Want to reduce turnover, eliminate micromanaging, improve leadership and staff development, increase productivity, increase employee and managerial satisfaction, achieve organizational goals, and more? Read this book. Follow its directives.
It may take a while to digest the very dense information contained in this book, but for the serious student of organizational effectiveness, it is worth it. Very terse and prescriptive in his style, Jaques' writing may disenchant some. Yet the wisdom in this, his flagship tome, is immense. It took a while to sink in, and I found that reading several of his other books helped clarify the concepts for me. See for example: Executive Leadership, Social Power and the CEO, Human Capability, and Levels of Abstraction in Logic and Human Action. Requisite Organization, however, is the book to which I return for reference and details; it covers all the important concepts in a single volume. [The other books add detail and emphasize various points, so they have particular value too.] Organizational Design by Rowbottom and Billis helped me too, as did the excellent work by both Mark Van Clieaf at MVC Associates and Gillian Stamp at BIOSS.
I didn't, at first, fully understand the importance of the information contained in this book, or the solid research foundation that underlies it. A little known fact is that the concepts included in this book provide the foundation for leadership development, talent management, and compensation processes of organizations such as GE and the US Army. Many other authors and consulting organizations touting talent management, leadership pipelines, succession planning and the like derive their approaches directly or indirectly from Jaques - an interesting story in itself. Most give him little or no credit, though Colin Powell, as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the U.S. Armed Forces, honored Jaques with the Joint Staff Certificate of Appreciation for "outstanding contributions in the field of military leadership theory and instruction to all of the service departments of the United States". And the American Psychological Association honored him with the Harry Levinson Award of the Consulting Psychology Division for "a distinguished career and impressive accomplishments."
After reading Jaques, all the others seem derivative, shallow, trite, and somewhat off-target. Granted, other authors have something of value to say about organizational structuring, accountability, strategic planning, leadership, selection, mentoring, coaching, compensation, managerial practices, functional alignment, measurement, and the like. But while all the rest are shooting in the dark, Jaques hits center target!