70 books like Designing Organizations

By Jay R. Galbraith,

Here are 70 books that Designing Organizations fans have personally recommended if you like Designing Organizations. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Book cover of Competing for the Future

Dave Ulrich Author Of Reinventing the Organization: How Companies Can Deliver Radically Greater Value in Fast-Changing Markets

From my list on how to improve organizations.

Why am I passionate about this?

Dave Ulrich is the Rensis Likert Professor at the Ross School of Business and a partner at the RBL Group, a consulting firm focused on helping organizations and leaders deliver value. He has published over 200 articles and book chapters and over 30 books. The organizations where we live, work, play, and worship affect every part of our lives. Organizations turn individual competencies into collective capabilities, isolated events into sustained patterns, and personal values into collective values. In short, organizations matter in our lives. By adapting their answer to “what is an organization,” leaders, employees, customers, and investors will be better able to improve their organization's experiences.

Dave's book list on how to improve organizations

Dave Ulrich Why did Dave love this book?

This is another classic in that it redefines the organization less as morphology and structure and more as a set of capabilities. Capabilities represent what an organization is known for and good at doing. Creating the right organization is less about roles and rules, but more about identifying and creating the right capabilities.

By Gary Hamel, CK Prahalad,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Competing for the Future as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

New competitive realities have ruptured industry boundaries, overthrown much of standard management practice, and rendered conventional models of strategy and growth obsolete. In their stead have come the powerful ideas and methodologies of Gary Hamel and C.K. Prahalad, whose much-revered thinking has already engendered a new language of strategy. In this book, they develop a coherent model for how today's executives can identify and accomplish no less than heroic goals in tomorrow's marketplace. Their masterful blueprint addresses how executives can ease the tension between competing today and clearing a path toward leadership in the future.


Book cover of Humanocracy: Creating Organizations as Amazing as the People Inside Them

Bartley J. Madden Author Of Value Creation Principles: The Pragmatic Theory of the Firm Begins with Purpose and Ends with Sustainable Capitalism

From my list on knowledge building and value creation.

Why am I passionate about this?

My intellectual journey has focused on three related passions: understanding how firms create value and the link to their stock market valuations, systems thinking, and knowledge building. This has led to the Madden Center for Value Creation at Florida Atlantic University that promotes the key value creation principles that are the foundation for a prosperous society. Prosperity is more widely shared through a society rooted in dynamism with enthusiastic support for experimentation, knowledge building, and innovation by firms. The Madden Center offers a Certificate in Value Creation online course that packages a learning experience to upgrade the knowledge, skills, and resources you need to create value. 

Bartley's book list on knowledge building and value creation

Bartley J. Madden Why did Bartley love this book?

Humanocracy addresses perhaps the biggest opportunity for value creation at scale, i.e., transitioning large command-and-control corporations to flatter organizations.

What I like most is the combination of rigorous thinking, plain language, and company stories illustrating the worldwide movement to purge bureaucracy. I have personally studied one of the companies spotlighted, the preeminent steel manufacturer Nucor. Four layers of management from the CEO to those working in the steel plants.

The authors understand what makes Nucor excel (page 82): “True to the spirit of humanocracy, Nucor’s model isn’t about pushing employees to do more, but giving them the opportunity to be more—more than blue collar workers, more than order takers, more than mere operators, more than employees… every job can be a good job.”  

By Gary Hamel, Michele Zanini,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Humanocracy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A Wall Street Journal Bestseller

In a world of unrelenting change and unprecedented challenges, we need organizations that are resilient and daring.

Unfortunately, most organizations, overburdened by bureaucracy, are sluggish and timid. In the age of upheaval, top-down power structures and rule-choked management systems are a liability. They crush creativity and stifle initiative. As leaders, employees, investors, and citizens, we deserve better. We need organizations that are bold, entrepreneurial, and as nimble as change itself. Hence this book.

In Humanocracy, Gary Hamel and Michele Zanini make a passionate, data-driven argument for excising bureaucracy and replacing it with something better. Drawing…


Book cover of The Agility Factor: Building Adaptable Organizations for Superior Performance

Dave Ulrich Author Of Reinventing the Organization: How Companies Can Deliver Radically Greater Value in Fast-Changing Markets

From my list on how to improve organizations.

Why am I passionate about this?

Dave Ulrich is the Rensis Likert Professor at the Ross School of Business and a partner at the RBL Group, a consulting firm focused on helping organizations and leaders deliver value. He has published over 200 articles and book chapters and over 30 books. The organizations where we live, work, play, and worship affect every part of our lives. Organizations turn individual competencies into collective capabilities, isolated events into sustained patterns, and personal values into collective values. In short, organizations matter in our lives. By adapting their answer to “what is an organization,” leaders, employees, customers, and investors will be better able to improve their organization's experiences.

