November 29, 2005

The author

Before I read a book, I like to find out a little about the person who wrote it. So here is more about me than fits into the "about me" space at the upper right of this page.

There are a lot of business gurus around. I’m not one of them. And don’t especially want to be. I’m a student of management. I write books to better understand things, and as a way to call attention to new and underused ideas. I write about things I’m curious about and want to know more about – downsizing, new organization forms, positive psychology, growth, etc. I don’t think I’m an especially great new idea creator, but I am pretty good at combining existing insights to create something new. I enjoy spotting concepts from the hard and soft sciences that have applicability to management, and packaging them in easily digestible bites.

The same goes for my consulting. I am most helpful to clients when they ask me to study their situation, playback what I’ve found, and stimulate their thinking about what to do next. I try to avoid situations where I’m supposed to be “the expert.”

I’ve had a life-long interest in figuring out how thing work. This may be a guy thing (?). It started with machines (remember Tinker Toys and Erector sets?) and led me to study physics in college and organizational behavior in grad school. I’m especially interested in how things can be made to happen – what does it take in a given situation to get something done.

I’ve been fortunate to have taken courses from some of the leading thinkers in organization theory – Chris Argyris, Paul Lawrence, Harry Levinson, Ed Schein, Don Schon, and Abraham Zaleznik. But I’ve probably learned the most about organizations and organizing from a training program a Chicago activist, Saul Alinsky, ran. And, as I mentioned in
Bigger Isn’t Always Better, I’ve learned a lot more about what growth really means from being a father than working as a management consultant to some of the world’s leading corporations.

For a more long-winded account of my writing, consulting and speaking, click on Bio.

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