46 of 48 people found the following review helpful
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.
While they don't make this argument, it's clear that the authors have identified many of the mindsets that lead a company to seek optimizing results for all stakeholders.
Before you assume total cause and effect, I would like to raise some issues not fully addressed in the book:
1. This is an after-the-fact evaluation. As such, (like Good to Great), we may mostly be seeing what the leaders are proud of . . . rather than what caused their success. For example, Southwest's success is focused on their corporate culture. But the company also has a better business model than almost any other airline (Ryanair's is better) and does a better job of fuel cost hedging than any other U.S. airline. Those factors aren't mentioned.
2. These companies are almost all in consumer products or services. A class of socially conscious consumers has sprung up who look hard for such firms. It's not clear that OEM and industrial buyers have evolved their preferences nearly to the same extent. So many of the lessons may only apply consumer goods and services (except for those validated by Gallup for having a motivated and effective group of people working for you).
3. Almost all of these firms are highly effective business model innovators who have gained enormous advantages over competitors who seldom innovate their business models. As a result, they can afford practices that may or may not pay off in profit without incurring any negative reaction. The next business model innovation will pay for the cost.
I was surprised that this book didn't look at the study I made from 1992-2001 that identified continuing business model innovation as the single best factor for explaining high levels of corporate performance (see The Ultimate Competitive Advantage). The books share some examples in common (including Jordan's Furniture and Timberland), but many of FoE's examples are also superior business model innovators (Amazon, BMW, CarMax, Caterpillar, Container Store, Costco, eBay, Google, Harley-Davidson, IDEO, IKEA, jetBlue, Patagonia, Starbucks, Trader Joe's, UPS, Wegmans, and Whole Food).
4. It often pays better to serve stakeholder interests than to ignore them. Why? Because ignoring stakeholders often burdens both the company and the stakeholder with costs and experiences that neither want. This economic case for stakeholder focus isn't fully developed outside of the customer arena.
5. The book emphasizes sustainability, but much of that argument is built around companies disappearing from the Fortune 500 (something that happens whenever a merger happens . . . which doesn't mean that the organization goes away, just the corporate headquarters in most cases). In the research of my students on environmental sustainability (see Hiroshi Fukushi's work, A Strategic Approach to the Environmentally Sustainable Business, for example), it's apparent that making the environment cleaner than when you touched it is economically advantaged in most situations. The idea of sustainability is based on the outmoded notion of not doing too much damage rather than finding profits in making the world better than you found it.
But it's a good book that creates more questions than it answers. This one will probably stimulate some more careful thinking in the area of where seeking to be more considerate of others is going to create better results as well as better sleep.
41 of 44 people found the following review helpful
on January 11, 2009
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.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on January 5, 2013
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.
(If they did not make the claim of transforming the soul of capitalism, and simply put forth that large corporations can be benevolent, then they would have been more congruent and in integrity. Instead, they recapitulate what seems to be the consultant's mania. When he senses some theme in the world, he also senses himself as its messiah. "The end of history!...of environmentalism!...of competition!" The list is endless. Judgment-day polemics as a business-scholar genre. Also at play here, is the huge blind spot in the business-economics profession. The economist will never bite that hand that feeds it. Funding for this kind of study typically comes from large commercial enterprises. The world to these researchers becomes populated only with these large scale enterprises. It is a bias that is deep and widespread, and these authors are in the grip of it big time.)
To me, the important root dynamics of capitalism that indicate "soul work," which the authors ignore, have to do with (i) commodification of life (including human work and ecological nature), (ii) property/ownership and (iii) endless growth and scale (including "footprint" and the issue of efficiency). These get at the soul of capitalism and, because the authors don't address these, this is why I think they are missing more fundamental trends and therefore are misguided in thinking they've identified the essential things.
For commodification and the limits of markets, the work of Michael Sandel comes to mind. In terms of property ownership especially share ownership, the recent work of B-Corporations, Investor's Circle, Marjorie Kelly and Elinor Ostrom is noteworthy. For scale and efficiency, there's Herman Daly, Lietaer and Ulanowicz, and James Hillman (Hillman on efficiency, service and maintenance in Kinds of Power).
All kinds of ownership models and structures are in play now and the authors are very naïve here. Cooperatives, mutual funds of local companies, different stock classes for different kinds of owners (local and non local), employee owned companies, joint ventures, publicly owned utilities, banks, sports teams (eg Green Bay Packers), community development funds, community land, Georgist ownership/taxation schemes for land and resources, public commons..... This is a key area for the revisioning of capitalism. The book's chapters on shareholders and partners, where it could talk about these things, is slim slim slim. I saw one mention of an ESOP, but paltry in its elaboration. I would have liked to see more about their example of Jameson Inns, where loyal customers are awarded shares in the company.
The authors take the traditional ontology of capitalism as given. They see only "firms-in-markets" as the operative entities of society. Along with these are the usual litany of the things of capitalism, an over simplified ontology of factors of production (financial capital and labor), entrepreneur, executive, customer, and (passive and/or day-trading) shareholder.
