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The Hidden Anatomy of Effective Organisations....Using Sytems Thinking to Unlock Nature Secrets

Jacket Notes 

We live in times of unprecedented turbulence and uncertainty and we are losing faith in our ability to organise ourselves to deal with it. The traditional ‘top down’ functional hierarchy doesn’t feel like it works as well as it used to, and new generations of workers increasingly demand something a better organisational experience and career that their predecessors had to settle for.


But when we look for an alternative, we are faced with a miasma of competing claims for different organising principles. Do we need to be purpose led or profit driven? Focussed or flexible? More centralised or decentralised? Hierarchical or networked? Agile, Lean or driven by scale? And should we all be aiming to become ‘teal’ organisations?


This situation is confusing, and it is perilous. It is also unnatural - in a very fundamental sense - because it demonstrates that we have failed to learn nature’s tricks about how organisations can survive and thrive. In any kind of environment. No matter how turbulent and unpredictable.


The remedy prescribed in this book is not a choice between ‘this’ or ‘that, it is about balance. Or more specifically maintaining a set of dynamic balances that continuously shift to tame the complexity faced, and created, by organisations.


This book paints a picture of what these balances are and how they work. It helps readers to describe and make sense of the mess and muddle of organisational life, to design healthy workplaces and to diagnose and cure diseased ones.


It can do this because the book is not a manifesto of hope or wishful thinking. It brings together esoteric knowledge amassed over decades about how systems actually work (or don’t) in a form that is both accessible and practical. 

To a curious reader this book is a key to a world of powerful but little understood ideas. For a management practitioner it provides a new perspective on familiar problems and a platform for action. And it helps a leader to grasp the essence of what is and reimagine what could be.

ZEN and the Art of Organising Work

The Art and The Science of Performance Reporting with the Brain in Mind

Jacket notes

In this book Steve Morlidge shows how the traditional methods of performance reporting fail, and what we need to do differently to help us make sense of our dynamic, complex and data rich world and to effectively communicate these insights to an audience of decision makers.

 It argues that organisations cannot be managed as if they were a simple mechanical system operating in a predictable environment. And that the variance analyses and data tables typically used to measure and communicate performance are completely inadequate. 

 Performance reporting should not be a routine, mechanistic process. It should be treated as an act of perception performed to help the organization to assess whether and where intervention is needed to improve its performance, informed by the successful strategies used by the brain to make sense of its own super abundant sensory inputs. In order to make sense of the vast amounts of data available to organizations and to communicate the meaning effectively to decision makers, we need to learn to use approaches that exploit the strengths of our own brains and compensate for its weaknesses. 

 From this provocative yet practical book, readers will learn:


  • About what the latest insights of cognitive science tell us about how to derive meaning from potentially overwhelmingly large data sets.

  • Why it is important to bring a dynamic perspective into performance reporting, and how it can be done.

  • To use simple tools that help isolate the signal in noise infected data and to make sound inferences.

  • The intelligent way to use goals to guide and assess performance.

  • The grammar of data visualization and how it can be used to design powerful ‘brain friendly’ reports. 


The ultimate aim of information professionals should be to create the shared consciousness that enables their organizations to quickly respond and adapt to their environments.



A New Operating System for Businesses.
What it is. Why it works.

Jacket Notes


It is difficult to think of a business process that is as widely unpopular, dysfunctional and discredited as traditional budgeting - yet over a decade after the creation of the Beyond Budgeting movement, many business people are unaware of its existence.


And many of those that have heard of it find the Beyond Budgeting ideas difficult to grasp because they have been conditioned by experience to think in a very narrow way about the process of management.


This book fills in these gaps in awareness and understanding by answering the question ‘what is Beyond Budgeting?’ in a clear and succinct way to help you make informed choices about the way that you run your business, as an alternative to blindly copying your predecessors.


Amongst the things you will discover are:


  • How the financial operating model used to organise and run the affairs of an enterprise impacts many aspects of corporate life, not just the level of business performance

  • The universal law of complexity that explains why traditional budgeting will always fail to deliver what it promises: predictable performance.

