Acknowledging the complexity of organizations, a management consultant proposes a systematic approach to success.
With more than 55 years of commercial and nonprofit management experience, Judson (Making Strategy Happen, 1996, etc.) knows organizations inside out. Despite the book’s uncomplicated title, the author makes it clear that achieving organizational success is no easy task, in part because “success is more a perception than an objective fact.” He begins by outlining the criteria for success, including such success drivers as organization focus, internal information, and external information. He also covers the importance of setting objectives. The bulk of the book, however, is devoted to “SONG,” Judson’s own System for Organizational Navigation and Guidance, which he labels “the core process for governing and managing the organization and its businesses.” The author identifies 11 elements in SONG; the individual elements themselves (Business Definition, Strategy-Driven Budgets and Financial Controls, and Communications, for example) aren’t unusual, but he offers detailed, sophisticated descriptions of how they interrelate. The author applies this same process to appropriate multibusiness organizations; here, he explains the differences in the 11 core elements and adds seven more, including Strategy Proposals and Portfolio Analysis. The book’s diagrams clearly show how the elements affect one another, including a fascinating diagram depicting an “annual cycle of SONG in an MO.” Some readers may be intimidated by their ability to implement this comprehensive approach, but if Judson’s goal is to painstakingly walk managers through a process for “actually achieving true success,” he succeeds. Judson never minimizes the complexity of the considerable task facing managers of organizations. In fact, he recognizes that true success requires that many managers in an organization need to sing the same SONG.
Not for the novice; a carefully constructed system of management that elevates the discussion of organizational theory while offering a highly detailed road map designed to achieve and measure success.