The usual metrics around these are taken for granted, especially traditional financial metrics of price-earnings ratio and market capitalization. Despite the authors saying how qualitative metrics are important for long term valuation, they spend a lot of time and in the end rely on share price/market capitalization as the ultimate metric of performance. I like the SPICE framework for stakeholder analysis. But the authors' attachment to simplistic financial metrics implicitly favor only one of the stakeholder classes (investors) and even at this, shortsells, so to speak, this class with these superficial metrics.
Their treatment of the "society" stakeholder reflects their unconscious orientation to "big is better." Saying that these companies "strive to make themselves welcome in local communities" (p. 180) is pure whitewash. They could have gone into much of the new emerging regional metrics and analysis of the effect of large companies on local communities. They could have looked at income multipliers and supply chain issues. For example, Trader Joes uses local suppliers extensively to private label the products it sells in its stores.
I've been reading about how cities and municipalities could take on the same rights and powers as corporations (see Gerald Frug's City Making). Today, cities more or less have the legal status, rights and obligations as a subordinate agency of the (provincial) state. This is less power than a corporation and even a church. By giving power to cities that was at least equal to the legal power of corporations, citizens within them could counter large corporations that ride roughshod over peoples' lives and living environments (as is the case here in Jackson County with, for example, Harry and David: largest private landholder, second largest employer in the county; privately owned by New York investment banker; executive officers live in and manage from Atlanta and Beverly Hills.)
I bring the example of city empowerment to show that the ontology that sees only "firms in markets" as the basis for capitalism is not complete nor absolute, as Sisodia et al seem to think. There are other types of human collectivities in-between individual and Nation State. Counties, municipalities and even States are, for example, implementing procurement ordinances that give preferential treatment to local suppliers in government contracts. These are important in the remaking of the soul of capitalism, which the authors overlook.
Expanding the ontology of capitalism beyond "firm in market" also brings to mind the work of Kurt Dopfer and Wolfram Elsner. They and many others (strangely outside of the Anglo-American economics world) are developing a notion of "meso" economics: collectivities in between the individual (micro) and society (macro).
Also, I will point out that Sisodia et al hold to the conception of CEOs and entrepreneurs as "heroic." While there is a lot of talk about cooperation, and that company culture is all important (and these notions certainly are important), it sounds like the authors are saying that it is up to the individual CEO entrepreneur as making it all happen.
This unconscious conception of CEO/entrepreneur as hero fortifies "ego" as important in management and "survival in material nature" as the ultimate objective. It goes against their other claims of self actualization and concern for other. It goes against the notion of "soul." Again, the authors are confused and unclear around these distinctions, in my opinion. And it makes their assessments half assed.
The authors take the relationality meme and try to run with it, but they are trapped in their "soul-less positivism." They won't concede an alternative leadership style where, for example, the leader function rotates through the members of the group.
Most of the companies profiled by the authors - except for Ikea, Honda, Toyota, and Canon - are American. Again, to me this indicates that the authors consider capitalism's neo-liberal landscape to be permanent.
The criticism by TJ Rodgers of Cypress Semiconductor et al against John Mackey of Whole Foods (mentioned on p. 271) that being socially responsible and/or a `firm of endearment' in order to get market advantage and therefore yet another tactic in a Darwinian struggle, is a correct criticism. Sisodia et al do not successfully counter this criticism, in my opinion. This is because their underlying philosophy of economy is materialist, positivist, behaviorist, and Darwinian. They have not done their own soul work in order to see this. From a Hillman perspective of soul, their book definitely is not about the soul of capitalism. It is everything but soul. It is the shadow of the capitalist soul, "bright shadow" perhaps, as Jung might say, but shadow nevertheless.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
According to the authors, a Firm of Endearment or FoE is a company whose decisions are made with the social consequences in mind. This runs contrary to what many people consider to be the fundamental principles of capitalism, which is to maximize your value at all costs within the acceptable legal, moral and ethical bounds. The authors demonstrate that many companies are achieving better growth than the "hard-core capitalists" by actively considering the overall consequences of their actions. In fact, some of the most telling passages are quotes from the hard-cores about how foolish the behavior of the FoE's is. This is then followed by data demonstrating that the performance of the companies run by the hard-cores is dwarfed by the FoE's. In some cases, those who proclaim an increase in shareholder value to be the pinnacle of success run companies where the stock price has declined during their tenure.
There have been problems with capitalism and the corporations since both were first invented. In the late nineteenth century, business leaders were known as robber barons and it took government action to break up the trusts. In retrospect this was an excellent action as it allowed the free market to emerge from the previous one controlled by the powerful.
At the start of the twenty-first century we have a global economy and major threats from global warming. Capitalism also needs to change to reflect the new reality. The authors of this book show that the latest version of the robber barons that get enormous salaries for mediocre performance are a fading breed. The best new corporations have passion, heart and a sense of the common purpose of humanity. Not only are they the kind of people that you would want to have over for dinner, but they are also some of the best run and most profitable businesses. This book should be required reading in all introduction to business courses.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on February 7, 2011
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.