  • How the Beyond Budgeting process model is better equipped to deal with the complexity of modern organisational life and the uncertainty of the world

  • Why and how an organisation has to be designed to complement the processes used to plan and control its activities.

  • How to bring about change


The goal is to help build healthier, more adaptive organisations, better able to meet the challenges and exploit the opportunities thrown up by the modern world.


Authors Note


By making these ideas accessible in a small, easy to read book I am hoping that readers will want to share them with friends and colleagues. Because I have avoided traditional publishers I can provide multiple copies (5 or more) at discounted rates. I can also customise the cover or the content of the books.


For more information about bulk orders or customised copies please contact me directly.


A short introduction to the practice and pitfalls ofcshort term forecasting...and how to increase its value to the business

Jacket Notes

Operational forecasting sits at the heart of many businesses because it informs every decision taken to get the right amount of product (or service capacity), in the right place, at the right time.


But is also one of the most misunderstood and undervalued activities. 


As a result, most businesses carry enormous amounts of unnecessary inventory while simultaneously failing to offer their customers the level of service that they expect.


At best, the managers in these businesses may suspect there is scope for improvement but have no idea how much process waste ‘weight’ they can lose or how to go about shedding it. At worst, they assume that trying harder and investing in more clever software will automatically take care of the problem because they are blind to the unnecessary kilos they are dragging around. 


This book demystifies operational forecasting through a series of bite sized ‘lessons’ supported by simple illustrations, that address the fundamental questions that anyone with a stake in operational forecasting needs to be able to answer:


  • Why forecast? What do we stand to gain?

  • What do we need to understand before we start forecasting?

  • How best to forecast?

  • What does success look like?

  • How can we improve?


And the best news of all is the biggest gains come from doing less dumb stuff rather than more clever stuff.


Aimed primarily at forecasting practitioners and anyone responsible for, or reliant on, what they do, this book also is an excellent primer for anyone wanting to understand the principles of good operational forecasting, but not the daunting mathematics.

Author Note


By making these ideas accessible in a small, easy to read book I am hoping that readers will want to share them with friends and colleagues. Because I have avoided traditional publishers I can provide multiple copies (5 or more) at discounted rates. I can also customise the cover or the content of the books.


For more information about bulk orders or customised copies please contact me directly.


Jacket Notes


The recent crisis in financial markets has also exposed a crisis in management methods – the intellectual bankruptcy of the ‘target and incentivise’ model of performance management and the failure to anticipate and deal with the consequences of the unfolding collapse. However, what we have recently witnessed is merely an extreme example of what many leaders and managers in business have known for years; in most organisations, the process of forecasting is badly broken. That is why ‘forecasting business performance’ tops the list of concerns for CFO’s across the globe.


The authors of this book argue that it is time to rethink the way businesses organise and run forecasting processes and how they use the insights that they provide. Their key message is that, while we cannot predict the future, with ‘good enough’ foresight, wise preparation and timely action, we can make our future more predictable.  The best analogy is that of the navigator of a sailing ship, not a fortune teller.


This book synthesizes and structures findings from a range of disciplines and over 50 years of their combined practical experience. This is presented in the form of a set of simple strategies that any organisation can use to radically improve their ability to forecast and exploits the insights that it provides.


Written in an engaging and thought provoking style, this book leads the reader to answers to questions such as:


  • What makes a good forecast?

  • What period should a forecast cover?

  • How frequently should it be updated?

  • What information should it contain?

  • What is the best way to produce a forecast?

  • How can you avoid gaming and other forms of data manipulation?

  • How should a forecast be used?

  • How do you ensure that your forecast is reliable?

  • How accurate does it need to be?

  • How should you deal with risk and uncertainty

  • What is the best way to organise a forecast process?

  • Do you need multiple forecasts?

  • What changes should be made to other performance management processes to facilitate good forecasting?


The book is an invaluable guide for practicing managers and a source of insight and inspiration to leaders looking for better ways of doing things and to students of the science and craft of management.

How to Master Business Forecasting

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