Book Review: Margaret Heffernan’s “Beyond Measure”

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Margaret Heffernan’s new book “Beyond Measure: The big impact of small changes,” is an original manifesto for business leaders. Creating strong organizational cultures does not require multi-million dollar programs; instead, small actions by each employee- from Custodian to CEO- matter more and have the biggest impact.

Heffernan shows that throughout history, it has been systemic barriers, such as failure to speak up, hoarding information etc., that become the cause for disasters. Therefore, to truly create a culture where information is shared and collaboration is facilitated means empowering everyone within an organization to have- and use- their voice.

While Heffernan emphasizes that strong culture is the “secret sauce” to a successful organization, culture is also a fluid property that makes it both a blessing and a curse. The ability to be influenced by “everything and everyone” renders culture beyond measure or control. Hence, we can only measure cultural change programs and not overall culture (yet). However, it is also beneficial in that a non-linear system like culture can be influenced by small changes like better listening, asking more questions and greater sharing of information.

Read our book review and see how the ideas in each chapter influence ethical systems in organizations.