (IV): Individuals act to reinforce their self-worth when their security is not under threat.
- Tribal Security (TS): Tribes act to secure their self-preservation if their security is under threat.
- Tribal Value (TV): Tribes act to reinforce their self-worth when their security is not under threat.
Though the book various things happen which are then evaluated against the dimensions in a positive or negative way. Initially the idea of positive tribal and individual security is presented as a bad thing resulting in complacency, process focus, rules and regulations, in fighting and backstabbing, taking no risk or innovation however during the rest of the book TS+ and IS+ are presented as good things – to me security is more nuanced than positive or negative.
The book presents a continuum from corporate failure at TS-IS- up to TV+IV+, as follows, with actions to progress to the next stage.
|TV+ IV+||Maintain the status quo. Set new just cause.|
|TV- IV+||Work to improve TV+. Reinforce super tribe. Emphasis just cause.|
|TV- IV-||Reaffirm individual’s capability. Define common enemy.|
|TV+ IV-||Identify source of IV-, create new source of IV+|
|TS+ IS+||Define and create new source of TV+ Create new superordinate tribe. Create source of IV+|
|TS- IS+||Reinforce the rite of passage. Reinforce common enemy. Reinforce just cause.|
|TS- IS-||Redefine source of power, just cause, common enemy. Replace leadership.|
|TS+ IS-||Reaffirm IV+, beware of sub-tribes, seeing others as common enemy. Replace leadership or reeducate leaders.|
The book presents tribal attributes:
- A strong tribe must have a common enemy.
- A strong tribe has clearly defined symbols.
- A strong tribe offers a super ordinate identity to all sub-tribes.
- A strong tribe has a credible, just cause for its continued existence.
- A strong tribe has an accepted rite of passage.
- A strong tribe has clear external measures of success.
- A strong tribe understands and protects its source of power.
- A strong tribe knows how it compares to the “untouchables.”
- The criteria for tribal membership are clear and credible.
- Tribes communicate in a non-traditional, subjective, and intuitive manner.
- A strong tribe develops its own unique language.
- Tribal roles are fundamentally different from accepted functional roles.
- Strong tribes record and celebrate significant events that reinforce their identity and value.
- A strong tribe has a clearly defined and well-known justice mechanism.
- A strong tribe has a clearly defined icon that embodies the tribal value.
- A strong tribe has a walled city–a place of refuge where things of value to the tribe are kept.
- A strong tribe possesses objects of value that embody the tribe’s value.
- A strong tribe has a revered figurehead.
- A strong tribe celebrates and cares for the skills, tools, and implements required for its prosperity.
- A strong tribe expects unquestioning loyalty.
- A strong tribe has clearly defined roles, responsibilities, values, authority, power structure, and chain of command.
- A strong tribe has a leader dedicated to the tribe’s success.
- Strong leaders have capable mentors whose psychological limits exceed their own.
The book provides a grid detailing communication between tribes and individuals and their impact.
|Enemy Tribe to Tribe||Potential to harm or destroy the tribe, creates TV- or TS-|
|Ally Tribe to Tribe||Has potential to strengthen the tribe. Creates TV+ or TS+.|
|Enemy Tribe to Individual||Expulsion, eviction, discipline, creates IV- or IS-|
|Ally Tribe to Individual||Promotion, join inner circle, seat on the board creates IV+ or IS+|
|Enemy Individual to Tribe||Company sabotage, leak secrets, spread rumours, creates TV- or TS-|
|Ally Individual to Tribe||Supports the just cause, attack common enemy, creates TV+ or TS+|
|Enemy Individual to Individual||Dislike one another, threats and accusations. Creates IV- or IS-|
|Ally Individual to Individual||Good friends, supportive creates IV+ or IS+|
The book presents a list of tribal and organisational roles, this is not very well explained and magically the book restructures the organisation by magic.
|Tribal Role||Traditional Organisational Role|
|Care giver||Human resources|
|Witch doctor||Financial analyst|