Dave's book list on how to improve organizations

Dave Ulrich Why did Dave love this book?

Ed Lawler has a lifetime of melding academic theory and organization practice. In this research based book, he and his colleagues not only recognize that agility matters, but they do research to validate processes that create organization agility. Agility is one of the emerging capabilities for a successful organization in today’s changing world. Anything El Lawler works is well thought out, researched, and usable.

By Thomas D. Williams, Christopher G. Worley, Edward E. Lawler

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Agility Factor as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A research-based approach to achieving long-term profitability in business What does it take to guarantee success and profitability over time? Authors Christopher G. Worley, a senior research scientist, Thomas D. Williams, an executive advisor, and Edward E. Lawler III, one of the country's leading management experts, set out to find the answer. In The Agility Factor: Building Adaptable Organizations for Superior Performance the authors reveal the factors that drive long-term profitability based on the practices of successful companies that have consistently outperformed their peers. Of the 234 large companies across 18 industries that were studied, there were few companies that…


Book cover of Competing by Design: The Power of Organizational Architecture

Dave Ulrich Author Of Reinventing the Organization: How Companies Can Deliver Radically Greater Value in Fast-Changing Markets

From my list on how to improve organizations.

Why am I passionate about this?

Dave Ulrich is the Rensis Likert Professor at the Ross School of Business and a partner at the RBL Group, a consulting firm focused on helping organizations and leaders deliver value. He has published over 200 articles and book chapters and over 30 books. The organizations where we live, work, play, and worship affect every part of our lives. Organizations turn individual competencies into collective capabilities, isolated events into sustained patterns, and personal values into collective values. In short, organizations matter in our lives. By adapting their answer to “what is an organization,” leaders, employees, customers, and investors will be better able to improve their organization's experiences.

Dave's book list on how to improve organizations

Dave Ulrich Why did Dave love this book?

In doing organization diagnosis, it is important to have a framework for thinking about and designing organizations. Like an architect, organization and management practitioners can become architects who build blueprints for creating the right organization. The Nadler/Tushman model is one of the most insightful and comprehensive frameworks for organization diagnosis and improvement.

By Michael Tushman, Mark B. Nadler, David Nadler

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Competing by Design as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

If the defining goal of modern-day business can be isolated to just one item, it would be the search for competitive advantage. And, as everyone in business knows, it's a lot harder than it used to be. On the one hand, competition is more intense than ever-technological innovation, consumer expectations, government deregulation, all combine to create more opportunities for new competitors to change the basic rules of the game. On the other hand, most of the old
reliable sources of competitive advantage are drying up: the hallowed strategies employed by GM, IBM, and AT&T to maintain their seemingly unassailable positions…


Book cover of The Anticipatory Organization: Turn Disruption and Change into Opportunity and Advantage

Joey Havens Author Of Leading with Significance: How to Create a Magnetic, People-First Culture

From my list on creating a people-first workplace culture.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am passionate about giving people the benefit of good intentions and my faith calls me to care and serve others. Today, I believe my purpose is to help inspire leaders to trust in the inherent good in people while caring and serving them in intentional ways that leads to high performance. I have been blessed immensely and want to give back to others so their journey can be one of significance. As former CEO of my company, I had no roadmap which made our journey even more difficult. Now, I have experienced the joy, the fulfillment, and the abundance of building a people-first culture.  Together we can make a difference for so many people.

Joey's book list on creating a people-first workplace culture

Joey Havens Why did Joey love this book?

We are in an exponential world today and we grew up in an incremental world for businesses. 

Daniel not only helps us understand how to anticipate more of the future, he teaches us how to anticipate which is one of the most important skills for business leaders today. After reading his book, I also worked through his anticipatory leader course. 

By understanding the power of being anticipatory, I have used his techniques to lead our firm to bigger opportunities. In the future of work, anticipating what people will want and need, provides a distinctive advantage. 

