The Anxious Organization

Book Review: The Anxious Organization by Jeffrey Miller

Dave Kinnear 1-On Leadership, Book Reviews

This book was recommended by a colleague, CEO of a manufacturing company, with whom I do some exponential thinking from time to time. I can see why he enjoyed reading this straightforward look at internal corporate politics. Miller builds a new model for understanding what is sometimes a very perplexing problem – decoding why people respond the way they do in a given situation.

What I found interesting in Miller’s model is that he requires us to “look at ourselves” as part of the stress delivery system in the organization. “If a situation is making you anxious, then there’s a question in there somewhere that is yours alone to answer.” Miller explains how we all set up triangles to get our way or to spread out the anxiousness so that we don’t have so much to handle ourselves. “Learning to manage your own behavior in triangles is probably the single most important thing you can learn about handling workplace politics.” So I found this model for understanding why smart companies do smart things to be useful.

What makes the book very readable is the use of stories to illustrate the points being made. The stories are familiar to anyone who has worked in or around large organizations. The layout of the book is also helpful in that each chapter ends with a summary of the major points made. Miller’s book is a worthwhile quick read.

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