About the Book

Everywhere you look our institutions are failing. Big financial firms, government agencies, healthcare providers, and school systems all too frequently fail to deliver on their promises. The familiar management by objectives, lean/six sigma, continuous improvement, change management, and a myriad of others, all carefully analyze, identify, and solve a raft of very real problems, yet the failures persist. What’s wrong? Many blame the institutions’ people.

We prefer not to blame. Times have changed and obsolescent management techniques with outdated rules simply no longer suffice. New thinking, new behaviors, and new approaches are required. Instead of selling you on yet another proprietary technique, we will help you uncover and explore the foundations beneath all these techniques, and help you, through your own change efforts, learn how we combine them into adjustable approaches tailored to today’s world.

The book is anchored in the observation that different business environments or landscapes foster distinct corporate cultures, each needing a different change method. You will learn how to analyze your culture and determine the right approach to match.

You will see the critical overprint that your corporate strategy places on your approach and resulting organization, and discover the interplay between landscape, culture, and strategy. As a cornerstone of each approach, you will use the extensive knowledge and experience of your employees as an integral feature of the work. Employee engagement is built into each approach in a manner consistent with its associated culture.

How the Book is Laid Out

Part I describes Syngineering’s eight fundamental concepts.

  • Chapter 1 has the four synergies of Agility, Sense, Involve, and Resolve.
  • Chapter 2 has the four engineering concepts of Landscape, Culture, Strategy, and Organization Design, which involves Mobilize, Frame, and Customize.

Part II has step-by-step approaches for applying the concepts in Part I to the four common corporate cultures: Directive, Participative, Flexible, and Adaptive.

Part III contains case studies drawn from our own work as consultants, showing moves from hierarchical Directive cultures into each one of the other three cultures.

  • Stratos shifted from a Directive government bureaucracy to a customer-focused Adaptive culture.
  • Comfort brought together three separate Directive businesses to form a networked Flexible culture.
  • Wilderness addressed the complexity in its landscape by moving from a Directive hierarchy to a more Participative culture.

Part IV contains details amplifying the ten Syngineering deliverables, ideal for new practitioners. The detailed instructions and templates are especially helpful in Directive and Participative cultures but are also useful as a checklist for each of the four cultures.

The Six Ways This Book is Different

Technology: In today’s interconnected world technology has totally changed the way business is done. Our design process incorporates technology's ubiquitous role and using it yields organizations which can embrace emerging technologies.

Landscapes and Cultures: We make explicit that different business environments foster distinct corporate cultures, each needing a different change method. We show step-by-step how to adapt our approach for each culture.

Strategy: Our method involves aligning organizations around their strategy. We detail how this works for each of several common generic strategies. Each case study involves a different landscape, culture, and strategy.

Engagement: Research continues to indicate that less than one-third of today’s workforce are engaged in their work. The resulting lost innovation and creativity are the very things many companies are missing in their journey to profitability and purpose. Engagement is built into our approaches.

Integrated: We have found that to really accelerate change, organization design and change and project management separately are not enough. We integrate them along with effective sponsorship into a systemic, and comprehensive approach that yields sustainable success.

Applications: In place of disconnected anecdotes, we will follow Theresa’s, Shawn’s, and Suh’s projects all the way through the book. They are closely based on actual ones we have encountered and illustrate how real people, with all their foibles, use our approach to mix-and-match tools and techniques to build the needed relationships and get the work done.

Quotes From Workshops and Book Reviews

“One of the first books, if not the first, to integrate key developments in the fields of organization design and development, agile methodology, human dynamic principles of synergy, and change management into a practical case tested methodology”

“Cutting edge techniques every business needs to stay competitive in today’s complex and volatile world”

“Whether you are leading, sponsoring, or participating in corporate change, Syngineering can help you understand the specifics of your organization’s circumstances and determine the right approach to build in agility.”

“An easy to understand handbook for those who want to incorporate Agile thinking into organizational design”

“If you are thinking of starting an organization design process, this book is a much-needed roadmap for your journey”

“What really makes this book different are the descriptions of practitioners (just like me) wrestling with and overcoming real-world dilemmas”

“Takes the latest thinking and approaches, describes them in clear business terms, and develops the logical steps that you as a practitioner can use to apply them in your business”