Igniting the Invisible Tribe: Designing an Organization That Doesn’t Suck

Let’s hope that Josh Allan Dykstra is working on a second book. That would be good news for those of us who care about building better workplaces for human beings. Why? Because his first book, “Igniting the Invisible Tribe: Designing an Organization That Doesn’t Suck” is darn good. It’s also highly entertaining, and made a dreaded ten-hour layover at Istanbul’s Atatürk airport more than tolerable.

Josh wraps astute insight in a disarmingly breezy, conversational tone (“We have this notion the ‘the future’ is a specific destination pint, the big red ending dot on some kind of metaphysical map.”). Of course, the point is that the future is indeterminable and we will all create it through millions of individual tiny decisions made in the here and now—and so maybe we should get to it.

“Igniting the Invisible Tribe” invites thought experiments by playing with polarities (visible vs. invisible, internal vs. external, future vs. present and many others), asking power questions (the “Ignition Point”) at the end of most chapters (example: “Is the organization I work with life-sucking or life-giving?), sharing lots of valuable footnotes supporting his conclusions (including links to articles about IDEO, Semco, and other companies), and introducing great metaphors for transcending traditional sucky management and work-speak (i.e. Architects and Builders as co-equals).

It doesn’t contain a prescriptive step-by-step recipe like some books, and shouldn’t. In the world of work and culture, there is no “one size fits all”. The book is clear about worldview and mindset, crucial prerequisites for successful change.

Josh’s concluding sentence: “What are you going to do?”. It’s a good question.

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