By Daniel Burrus,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Anticipatory Organization as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Technology-driven change is accelerating at an exponential rate, but moving fast in the wrong direction will only get you into trouble faster! Reacting to problems and digital disruptions, no matter how agile you and your organization are, is no longer good enough. The Anticipatory Organization teaches you how to separate the Hard Trends that will happen, from the Soft Trends that might happen, allowing you to jump ahead with low risk and the confidence certainty can provide. Accelerate innovation and actively shape the future - before someone else does it for you! Digital transformation has divided us all into two…


Book cover of Excellence Dividend: Meeting the Tech Tide with Work That Wows and Jobs That Last

Joey Havens Author Of Leading with Significance: How to Create a Magnetic, People-First Culture

From my list on creating a people-first workplace culture.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am passionate about giving people the benefit of good intentions and my faith calls me to care and serve others. Today, I believe my purpose is to help inspire leaders to trust in the inherent good in people while caring and serving them in intentional ways that leads to high performance. I have been blessed immensely and want to give back to others so their journey can be one of significance. As former CEO of my company, I had no roadmap which made our journey even more difficult. Now, I have experienced the joy, the fulfillment, and the abundance of building a people-first culture.  Together we can make a difference for so many people.

Joey's book list on creating a people-first workplace culture

Joey Havens Why did Joey love this book?

So many insights for leaders in one book and they are summarized one after one.

The power of connecting is stressed over and over. Diversity of teams tops the expertise of individuals. The power of investing in the soft edge (people). This book is a must-read for anyone wanting to lead others.

By Thomas J. Peters,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Excellence Dividend as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Brilliantly simple, actionable guidelines for success that any business leader can immediately implement. 

“Tom Peters' new book is a bundle of beautiful dynamite. While I've been a CEO for 30 years, I still learned much worth knowing from The Excellence Dividend.  You will too.”
—John C. Bogle, founder, Vanguard

For decades Tom Peters has been preaching the gospel of putting people first, and in today's rapidly changing business environment, this message is more important than ever. With his unparalleled expertise and inimitable charisma, Peters provides a roadmap for you and your organization to thrive amidst the tech tsunami, and he…


Book cover of The 12 Week Year: Get More Done in 12 Weeks Than Others Do in 12 Months

Curtis Jenkins Author Of Vision to Reality: Stop Working, Start Living

From my list on accelerating your success.

Why am I passionate about this?

During a meeting in Fall 2020, a fellow business owner shared that they were about to lose everything and that no one would help them financially to get over this setback. This struck a chord with me, as I come from North Philadelphia and saw many small business owners struggle and ultimately lose their businesses. Thus, my personal goal is to help 1000 small businesses annually, giving them the gift of time, realizing their vision and mission, and leaving a legacy of prosperity. By supporting small businesses, I hope to make a positive impact on families, friends, and communities, creating a world of successful small business owners.

Curtis' book list on accelerating your success

Curtis Jenkins Why did Curtis love this book?

If you want to achieve your goals faster and accelerate your productivity, The 12 Week Year should be at the top of your list.

This book teaches you how to get more done in less time by compressing your goals into 12-week cycles. By doing this, you can experience a full year of experiences in 12 weeks, accelerating your ability to grow your business or achieve your goals.

The book’s core message is that time is your most valuable asset, and you should use it wisely to achieve your desired lifestyle. Reading this book can help you develop a mindset that focuses on achieving your goals faster and enjoying more of life’s experiences. 

By Brian P. Moran, Michael Lennington,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The 12 Week Year as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The guide to shortening your execution cycle down from one year to twelve weeks Most organizations and individuals work in the context of annual goals and plans; a twelve-month execution cycle. Instead, The 12 Week Year avoids the pitfalls and low productivity of annualized thinking. This book redefines your "year" to be 12 weeks long. In 12 weeks, there just isn't enough time to get complacent, and urgency increases and intensifies. The 12 Week Year creates focus and clarity on what matters most and a sense of urgency to do it now. In the end more of the important stuff…


Book cover of The Ultimate Sales Machine: Turbocharge Your Business with Relentless Focus on 12 Key Strategies

David Jenyns Author Of SYSTEMology: Create time, reduce errors and scale your profits with proven business systems

From my list on business systems and processes for small business owners.

Why am I passionate about this?

After I successfully systemised myself out of my digital agency and brought in a CEO to run it, I became a systems devotee… I founded systemHUB and launched a movement called SYSTEMology to help business owners worldwide achieve freedom from daily operations and scale their business—like I did. My mission now involves supporting certified SYSTEMologists who assist business owners with SYSTEMology implementation, conducting workshops, delivering keynote addresses, hosting the Business Processes Simplified podcast, and nurturing the growing community of SYSTEMologists.

David's book list on business systems and processes for small business owners

David Jenyns Why did David love this book?

I highly recommend The Ultimate Sales Machine for business owners or entrepreneurs looking to simplify their business processes and get their sales game on point.

This book offers practical and universally applicable advice on organisational alignment, time management, and standardisation to increase efficiency and improve sales. What stuck with me was the importance of focusing on the fundamentals that drive thriving sales rather than trying to do too many things at once.

