On organization effectiveness, ‘hope is not a strategy’

NEW YORK–Last January 26, AlleyBoost featured two motivational speakers, Brett Morgan of GothamCulure and Dan Markovitz, an author and Yale professor, to talk about organizational effectiveness.


“Hope is not a strategy,” Morgan said simply before he proceeded to talk about how key influencers make organizations function better.

Porter: “Strategy is about making choices”; Drucker: “Culture eats strategy for breakfast”; Sinek: “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”

Best of all, Morgan emphasized how important it is to understand what you’re doing. Taking his cue from Drucker, he said: “Culture should permeate an organization. Culture is foundation.”

On leadership, he goes back to John Quincy Adams: “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”

Quoting himself, “If you don’t know why you’re doing it, stop doing it. Or you will not know how to be successful.”

Markovitz, a marathoner in high school, thinks an organization should train like an athlete and while doing so, must know the approach to running efficient organizations: lean methodology. “Lean is about how to do more with less.”  

He takes “the fit organization” literally and in his book, he said he makes it a point that the language is easy to understand. “Athletes rigorously pursue improvement. Yet companies don’t it this way,” he laments.

In his book, he said he has 6 core principles that companies need to adhere to; he names three of them at the meetup:


  1. Commit to improvement. If you are going to be fit, you have to do it everyday. While it may not be standard practice anymore, he said it can be done if one has a suggestion box or even a public suggestion wall. This makes the company’s commitment to improvement visible. For hare-brained ideas, he said you can help turn a bad idea into a good idea.
  2. Increase value.  Cutting costs don’t work  He proceeds to tell us how some companies laid off hundreds of people to cut costs when it should have increased its value. Wild Things Gear is company that he thinks adds value to consumers because it allows you to customize their winter jackets.

Another company, Bilder & De Clerq in Amsterdam shows food shoppers all the ingredients of a meal by putting them on display in tables around the store. So you just take all the items sprawled on the table for you to re-enact a dish.

Markovitz said his book, Building the Fit Organization, should walk you step by step through the process of making lean as intrinsic to your company in your pursuit of profits. You will learn how to make an unshakeable commitment to increasing the value provided by doing the right work in the right way with continuous monitoring of processes and structured coaching for everyone.

But what if you don’t have the mindset of a fit person? “Use your own metaphor,” he said.



Dennis Clemente

Shuttling between New York and other US cities, Dennis writes about tech meetups when he's not too busy working as a Web Developer/Producer + UX Writer and Digital Marketer.

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