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Freedom From Command And Control: A Better Way To Make The Work Work
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Freedom From Command And Control: A Better Way To Make The Work Work

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  199 ratings  ·  20 reviews
This is a management book that challenges convention and aims to appeal to a wide target audience. Seddon argues that while many commentators acknowledge command and control is failing us, no one provides an alternative. His contention is the alternative can only be understood when you see the failings of command and control by taking the better - systems - view. There is ...more
Published October 1st 2003 by Vanguard Consulting Ltd
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Peter A.
May 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing
“Freedom from Command and Control”
A Review of the book by
John Seddon

John Seddons Book “Freedom from Command and Control” catches the eye immediately with the promise in the title.
Can there be such a thing as Freedom from Command and Control?

The workforce have longed to be liberated from the directive, destructive “Command and Control” that has passed for management strategy for such a long time.
In the title of Johns book we see the possibility.

From the word go John tells us that “Command and
James Lusher
Jan 31, 2018 rated it liked it
Treat everything as a system and then optimise the system don't manage the people. Work on removing waste and enhancing the quality of what the system is doing which is measured by the customer and not by management. Make sure the system is delivering value to the customers. Ask them what they want and then give it to them. Measure the right things and use data to drive decisions. Use capability charts to show data - plot the data and then show max and min. Look for the signal, not the noise. ...more
Ralph  van Roosmalen
Definitely a book you must read when you are working with service organizations. Also interesting when you want to know more about leaving traditional management behind. Personally, I found it a bit hard to read and it required some discipline to finish the book.
Shaun Hutcheson
Jan 29, 2020 rated it liked it
The concepts and learnings in this book are fantastic. I did however find this book a chore to read and it took a lot of discipline to finish. Whilst the content is great it does get a bit repetitive and sometimes I'm not sure if we've gone off on a tanget or I just lost concentration.
Sep 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is a book about a better way to make work work. The focus of the book is on the translation of the principles behind the Toyota Production System for service organizations.[1]

The better way has a completely different logic to command-and-control, and that, perhaps, is the reason it is difficult to understand. People interpret what they hear from their current frame of reference, so what they hear is not necessarily what is meant.[2]

The cornerstone of command-and-control is the separation of
Roger K.
Nov 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
Seddon's book provides a useful approach to applying systems thinking to solve business problems. The examples and clear, no-nonsense wording are easy to follow and illustrate his points effectively.

Along the way, Seddon calls out the shortcomings he sees in many other approaches: TQM, Six Sigma, tools-first Lean practices, and ISO9000, to name a few. It's hard to argue with his reasoning. He also is not arguing from ignorance of these practices. He heavily quotes both Deming and Ohno, while
Alberto Brandolini
Oct 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: management, lean
A great book. John Seddon knows what he's talking about and fills the book with many examples from the field. Reading this book should be mandatory for everybody working in the public sector, or in service companies. However the book lacks in structure and editing: I often found myself getting back "oh wait, he said something REALLY important here!". Content would be five stars.
Christian Blunden
Nov 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: systems-thinking
Amazing book! Learning to see service organisations as Systems, John Seddon really drives Vanguard's simple method of Systems Thinking home with many great case studies.
Aug 13, 2010 rated it it was amazing
It's not possible to give a succinct summary of this excellent book - changes your thinking for ever and reveals all the sins of command & control.
Levi Borba
It is not a bad book at all. It is actually good to learn what doesn't work in a service business. But after properly argument about the methods that doesn't work, the author starts to talk in circles and almost always suggest that the best way to improve a service company and apply correctly the "systems thinking" is to hire his consultancy firm. So that is how i felt about this book: A lot of useful insights about the flaws of the current methods, but the solutions are not really present at ...more
Greg Eatwell
Oct 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
In summary this book can be a tad difficult to stick with - however it changed everything for me, I now coach teams the principles in this book. It really is a game changer! He's pretty arrogant but that does not matter - his views are spot on!

If someone recommends you read this book and you're in the service industry, you will be thanking them for years to come. The results you get are outstanding, not to mention the people who do the work are so much happier!

Happy reading!
Andrea Catalucci
Feb 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
I loved the content: the evidence is convincing and feels generalisable to most contexts. The format is rather poor: some paragraphs are really hard to understand and a fair amount of typos doesn't help either
Nguyễn Trung
Aug 30, 2019 rated it liked it
Too repetitive and sometimes hard to understand. Concepts and logic are sometimes taken as granted and are not explained sufficiently. While on the whole I find this book interesting and useful, it could have been done in a much shorter format and with clearer explanation of everything.
Oliver Clarke
Jan 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating overview of systems thinking.
Feb 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Lean para serviços? Leia este antes de qualquer outro.
Jul 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Great ideas to improve service organisations, but would have benefited from a better editor. Repetitive and ranting.
Sep 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
interesting assessment of lean thinking in public sector. does get a bit fundamentalist though - can err towards the hectoring "why would you not do this? surely this is obvious? there is no other way"
still useful...
Stephen Acton
Sep 17, 2011 rated it liked it
A great read if you want to understand more about the "why" behind the process/ continuous improvement movement in corporate environments today.
A great book, well reasoned arguments with evidence to back up what the author has put forward.
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If you think you know how to manage, think again. 1 4 May 20, 2008 03:41AM  

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“Maximizing the ability to handle variety is central to improving service and reducing costs. The systems approach employs the ingenuity of workers in managing and improving the system. It is intelligent use of intelligent people; it is adaptability designed in, enabling the organization to respond effectively to customer demands. Workers” 0 likes
“As managers develop the systems approach, they learn to use computers for the things they are good at and to the contrary avoid using computers for things that people are good at. The consequences are fewer computer systems and more control. I” 0 likes
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