Most of us know the Salvation Army from its fundraising efforts and philanthropic programs, but the $2 billion-a-year transcontinental institution, now serving more than 30 million people with a vastly underpaid and overworked staff, is also a model business structure. Under a title taken from the description applied to it by management guru Peter Drucker, The Most Effective Organization in the U.S.
outlines the fundamental tenets that the group has prospered under since its founding in the mid- to late 1800s. Written by former National Commander Robert A. Watson and freelancer Ben Brown, the book details eight principles that allow the Army to do so much with so little: focus on "a purpose that transcends quarterly earnings"; make "what you do serve human needs"; stay publicly accountable to visible standards; encourage feedback and act upon it; "invest real power and real responsibility" in top personnel; "accept the inevitability of change"; take calculated risks; and motivate employees by ensuring their jobs are both valuable and enjoyable. Some readers may not be comfortable with the organization's overt ties to Christian teachings, but few can argue with the success it consistently enjoys. --Howard Rothman
From Publishers Weekly
A clear mission, innovative techniques, commitment, efficiency and visible outcomes are the name of the business game, and also happen to be exemplified by the Salvation Army. In "The Most Effective Organization in the U.S.": Leadership Secrets of the Salvation Army, Robert A. Watson, an officer in the Salvation Army for 44 years, and freelance writer Ben Brown mine the organizational riches of this familiar group and present them as a model for others in the nonprofit and for-profit worlds. Watson, who as a child was clothed, fed and kept busy by the Salvation Army, reveals the skills and principles he learned as an officer of a company that completes projects from top to bottom from conceiving an idea and building a site to designing the financial plan and hiring, training and inspiring employees. The organization famous for its big heart also has plenty of sense. Proceeds go to the Salvation Army.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.