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The Soul of the Organization: How to Ignite Employee Engagement and Productivity at Every Level

Book Description

Given the opportunity to describe Apple as a company in just a word or two, most would respond with adjectives like: Innovative. Design-conscious. Iconic. Some would probably even say: Secretive. But here's another: Soulful. Yes, Apple has a soul, and it is not alone in that respect. A select few organizations can similarly be said to exhibit similar qualities of soul that inspire passion in their employees and set them on the path to high levels of sustained organizational performance. But, given that most organizations are plagued by low levels of employee engagement and lackluster organizational performance, how do high-performing organizations do it? How do they ignite and sustain employee engagement and boost individual and overall organizational productivity? That is exactly the question that organizational expert David B. Zenoff sets out to answer in The Soul of the Organization.

Based on the author's extensive experience consulting to and observing some of the best-known organizations in the world, The Soul of the Organization (www.souloftheorganization.com) journeys into eleven high-performing organizations operating in both the for-profit and not-for-profit worlds to determine the underlying elements of soul that foster strong employee engagement at all levels. What Zenoff finds in his inquiry is that organizations as different as home goods retailer Williams-Sonoma and not-for-profit group Larkin Street Youth Services all share in common five key elements of soul that, taken together, are powerful forces for fostering employee engagement, satisfaction, and meaning. And he doesn't stop once he has identified the five core elements of an organization's soul. Instead, he goes on to offer both a conceptual framework and a practical primer on how to leverage these key ingredients to create, sustain, and nourish a soul in your organization.

Organizations of all stripes and in all industries and domains have great difficulty motivating their workforces to demonstrate a strong commitment to giving their all in the workplace. As a result, these organizations' overall productivity and growth are compromised, and their employees cannot find meaning or satisfaction in their work. If your organization struggles with sub-par employee loyalty, commitment, and drive, you will find the guidance you need in The Soul of the Organization, a guide to infusing into your workplace that "special something" that engages employees, drives their productivity, and taps into their collective well of potential so that your organization can make its mark on the world.

What you'll learn

  • The five essential ingredients that contribute so importantly to strong emotional and intellectual bonds between organizations with soul and their employees.

  • How deep organizational connections between organizations with soul and their employees drive overall high performance and employee satisfaction.

  • How organizations as different as Barclays Global Investors and the Sisters of Mercy manifest the five essential ingredients of soul in their workplaces.

  • The best practices of organizations that have sustained and nourished their souls over many years, despite experiencing leadership transitions and organizational adaptations to changing times.

  • The many potential threats to the health of an organization's soul, as well as the various remedies that exemplary organizations have found to protect and preserve their souls.

Who this book is for

The Soul of the Organization is intended for the thousands of leaders, managers, human resources specialists, and employees of both for-profit and not-for-profit organizations who want to know what they can do to turn their organizations into high-performing and satisfying workplaces. The book will also appeal to the vast number of prospective employees who wish to find employment with organizations that offer sustained opportunities for work satisfaction, meaning, and pride.

Table of Contents

  1. Titlepage
  2. Dedication
  3. Contents
  4. About the Author
  5. Acknowledgments
  6. Chapter 1: Introduction
    1. The Power of Employee Engagement
  7. Chapter 2: Examples of Ingredients in Not-for-Profit Organizations’ Souls
    1. Larkin Street Youth Services
    2. Sisters of Mercy
    3. University of Notre Dame
    4. Stanford University
    5. San Francisco International Airport
  8. Chapter 3: Examples of Ingredients in Business Organizations’ Souls
    1. Barclays Global Investors
    2. Dodge & Cox
    3. Merrill Lynch
    4. Wells Fargo Bank
    5. Levi Strauss & Company
    6. Williams-Sonoma
  9. Chapter 4: Common Traits and the Power of Organizations’ Souls
    1. Ingredient #1: Concerns
    2. Ingredient #2: A Determined Quest/Commitment to Address the Organization’s Concerns
    3. Ingredient #3: Understandings
    4. Ingredient #4: Core Philosophies and Beliefs
    5. Ingredient #5: Stories about the Beliefs, Hopes, Visions, Principles, Devotion, Insights, and Struggles of Organizations’ Founders, Important Leaders, and Contributors
    6. What Is the Power Exuded by Organizations’ Souls?
    7. What Could a Soulless Organization Look Like?
    8. Summary
  10. Chapter 5: Why Organizations Can Endure for Decades
    1. Sisters of Mercy
    2. Williams-Sonoma
    3. Wells Fargo Bank
    4. Merrill Lynch
    5. Levi Strauss & Company
    6. Larkin Street Youth Services
    7. Dodge & Cox
    8. Stanford University
    9. Barclay’s Global Investors
    10. San Francisco International Airport
  11. Chapter 6: What Can Weaken or Destroy Organizations’ Souls
    1. Williams-Sonoma
    2. Merrill Lynch
    3. Levi Strauss & Company
    4. Dodge & Cox
    5. Sisters of Mercy
    6. Wells Fargo Bank
    7. Stanford University
    8. University of Notre Dame
    9. San Francisco International Airport
  12. Chapter 7: Finding, Reviving, and Recreating Lost Souls
  13. Chapter 8: Young Organizations’ Souls
  14. Chapter 9: Hope from Organizations’ Souls
  15. References
  16. Index