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Freedom from Command and Control: A Better Way to Make the Work Work Paperback – 1 Oct 2003


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Product details

  • Paperback: 216 pages
  • Publisher: Vanguard Consulting Ltd (1 Oct 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0954618300
  • ISBN-13: 978-0954618308
  • Product Dimensions: 15.8 x 1.4 x 23.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 57,848 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Ross Maynard VINE VOICE on 18 Jun 2009
Format: Paperback
In "Freedom from Command and Control" John Sneddon provides an excellent analysis of the error of target-driven business management. His main proposition is that "targets" drive bureaucracy and sub-optimal behaviours. His argument being that we should measure and manage the capability of work processes and work together to improve those processes, rather than judge people on results - which are often simply the result of variations in the process and lead to a decline in morale. Essentially Mr Sneddon is talking about applying the "lean" philosophy to processes - particularly service processes - though he hardly mentions the word "lean" in the book (possibly to avoid bamboozling readers; and certainly to avoid accusations is he jumping on a bandwagon: he uses the book to give other "buzzwords" - ISO9000, IIP Chartermark, TQM etc - short shrift). He makes his point very well, though he does labour it somewhat; and I feel he doesn't really offer many alternative measures (of process performance) to counteract the tendency to focus on results. He also uses one of the final chapters in the book to sell his own consultancy somewhat annoyingly. In addition, I feel his criticism of ISO9000, IIP and other approaches is a little harsh. His comments about them not explicitly focussing on processes that create customer value is true enough, but the examples he gives are extreme cases. Most organisations enter these schemes with an honest desire to improve (rather than cheat the system); they just lack awareness of how best to identify value adding processes. Nevertheless, I recommend this book to anyone considering how to establish performance measures in their business; or wondering why results based measures are actually causing problems of conflict, poor morale, and declining service.
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49 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Nick Wood on 22 Oct 2003
Format: Paperback
You have got to read this book.
I have always been cynical about any improvement method (BPR etc.) and management fads that espouse miracle cures and yet offer very little in practical terms, i.e. what do I do tomorrow and how ?
I got introduced to John and the work of Vanguard by a friend a few years back. Through studying the method all of a sudden my angst about the teachings I had at university and the management approach in industry that just didn't feel right connected- there is a better way. It connected into a method that actually does work and does not undermine the purpose of a business, to keep customers and make money.
The method exemplified in this book is down to earth, practical and grounded in a proven theory. Perhaps the biggest compliment I can give it, is that it teaches you how to 'see' from a perspective that will shock you yet motivate you to improve your work design. By improving your work design you please your customers, your staff morale goes up because they feel that they are making a difference and guess what you will please yourself because your profits will go up as you eradicate waste out of your work design
The book sets out this method in a readable, accessible style and is littered with genuine examples that enable you to 'see' how it can work for you. You will not get all the answers from the book, this is not what is about - a good method does not give you the answers (how could it, without application to your system ?) it invites you to study your own system and make improvements on the back of your findings
If you want a book that will motivate you to get reconnected with your customers, create value for them and improve your staff morale and profits - BUY THIS NOW !
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This book is nothing more than a plagiarism of existing improvement frameworks, offering nothing different but a name badge change.

The only reason I've given it 2 stars is because the stuff in it makes sense...But let's not pretend this is the the new methodology that will change your life.
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If you work in the financial services sector and you want to change your business processes for the better, look no further than this book. In my 30 years of insurance broking, I have been throughout many operational, process and technology changes, almost none of which have fully delivered their intended benefits. I lived through working with John Seddon's team at Vanguard on implementing change using the approach in this book and it works like nothing else. It is truly empowering to those who do the work to change it for the better. For those managers who revel in being all knowing and directing everyone, however, here comes the revolution !
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Some good concepts but very much a marketing exercise for the authors firm. And he has a lot of negativity for 6 Sigma and lean despite the fact that these are effective improvement techniques in their own right. There are no panaceas. Right tool for the job. This is another tool to have in your toolbox.
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An eye opening take on how to use TPS in the service sector and how to avoid using measures as targets. Brings to life how we should move away from top down and specialist function. This is for people who want to really deliver sustainable change that saves money and improves customer service.
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