Author Archive

Business Consultant’s Biggest Challenge Was Not in the Boardroom

The Whitefish Bay Patch profiles David B. Zenoff’s extraordinary transformation from the son of a single, working mom to becoming the head of a management consultant company working with 90-plus companies in 31 countries…

Read all about it!


Note:this article contains an error.David was not a single dad. He was raised by a single,working mom.

What For-Profit Business Managers Can Learn From Not-for-Profit Organizations

In thousands of not-for-profit organizations across the country, hundreds of thousands of Americans work millions of hours for FREE as volunteers. And, hundreds of thousands of highly capable individuals work for not-for-profit organizations as professional staff at less than handsome compensation levels when compared to the world of business. Contrast that with the thousands (perhaps millions) of businesses where studies show that only about 25 percent of their employees are truly ENGAGED in their work and with their employers. Low employee engagement is strongly associated with lower overall organization performance and success.

How can it be that businesses that tend to compensate their employees with more money than do not-for profit-organizations, often have such relatively low employee satisfaction and engagement? What can these business leaders and managers learn from the not-for-profits?

For most of us who have volunteered our time and wit and contributed our other resources to not-for-profits,we know that it is largely THE CAUSE of the not-for-profit organization that inspires us, as does
those organizations’ DEDICATION TO SERVING their causes. Our “compensation” as volunteers and modestly paid professional staff is largely psychic satisfaction, where both our hearts and our heads are
deeply touched. Read Full Post »

Keeping Organizations Healthy

Organizations of any kind, like humans, are “alive” and  dynamic and therefore require nourishment and occasional visits to doctors to thrive. “Nourishment” for an organization can include:

  • A clear sense of what is important (ie.,what it is seeking to achieve and why), how it is going after its goals (normally termed “strategy”), what it has to work with to be successful (its know-how, resources, reputation, and momentum), acceptable “rules of engagement” for employees vis a vis their colleagues, their work, and the organization’s customers.
  • Deliberate caring toward the employees that is oriented to what’s important to them (including: meaningful work, respect from bosses and other employees, reasonable discretion to do their jobs, recognition for achievement and effort, fair compensation, awareness of what is going on in the organization as it seeks to achieve its goals, the means to communicate their ideas and responses to organizational life, fair compensation, and prospects for further advancement).

“Doctor Visits” by an organization can include assessments of how the organization is functioning and how the employees are faring(learned from various organizational assessment studies and surveys); as well as occasional “renewals” of the organization’s spirit, structure, behavior norms, priorities, processes and procedures—that involve employees at all levels in discussions about those topics and what could be better.

Of course, the elements of “nourishment” and “doctor visits” need to be done within the constraints of economic reality.

In both nourishment and doctor visits,  it is vital that employees’ heads and hearts are appealed to. In that spirit, the chances to strengthen employee engagement and build overall organization performance will be greatly enhanced.

To learn more about improving any organization’s health, read my new book The Soul of the Organization which provides a framework and many illustrations on this topic.


Whitefish Bay Alum Zenoff Interviewed About “Soul of the Organization”

Read all about it! I’m an alumnus of Whitefish Bay High School and they recently interviewed me about my new book. Check it out…

Whitefish Bay High School Milwaukee Wisconsin


Listen In: Zara Larsen Interviews David Zenoff about “The Soul of the Organization”

Join Dr. Zara Larsen and David Zenoff as they discuss his new book in a December 22nd interview on her FM talk radio show “Circles of Change: Conversations on Change Leadership and Career Fulfillment”:

Listen Now


About Dr. Zara Larsen

Dr. Zara Larsen

Dr. Zara F. Larsen is President of The Larsen Group: Architects of Change, a private consulting firm dedicated to helping others unleash potential through transformational change.  She is committed to repositioning organizations for breakthrough performance via individuals playing to their natural giftedness and motivated abilities. Zara’s passion lies in upending the status quo for sustainable system change, not just capturing point opportunities or resolving point issues – doing so with speed and process discipline. Involved in a diverse set of client projects ranging from strategic talent acquisition campaigns to merger integrations, Zara also serves as an executive and career transition coach leveraging SIMA technology, the System for Identifying Motivated Abilities.  She is the host of Tucson’s live FM talk radio show “Circles of Change: Conversations on Change Leadership and Career Fulfillment”, which is simultaneously web streamed at every Saturday 9-11:00 a.m. PST (12:00-2:00 est)


Why did I write this book?

Many of my colleagues have asked what motivated me to write this book.

With the world so filled with struggles, tensions, contending viewpoints and rivalries, bleak prospects, complexities, and unfulfilled hopes, I wanted to contribute to better outcomes in ways available to me as a counselor to organizations.

A high percentage of all working individuals in the world are employed by some kind of organization. Employees devote a large part of their waking hours and much of their adult years to work. Sadly, as various studies over the years have shown, a high percentage of workers at all levels are under-fulfilled, insecure about their employment, lack sufficient meaning or satisfaction from their work—and don’t engage or contribute to their organizations nearly as much of their wit and energies as they are able. In turn, their organizations under-perform their potential—often notably. Operating in increasingly competitive and dynamic markets, under-performing organizations are likely to have to struggle harder and harder to fulfill their purposes for being, meet the needs of their customers and other stakeholders, access resources, and remain competitive and self-sustaining.

Why don’t leaders and managers do better? Managing organizations of people effectively (at any level) has long proved to be highly challenging everywhere because of: the complexities and dynamic qualities of interpersonal relationships among their employees, and between employees and themselves as managers; the difficulties of trying to develop and apply general policies and processes to guide, motivate, and control employees who behave largely according to their own individualized preferences, circumstances, and needs; the general inabilities of humans to communicate well enough with (large numbers) of others—many of whom are located elsewhere and do not have sufficient opportunities to request follow-up clarifications and test their understandings; the insensitivities, limited awareness, inexperience, lack of caring, or conflicting priorities of managers can prevent them from addressing employees’ needs and preferences; and likewise, the challenges for managers at all levels to constantly confront  multiple and oft-times shifting demands in their jobs with their limited bandwidth.

To date, those who lead and manage in organizations, and those who observe and offer counsel and education to the organizations, and to future generations of leaders and managers, have relied largely on experimentation to find new and better approaches to leading, managing, and organization development; learning best practices from anywhere in the world from those who appear to have figured out effective approaches; and formulating new, well thought-out approaches intended to overcome the limitations of existing practices.

I view this book, The Soul of the Organization, as a “capstone” to my long career as first an academician and then for decades as a management consultant, board member, management educator to multinational companies, and volunteer for not-for-profit organizations. The book encompasses best practices and my relevant formulations. My intent is to convey an insight I have nurtured for years while consulting organizations that seeks to answer the question: how best to appeal to both the intellects and the emotions of employees so they will find high levels of meaning, pride, identification, and satisfaction in their workplace and in their work—and, in turn to give their work, colleagues, and place of work their best efforts, wit, and goodwill on a sustained basis.

The Soul of the Organization uses 11 case studies I developed among high-performing, respected businesses, not-for-profit organizations, and a public sector agency to illustrate the concepts I believe will go a long way in meeting the challenges, complexities, tensions, disappointments, and under-performance that exist in contemporary organizational life.

I hope you will find what you are looking for in “The Soul of the Organization”.


The Perfect New Year’s Gift

Well it’s hot off the press and I hope you will consider buying a copy (e-book, paperback or print copy) for your friends, families, employees and colleagues for a new year’s gift. Please let me know your impressions of the book and Happy Holidays to all.