Data is changing the nature of competition. Making sense of it is tough; taking advantage of it is even tougher. - Rupert Morrison

— Data Driven Organisational Design

When a book starts with an amazing quote that contains the word magic you immediately get inside the head of the author.

There is a magic in graphs. The profile of a curve reveals in a flash a whole situation — the life history of an epidemic, a panic, or an era of prosperity. The curve informs the mind, awakens the imagination, convinces. - Henry D. Hubbard, 1939

Immediately you get a feeling that what you are about to read will not only be clear and easy to understand but will also release something either unexpected or something you have been struggling with either to overcome or achieve.

Rupert Morrison’s “Data-driven Organization Design: Sustaining the Competitive Edge Through Organizational Analytics” is just that, a book that explains what People Operation managers, leaders and want to be people managers and leaders need to know before they can truly attain the success in business through an organisation that they dream of.

In a world surrounded by, filled with and controlled by data we need to understand it, what it means, what it can do and what it cannot. We need to see and feel the data to not just help us map a path towards success but also to structure a business in such a way that the use of the ever-present data is optimised.

It explains clearly how to drive and improve organisational effectiveness, and transform any businesses and is very much written for anyone seeking or getting a better understanding of organisational design and understand the many facets of this. Anyone looking to get more out of their data must read this book.

The book is very much a handbook and whilst there are some who will read it from cover to cover in a couple of sittings, it is clear from the opening chapters that it is written as guide and less of a management or “self-help” book. It is very hands on and extremely practical and as the title suggests it is for those either seeking improved organisational design or those in the process of changing or optimising their organisation.


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Many traditional challenges are discussed and taken from a fresh angle or approach, tackling the ordinary and achieving just a squeeze more juice out of the situation.

Every reader will come away with this light bulb moment, but there are a few obvious conclusions that any reader will walk away with.

  • The first is that data is unavoidable, we have it, some have more some have less and it is not something we need to be afraid of. Data is your friend.
  • The second is that you need to get a clear picture of your data, as you get a feel and a movie playing in your head when you read a good book so the same should happen with data. Getting this clear image is charts and graphs, in pictures clearly shows the trends and pinpoints areas you need to focus on or redirect in your organisation.
  • Thirdly manage and report on your organisational data and don’t be afraid to compare it with data from other areas or apply it to see the “what if. Managing a reporting is easy once you understand what data you have and what you need as well as what you don’t have an need to find.
  • Fourthly and finally make sure that your data is the right data pertaining to your organisational priorities, objects and goals. If your you use the right data you can then ensure the right work is being or needs to be done to get the job done.

For years managers have taken the same approach to organisational design, Morrison creates some added confidence that will allow a manager to try something new and different with a higher reassurance of success, explaining the challenges and how to overcome them in a simple step by step approach, often whatis needed.

For an HR manager or anyone involved in Organisational Design the passion is evidently clear from the outset, at some points the passion overflows and you could be convinced you are reading a thriller rather than a book on Organisational Design!

Unlike many books that simply tell you how something was done or how someone did something, Morrison takes the example and encourages the reader to attempt the same just like any primary or high school teacher.

This read is for anyone that wants to see and sustain optimal organisational design structures, it is tremendously practical and will be a confidence booster for an individual or team looking for success through a better understanding of the data they have and the data around them.

© New To HR


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