The RBL White Paper Series
20 Insights on
20 Insights on Organizations
any decades ago, I was an aspiring attorney,
employee productivity, etc. I believe that sustainable
anticipating law school. By happenstance, I took
organization improvement starts by understanding how
a course in Organization Behavior, a relatively
factors outside the organization affect what happens inside
unknown field at the intersection of business, psychology,
the organization. If the organization cannot respond as
and sociology. The professor captured my attention and the
fast or faster than their external environment, they will fail.
ideas captivated my mind and heart. I became obsessed with
The complex externalities affecting an organization may
observing, studying, and improving organizations, with ever
be simplified into two domains: context and stakeholders.
increasing understandings of capabilities, leadership, talent,
Context refers to the organization’s milieu, the social,
culture, and human resources.
technological, environmental, political, economic, and
In the ensuing decades, I have had a real privilege of working
demographic (STEPED) factors that define both country and
with brilliant colleagues whose ideas have shaped my
thinking. I have also had the opportunity to try to integrate
theory, research, and practice to answer simple, but evolving
• Why do organizations matter in our world today? My view
is that organizations where people live and work can be a
remarkable source of good for people and communities.
• What are unique ways of understanding concepts of
organization, talent, and leadership? My view is that
organizations can be defined as capabilities like talent,
leadership, and culture. Line managers are the owners
of organization effectiveness and HR professionals are
the architects. So my work to evolve the HR department,...