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Barbarians to Bureaucrats: Corporate Life Cycle Strategies Paperback – January 14, 1990


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Barbarians to Bureaucrats:  Corporate Life Cycle Strategies + The Effective Executive: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Right Things Done (Harperbusiness Essentials)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Fawcett (January 14, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0449905268
  • ISBN-13: 978-0449905265
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.5 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #257,212 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Excellent provocative thoughts about leadership, which prod the reader to think for oneself rather than accept a simplistic, Atilla-the-Hun -- like answer." Dallas Times Herald

"Thought-provoking . . . . Anyone in a position to influence the direction of their company should make this book a No. 1 priority on his or her reading list." -- Atlanta Journal-Constitution

From the Inside Flap

"One day your sluggish company will taken to the sound of a beating drum and the sight of a competitor approaching at ramming speed. On deck will be a jut-jawed Barbarian....He will hardly blink as his target is ripped asunder, sending Aristocrats, Bureaucrats and their unfortunate shipmates to their corporate death....So goes Mr. Miller's tale, from which we can all profit." The Wall Street Journal

Barbarians to Bureaucrats presents a brilliant new solution to a stubborn old business problem: how to halt a company's descent into wasteful, stifling bureaucracy. Lawrence M. Miller, a management consultant for such corporate giants as Xerox and 3M, argues that corporations, like civilizations, have a natural life cycle, and that by identifying the stage your company is in, and the leaders associated with it, you can avert decline and continue to thrive.

Every company begins with the compelling new vision of a Prophet and the aggressive leadership of an iron-willed Barbarian, who implements the Prophet's ideas. New techniques and expansions are pushed through by the Builder and the Explorer, but the growth spawned by these managers can easily stagnate when the Administrator sacrifices innovation to order, and the Bureaucrat imposes tight control. And just as in civilizations, the rule of the Aristocrat, out of touch with those who do the real work, invites rebellion -- from employees, customers, and stockholders. It will take the Synergist, a business leader who balances creativity with order, to restore vitality and insure future growth.

Executives from major corporations have already put the powerful insights of Barbarians to Bureaucrats into practice to regenerate their own companies. Now you can use this brilliant, lucid, and dazzlingly original book to put your company -- and your career -- back on track.

More About the Author

For the past thirty-five years, Lawrence M. Miller has worked to improve the performance of organizations. He began in our prisons. He redesigned a prison system by establishing the first free-economy behind prison walls in which inmates learned by earning.

His consulting focuses on implementing lean management and culture within his client organizations. He helps his clients with "whole-system" redesign of both work processes and the enabling social systems of the organization. Lean culture plus lean processes equal competitive success and customer satisfaction. He coaches senior teams and executives in their leadership of change and lean organization.

He was the founder of the Miller-Howard Consulting Group, which he sold to Towers Perrin in 1998 when he became a principal in that firm. He and his firm were one of the early proponents of team-based management and implemented team management from the senior executive team to include every level and every employee in the organization. Among his consulting clients have been 3M, Corning, Shell Oil Company, Merck, Metropolitan Life, Chick-fil-A, and Landmark Communications.

Mr. Miller has authored eight previous books, among them American Spirit: Visions of A New Corporate Culture, and Barbarians to Bureaucrats: Corporate Life Cycle Strategies. He has appeared on the Today Show, CNN, and CNBC, has written for The New York Times and has been the subject of a feature story in Industry Week magazine. Mr. Miller now lives in Annapolis, MD.

Mr. Miller is a frequent and popular speaker at management conferences.

His website is www.ManagementMeditations.com and he can be reached at LMMiller@lmmiller.com.

