Chapter 2Getting Organized

Some leaders pay little attention to structure, either because they don’t understand it or because they don’t see it as very interesting or important. In Chapter One, when we profiled Lou Gerstner’s remarkable turnaround at IBM, we highlighted his symbolic moves to reinvigorate the culture. But it was his strategic and restructuring diligence that initially pulled IBM out of its downward spiral.

Social architecture has been a fundamental underpinning for many other successful leaders, such as McDonald’s CEO Jim Skinner, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, and Xerox CEO Ursula Burns. Using a mantra of “freedom within a framework,” Skinner worked to tighten and loosen McDonald’s structure at the same time, because he saw the ...

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