Book Review: The Healing Organization

Posted: December 15, 2021

The Healing Organization, Awakening the Conscience of Business to Help Save the World
Raj Sisodia and Michael J. Gelb

Is the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible really possible?

It is. In fact, Raj Sisodia and Michael J. Gelb are making the case that business can help “save the world.”

Consider Tom Peters’ exhilarating foreword: [In this book] The Healing Organization Book Cover“you will discover how business can become a place of healing for employees and their families, a source of healing for customers, communities, and ecosystem and a force for healing in society . . .” Tom Peters feels this premise audacious. In Appreciative Inquiry we know it’s a “provocative proposition.”

What is past is prologue – William Shakespeare.

The authors highlight the detrimental effects of a singular pursuit of profit in the book, including how we’re imprisoned by our thoughts, that people are literally dying for a paycheck, and that even as we progress in so many ways, we allow drastic, unnecessary suffering to continue.

This book was published prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. So while we’re seeing the astonishing ways in which worker expectations are changing today, it’s more likely the pandemic has only accelerated this sweeping change rather than caused it. In this light, the past really can be prologue for a new chapter in business.

Of course, some companies didn’t need a pandemic to inspire their life-giving decisions and actions.

Healing the wounds of poverty, hopelessness, and disenfranchisement, to name a few ills.

Stories in this book describe leaders who are curious, compassionate, and confident. These leaders find better ways of doing business that are profitable, possible, and packed with opportunity as well as uplifting:

  • Fall in love with Greyston Bakery (as I did) where their motto is “We don’t hire people to bake brownies, we bake brownies to hire people.”
  • Learn about Payactiv, understanding that the “timing of money matters almost as much as the quantity” earned and providing early access to wages.
  • Read how Hillmann Consulting’s focus on the welfare of its own people translates into service to the community, and gives them a competitive advantage in environmental consulting.
  • And many more enlightened success stories!

It’s about progress, not perfection.

Lara Heacock is my Doing (good) Business podcast co-host and coach for business leaders who have the audacity to bring kindness into business. She frequently reminds us of the “progress, not perfection” mantra. In the book’s last section, the authors spell out steps toward progress. There are three (3) fundamental principles for defining a healing organization, with lots of rich detail, and ten (10) recommended ways to become a healing leader.

Reading between the lines.

I noticed many of the leaders profiled credit their parents or other significant individuals as their role models for making the world a better place. It seems they have identified the best of their pasts and carried it forward to create new realities.

If you wonder what might be possible if more business leaders were inspired to bring about healing in meaningful and measurable ways, I recommend this book. If you want to be a healing leader or in some other way want to bring about positive change in an organization, I recommend this book.

The world we desire really can become our reality if we focus upon it.
Happy Reading!

The Healing Organization can be found in the Center for Appreciative Inquiriy’s store and purchased through Amazon and other retailers.


Book Review: The Healing Organization

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