Customer Reviews

I bought 50 copies of the book over time and gave it to my managers.
Peter
If they need something new, they will simply buyout some small firm to steal its remarkable products.
J. Fitzpatrick
In addition, I've used the book as a textbook in a graduate level Organizational Development course.
Glen B. Earl

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 4, 1999
Format: Paperback
Excellent summary of identifying, working with, and maneuvering around the types of executives that inhabit today's corporate environment. With valid parallels drawn to both business and world history, this book helps the reader place themselves and those with whom they work into personality types, that eventually create a corporate personality. More importantly, the book outlines the progression/regression characteristics and tools for moving from one personality type to another (either personally, or as a business), or enhancing one type with characteristics from another.
Well worth reading for anyone in middle management, and required understanding for top executives.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey L. Parker on August 22, 2001
Format: Paperback
Excellent book. With so many "here's what's wrong with your company" books available, this is one of the best. Not only does the author suggest what's wrong...i.e., which part of the life cycle is your company in, he tells you how to do something about it.
If I'd only been able to read just one book, I am glad I choose this one.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Carolyn on December 9, 2000
Format: Paperback
By comparing the lifecycles of corporations to those of civilizations, this book helps to explain how all sorts of organizations, not just corporations, can become "sick" through bureaucracy and poor leadership. This book helped me to understand why there is so much institutional opposition to correcting even localized corruption and dissolution in a large, bureaucratic GOVERNMENT institution. It helped save my sanity. I with the author would write a similar book dealing with governmental organizations.
Another book which may help if you are trying to "fight city hall" is Stanley Milgram's Obedience to Authority.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Pagogh Cho on July 24, 2001
Format: Paperback
It's not necessarily that as a company grows from the garage into the boardroom that bad things happen . . . it's that some things are inevitable and are a function of growth.
This book sumarizes the multiple facets involved in such growth and allows the reader to compare the growth cycle of companies at varying stages. It's impact on people, org behavior, culture, awareness and other areas that the "garage shop" does not need to consider at early stages. It's a key read and assessment as companies find themselves in transition from a heavily entrepreneurial spirit to a more entrenched corporate being and notes many of the patterns such growth requires. Read between the lines and you may find companies who are currently faltering because of a lack of transition mindset to allow them to sustain managed growth or the new "size." Overall, it's a great academic read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ruben Martinez-raposo on December 6, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book by Lawrence Miller provides an inside view of the 7 different styles of leaderships. First of all, I found this easy to read and a very good learning material for my Master class. At the same time, this is a book I will keep reviewing in moving through the corporate ladder and work with different supervisors or co-workers. It taught the ways to recognize the levels of leadership and how to manage conflict, approach and collaborate. I think this is very important for anyone in a large corporation and wants to move up. I have seen already how this book has helped during my work as well as in personal situations. Big thumps up to Mr. Miller!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. Fitzpatrick on September 12, 2010
Format: Paperback
A friend of mine wrote:

"I once brought in my own white-colored full writing pads from Office Depot and was told point blank I could not use them since they were not "legal yellow" and could be suspect in any audit, although the term "legal pad" is a misnomer."

Miller writes about the futility, frivolousness & banality of corporate life!

From Barbarians to Bureaucrats - It helped me understand the corporate lifecycle. In it Miller surmises, "Bureaucrats and administrators stymie creativity and innovation by imposing (frivolous & onerous) order & control"!

And there you have it!

From their ivory towers they mismanage like Hitler from on top all high & totally out of touch from reality. The administrators make it impossible to actually get things done - Because they want to have the power of "control"; and because many solutions might be "unpopular" to some

Thus, Corporations can't actually "create" any products. If they need something new, they will simply buyout some small firm to steal its remarkable products.

And there you have it!

All easily explained in print before your very eyes! Read it and weep - Because you know it's true!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mario L. Veneroso on May 10, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It provides good insight and examples of company transitions and the players involved. I most appreciated the portions that deal with working for or having the described personality working with you.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Glen B. Earl on January 14, 2013
Format: Paperback
Barbarians to Bureaucrats is the best book on organizational lifecycles I have ever read. It is easy to read, no technical jargon, and keeps the reader engaged. In addition, I've used the book as a textbook in a graduate level Organizational Development course.
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