Chet Holmes' material is out-of-the-park great, offering sound and simple business advice to grow your business stronger than ever. Reading this book changed the way I approach sales and marketing, and I reckon anyone who’s keen on business greatness should give it a read.

By Chet Holmes,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Ultimate Sales Machine as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NEWLY REVISED AND UPDATED

The bestselling business playbook for turbocharging any organization, updated for modern audiences with new and never-before-seen material

Every single day 3,076 businesses shut their doors. But what if you could create the finest, most profitable and best-run version of your business without wasting precious dollars on a thousand different strategies? When The Ultimate Sales Machine first published in 2007, legendary sales expert Chet Holmes gave us the key to do just that. All you need is to focus on twelve key areas of improvement—and practice them over and over with pigheaded discipline.

Now, a decade later,…


Book cover of Remote Work Revolution: Succeeding from Anywhere

Nataly Kelly Author Of Take Your Company Global: The New Rules of International Expansion

From my list on books for global business leaders.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love helping companies unlock global growth. As a child, I spent my free time writing letters to pen pals in countries around the world. That passion for communicating across borders, languages, and cultures never went away. I’ve spent most of my life working to overcome those barriers in business. I frequently write about international business for Harvard Business Review, and in my latest book, in which I share lessons learned as an operator and executive at HubSpot, where I led international strategy. Today, I’m the Chief Marketing Officer at Zappi, a tech company with employees in 16 countries. 

Nataly's book list on books for global business leaders

Nataly Kelly Why did Nataly love this book?

Global business and remote work often go hand in hand. Having worked in a large multinational business, I’ve seen how the issues Tsedal covers actually play out in practice. She talks extensively about two important goals for any remote global team: productivity and trust, and how to achieve both in cross-national remote work settings.

I’ve always found that creating a stable and repeatable operating cadence is critical for driving success with remote global teams. Remote workers crave predictability, and Tsedal talks about how important this is, based on her research and work as a professor at Harvard Business School.

I appreciate that she highlights the fact that preferences around synchronous and asynchronous communication can change depending on employees’ cultures and language competence levels. 

By Tsedal Neeley,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Remote Work Revolution as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

LONGLISTED FOR THE FINANCIAL TIMES & MCKINSEY BUSINESS BOOK OF THE YEAR

"I often talk about the importance of trust when it comes to work: the trust of your employees and building trust with your customers. This book provides a blueprint for how to build and maintain that trust and connection in a digital environment." -Eric S. Yuan, founder and CEO of Zoom

Harvard Business School professor and leading expert in virtual and global work Tsedal Neeley reveals how to thrive in remote and hybrid organizations.

Succeeding in a hybrid work environment comes with unique challenges. Managers must lead virtually…


Book cover of The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses

Shelle Rose Charvet Author Of Words That Change Minds: The 14 Patterns for Mastering the Language of Influence

From my list on books for nice people to be more persuasive.

Why am I passionate about this?

Not many people know that I was so timid as a child; I used to burst into tears if I had to ask for something in a store. Now, I am known for my “out there” presentation style and mastery of words. Since 1982, I have been working with individuals and groups to help them get better at persuading, solving conflicts, and having inspiring relationships. So, how can you be a nice, caring person and still be persuasive, even with the most skeptical of people? These books helped me do this.

Shelle's book list on books for nice people to be more persuasive

Shelle Rose Charvet Why did Shelle love this book?

It’s weird to recommend this book to get better at persuading. But if I had read it before presenting new ideas, I would have saved thousands of dollars in development costs and shortened the time it took to persuade others to back me. His main idea is “The minimum viable product.”

So, instead of spending too much time and money developing my idea before talking to anyone, trying to make it perfect, I showed a 2-slide mockup of the idea to a friend, who said “I would NEVER use this. It takes up too much time. I just want something quick and dirty to help me write a persuasive email.” Wow! Her comment blew my mind and prevented me from spending a fortune on an impractical tool.

By Eric Ries,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked The Lean Startup as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLING SENSATION

'The Lean Startup changes everything.' - Harvard Business Review

----------

Most new businesses fail. But most of those failures are preventable.

The Lean Startup is a new approach to business that's being adopted around the world. It is changing the way companies are built and new products are launched.

Essential reading for any ambitious entrepreneur, The Lean Startup will teach you to identify what your customers really want. You'll learn how to test your vision continuously, adapting and adjusting before it's too late.

With over a million copies sold across the globe, now is your time…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in organizational effectiveness, strategic planning, and management?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about organizational effectiveness, strategic planning, and management.

Organizational Effectiveness Explore 32 books about organizational effectiveness
Strategic Planning Explore 33 books about strategic planning
Management Explore 140 books about management