Introductory Note from the Author


For almost 45 years, first as an academician and then as a self-employed management consultant, board member, and volunteer, I have had the good fortune of seeing an unusually large number and types of organizations at work. In my various roles, I have always been fascinated by the questions of “what seems to work well in organizations”, and  “why do only  relatively few organizations seem really attractive to their work force, able to engage them, generate high levels of satisfaction and meaning among employees, and in turn, derive sustained high overall organization performance”?

In individual consulting assignments, my quest has been to help each client organization’s executives identify the missing “something special” that will fit its specific circumstances, and contribute importantly to employee engagement, meaning, and satisfaction and sustained overall organizational high performance. In this book, my quest has been to identify broadly for organizations of all types, what the “something special” is that can be pursued deliberately by the management and employees of each organization, and used thereafter for the benefit of all.

The concepts and framework proposed in this book have been derived through reflection on what I have observed and learned during my long career as an observer of organizations, as well as what I have learned from exploring such questions in 11 long-time successful organizations: four non-profits, one in the public sector, and six business organizations.

What I found and what I put forth in this book are five vital elements that together comprise an organization’s “soul”. None of the organizations studied spoke of their “soul” per se. But, when I reflected on what these organizations with “something special” had in common as determinants of employee engagement and satisfaction, and sustained overall high performance, I conclude there is an underlying force, organization “soul”.

This book is intended for anyone interested in organizations and their ability to provide attractive employment for their work force and, in turn, develop sustained high performance. My hope is that the power of  “organization soul” as explained in this book, will be a catalyst and inspiration for improvement in organization life; helpful to individuals as they make choices about which organization to join and how to best contribute to it; and to managers and leaders as they build and guide their organizations over time.