An enthusiastic endorsement of a new approach to organizational design in business settings.
In this debut book, Creel passionately advocates for a system that he calls “Adaptive”—a technology-enabled, collaborative corporate structure that minimizes hierarchy, values workers’ skills more highly than office politics, and coaches employees toward continual improvement. Creel explains the philosophy behind his program, places it in the context of two centuries of organizational design, and lays out, in broad terms, how to develop an Adaptive workplace using communication tools, such as Slack and automated chatbots, or bots, which can offer advice and help with repetitive tasks, and are designed to meet a company or team’s specific needs. Numerous examples from Creel’s experiences developing Adaptive teams at multiple companies provide detailed illustrations of the process, and of the opportunities it presents for businesses. The book concludes with an assessment of potential challenges to implementing an Adaptive structure in the workplace, but its overall message is one of strong support for the concept. Creel is a dynamic writer (“There is something inherently less agitating about a bot suggesting you should do something good for you than a human telling you the same thing”), and it’s not hard to get swept up in his enthusiasm for the topic. That said, his description of tools that are “designed to gamify work discipline” does seem excessively utopian. The explanations of how to implement various techniques are generally clear and actionable, although many readers will need to look elsewhere for specifics regarding the aforementioned bots, which are a crucial element of the Adaptive system. The book is also hampered by the author’s tendency to vaguely attribute conclusions to “studies” and “research” without providing specifics. On the whole, however, Creel provides a thought-provoking, enjoyable text that provides some solid insights about making meaningful changes in the workplace.
An often engaging argument for taking a more holistic approach to office work.