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Firms of Endearment: How World-Class Companies Profit from Passion and Purpose Hardcover – February 10, 2007

4.4 out of 5 stars 53 customer reviews

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"The Industries of the Future"
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Editorial Reviews

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From the Back Cover

Love, Joy, Authenticity, and Soul:

Building Winning Businesses in the

New Age of Transcendence

 

 

• Why today's most humane companies are blowing away the S&P 500 averages

• Increasing “share of heart: delivering the emotional, experiential, and social value your stakeholders are demanding

• 30 powerful case studies, including CarMax®, Timberland(tm), Jordan's Furniture, Trader Joe's, Wegmans, and Toyota(tm)

 

Today's best companiesget it. From Costco®to Commerce Bank, Wegmans to Whole Foods®: they're becoming the ultimate value creators. They're generatingeveryform of value that matters:emotional, experiential, social, and financial. And they're doing it foralltheir stakeholders. Not because it's “politically correct:because it's the only path to long-term competitive advantage.

These are theFirms of Endearment. Companies peoplelovedoing business with.Lovepartnering with.Loveworking for.Loveinvesting in. Companies for whom “loyalty isn't just real: it's palpable, and driving unbeatable advantages in everything from marketing to recruitment.

You need to become one of those companies. This book will show you how. You'll find specific, practical guidance on transforming every relationship you have: with customers, associates, partners, investors, and society. If you want to be great-trulygreat-thisis your blueprint.

 

We're entering an Age of Transcendence, as people increasingly search for higher meaning in their lives, not just more possessions. This is transforming the marketplace, the workplace, the very soul of capitalism. Increasingly, today's most successful companies are bringing love, joy, authenticity, empathy, and soulfulness into their businesses: they are delivering emotional, experiential, and social value—not just profits.

Firms of Endearmentilluminates this, the most fundamental transformation in capitalism since Adam Smith. It's not about “corporate social responsibility: it's about building companies that can sustain success in a radically new era. It's about great companies like IDEO and IKEA®, Commerce Bank and Costco®, Wegmans and Whole Foods®: how they earn the powerful loyalty and affection that enables truly breathtaking performance.

This book is about gaining “share of heart, not just share of wallet. It's about aligning stakeholders' interests, not just juggling them. It's about building companies that leave the world a better place. Most of all, it's about why youmustdo all this, or risk being left in the dust... andhow to get therefrom wherever you are now.

 

Foreword     xv

Prologue      A Whole New World         xxi

Chapter 1    It's Not Share of Wallet Anymore; It's Share of Heart       1

Chapter 2    New Age, New Rules, New Capitalism  23

Chapter 3    The Chaotic Interregnum 49

Chapter 4    Employees—The Decline and Fall of Human Resources      65

Chapter 5    Customers—The Power of Love 97

Chapter 6    Investors—Reaping What FoEs Sow    125

Chapter 7    Partners—Elegant Harmonies     145

Chapter 8    Society—The Ultimate Stakeholder      171

Chapter 9    Culture—The Secret Ingredient   197

Chapter 10  Lessons Learned    235

Chapter 11  Crossing Over to the Other Side 253

Acknowledgments  273

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE


Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: FT Press; 1 edition (February 10, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0131873725
  • ISBN-13: 978-0131873728
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #446,621 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
What is a Firm of Endearment? The authors argue that their example companies share a common set of core values, policies, and operating attributes which include:

1. aligning the interests of all stakeholder groups (customers, employees, partners, investors, and society) rather than seeking profit optimization

2. below-average executive compensation

3. open-door policies

4. employee compensation and benefits are above average for their industry

5. above-average employee training

6. empower employees to satisfy customers

7. hire employees who are passionate about the company's purpose

8. humanize customer and employee experiences

9. enjoy below-average marketing costs

10. honor the spirit as well as the letter of laws

11. focus on corporate culture as a competitive advantage

12. are often innovative in their industries

Companies identified include extensive examples drawn from Commerce Bank, Container Store, Costco, Harley-Davidson, Honda, IDEO, IKEA, jetBlue, Johnson & Johnson, Jordan's Furniture, New Balance, Patagonia, Southwest Airlines, Starbucks, Timberland, Toyota, Trader Joe's, UPS, Wegmans, and Whole Foods.

These companies are often contrasted with Wal-Mart and the Good to Great Companies identified by Jim Collins in 2001 in terms of stock price growth.

The authors argue that there is a new level of consciousness emerging that rewards those who do good while doing well. The implication is that all firms should shift to stakeholder optimization and the cultural values identified in the example companies.
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Format: Hardcover
This book outlines a possible shift in the way people are thinking about their roles and purpose within the companies they work. Basically people are seeking more 'meaning' from their work and as a result companies are changing their basic assumptions and approaches in the field of people management.

The authors assert that changes in demographics, consumer knowledge and an ageing population (which is working longer) is moderating the effects of Hard Capitalism, which favoured shareholders, and introducing a more egalitarian form of Capitalism which favours all stake holders.

The theory is highly seductive and desirable, but the book did not provide any strong evidence to support these claims. They provide plenty of stories and examples to illustrate the theory in action, but it should not be presented as supporting evidence without considering those organisations that also have these 'Enlightened' traits but were nevertheless unsuccessful.

In addition it is not clear which form of employee policy comes first, could it be that only when a company is successful can it treat its employees better with higher wages and enlightened thinking? or will higher wages and an enlightened policy make a company successful?

This book provides a theory which you wish were true, but wishing does not make it so.
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Format: Hardcover
Overall, the authors overstate their case. It may be true that capitalism has entered a period of soul searching unparalleled since Adam Smith (p. 4). I believe it has. But the authors have not identified the elements of it, despite their claim that it is embodied in these firms of endearment. There is more going on with the soul of capitalism than what appears on these authors' radar screen.

I like how the authors frame the new elements and facets of a firm of endearment, in terms of Maslow, Fromm and Erikson - the human potentialists and transpersonalists par excellence. Yet, I am surprised that they conveniently ignore much of the work of these same psychologists regarding society and capitalism, esp. Fromm's. The very conditions of a market society preclude self actualization, according to Fromm. To use, for example, Fromm's principle of "a being society" to support their thesis is disingenuous. Sisodia et al only use the parts of human potential psychology that fit their materialist-positivist, neo-liberal perspective. It is white wash and a co-opting, e.g. "heart share." Heart share with soulfulness would result in profits being secondary. But Sisodia et al are making profits primary and seeking ways to "use" heart share as a means to gain those profits. It is positivism at best, exploitation at worst.

To think, as the authors do, that the cultures of Whole Foods, Southwest Air, Trader Joes and the others mentioned, are the paradigms of the new soul of capitalism is incomplete and misguided. At best, it is an expropriating of nicey nice terms that evoke what everyone wants, but superficially ignores root dynamics.
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Format: Hardcover
Firms of Endearment masks some solid business ideas in layers of fluffy analogies and flowery wording. It could easily have been a 20 page essay. They are definitely onto some good ideas, but I wouldn't recommend this book for solid advice. It's also short on ways to implement their ideas.
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