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Unleashing Organizational Energy

Long-term research conducted with companies such as ABB and Lufthansa has helped the authors identify four organizational energy zones that, harnessed properly, can provide a powerful boost for achieving strategic goals. The researchers offer insight on selecting the type best suited to a company's culture and its leaders' personal style. They find that analytical approaches to management are increasingly incorporating a greater understanding of the major role that emotions play in corporate behavior. Today's challenge for leaders, the authors say, is to ensure that the company's vision and strategy capture employees' excitement, engage their intellect and fill them with urgency for action taking. First, they show that companies operating in what they call the aggression zone (responding to a threat) or the passion zone (responding to an exciting goal) are more likely to be successful. Companies in the low-energy comfort zone coast dangerously on past success, and those in the resignation zone have nearly given up. Second, they describe two strategies for unleashing organizational energy and the circumstances that indicate which to use. Finally, they point out ways to avoid common energy traps. Without a high level of energy, the authors contend, a company cannot achieve radical productivity improvements, grow fast or create major innovations. The researchers give examples of enlightened managers who are focusing on unleashing that energy and are leading their companies to outstanding performance.

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