Book Review: Brave New Work: Are You Ready to Reinvent Your Organization?

Book: Brave New Work: Are You Ready to Reinvent Your Organization?

By: Aaron Dignan

Reviewed by: Glain Roberts-McCabe

The Premise: In Brave New Work, Aaron Dignan, founder of The Ready, pulls back the covers on how they help organizations reinvent their ways of working. The book is broken down into three key parts: The Future of Work; The Operating System; and The Change. Filled with the author’s stories and experiences, Brave New Work challenges the assumptions that many of us have about work (e.g. hierarchy is necessary; meetings matter) and showcases some alternative ways to think and act. The book is filled with exercises and reflective questions that you can ask yourself and your team and offers a hopeful, optimistic view that workplaces can be better.

The Bottomline: I read this book because I’m constantly trying to figure out what I can do to make The Roundtable a better place to work. Many of our regular readers know that we’re big fans of the Results Only Work Environment (ROWE) championed by Jody Thompson. Brave New Work provides a similar call to action and is grounded in the same view that work shouldn’t have to suck. What I enjoyed most about this book was the numerous questions and tools that it provides to help you figure out how to create a more autonomous and adaptable workplace. I’m also happy to report that many of the tools highlighted are ones that graduates of The Roundtable would recognize. The challenge for readers of this book will be to break free of long-standing beliefs that are held about the way work needs to be done. And, speaking as a leader who constantly wrestles with trying to find a balance between being compassionate and holding people accountable myself, some of the activities in the book require leaders to really shelve their egos and shift their mindsets. Easy to say. Hard to do. In fact, that is the ultimate challenge with Brave New Work: many of the concepts and ideas sound simple but the devil will be in the details for any organization looking to make this type of transformational journey. Brave New Work indeed. Brave New Leadership will be required.

Recommendation: Recommended for courageous leaders genuinely interested in challenging assumptions about work and looking for a book that provides some straightforward advice on how to do things differently.

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