14 of 20 people found the following review helpful
This book has me really conflicted. I am quite sympathetic to the core idea of the book, that companies can compete effectively and still treat their customers, the public, and their shareholders very well. What I don't appreciate are some of the sloppy claims, careless arguments by appeals to emotion rather than logic, and assertions rather than proper analysis.
To show the kind of sloppy claims one finds in this book, one reads in the prologue: "Lévy also believes that Ayn Rand-style objectivisim, which has been firmly embraced by Milton Friedman and his followers ...". Now, I don't care much about Pierre Lévy's ruminations and still less about Ayn Rand (who follows her thinking any more?), but to claim Milton Friedman as one of her followers seems very odd to me. One can quickly find this quote from Dr. Friedman in an interview with Reason magazine:
"Reason: Why do you think you had more initial success as a public proselytizer--you had a regular column in Newsweek--than other prominent libertarians?
Friedman: I really don't know how to answer that. I was basically trained in economic science. I was interested in the history of thought and where it came from. I thought I was going back to some fundamentals rather than creating anything new. Ayn Rand had no use for the past. She was going to invent the world anew. She was an utterly intolerant and dogmatic person who did a great deal of good. But I could never feel comfortable with her. I don't mean with her personally--I never met her personally. I'm only talking about her writings. " Note the the last three sentences.
I also find their claim that we need a NEW CAPITALISM that sets aside greed and avarice to be obnoxious. Capitalism has never required greed or avarice. In fact, many of us who are fervent capitalists believe that they are contrary to long term success and morality. One can find this notion as part of capitalist thought since Adam Smith. Self Interest doesn't require harvesting the last fish from the sea or cutting down the last Redwood. In fact, some of the largest environmental disasters have occurred under systems that were clearly not capitalist (anyone take a look at the Aral Sea under the Soviets?).
Henry Ford was clearly a capitalist and yet he had the philosophy of paying his people more than the market wage (consistent with sound finance). However, not all CEOs and not all big business is capitalist. Most strive mightily for economic rents by using government subsidies and regulations to avoid the kind of market competition true capitalism requires. Big business and capitalism are not synonyms.
I also don't like the use of straw men - especially poorly drawn straw men - in argument. The authors make the usual populist enemy out of Wal-Mart without proof of their claims. They just site what has been claimed in leftist articles and shows on television and radio. At one point the claim that the public has a poor view of Wal-Mart and only CEOs love the company. That is clearly untrue.
If people have a poor view of a company, they should not shop there. I don't shop at Wal-Mart for a variety of reasons, but not because I think they are oppressing their employees. In fact, if they are, it is the moral duty of the employees to not work there and to leave as soon as possible. And if you believe they are, you must not shop there. However, whenever the stores go up, before the local stores are supposedly competed out of existence, they have many times the number of applications than they have jobs, and their huge parking lots fill with cars looking for the benefit of their low prices.
I do think that business does involve morality and values. That one should build the company through building better lives for one's customers and employees. One need not look to the lowest priced input for everything. One can certainly find great ways to compete effectively in the marketplace without being the harshest employer or purveyor of the cheapest goods. But I will point out, it is up to the public to shop with this in mind. However, they seldom do.
One man was complaining to me about the loss of the textile industry in the United States and I asked to see the label on his shirt. It was from China. I told him that he had voted with his dollars and helped close the American textile industry. Why did he buy the shirt from China when he could still by a shirt made in the United States? He said because it was much more affordable and he could buy two or three shirts for the price of one American made shirt. Sadly, right.
So, one can make all kinds of emotional claims about this being a revolutionary time and everything being new again, but unless humans act differently than they ever have in the past (and many fortunes have been lost betting on that happening THIS TIME!), the notions discussed in this book will remain unfulfilled in the larger marketplace, although one can find pockets of light and humanity within it.
If it makes you feel good to rant against capitalism and Wal-Mart and talk about a new age a comin', then this book is for you. If you like cogent analysis and claims backed up with solid evidence, you will find this book difficult to get through.
Just remember to hold tightly to your money when someone presents you ideas repealing the laws of economic gravity (or the hard won lessons of history) because, they claim (however feverntly), THIS time it really is different.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
In the Prologue, when discussing The Age of Transcendence through which the contemporary business world is now proceeding, the co-authors (Rajendra S. Sisodia, David B. Wolfe, and Jagdish N. Sheth) suggest that it is "a cultural movement in which physical (materialistic) influences that dominated culture in the twentieth-century are ebbing while metaphysical (experiential) influences become stronger. This is helping to drive a shift in the foundations of culture from an objective base to a subjective base: People are increasingly relying on their own counsel to decide what the truth is...That shift acknowledges a long-suppressed idea in a world largely guided by Newtonian certainty that chemistry Nobel laureate Ilya Prigogine says is scattering to the winds: Ultimately, everything is personal."
Thus do the authors establish a frame-of-reference for the thesis of their book: That each stakeholder in an organization tends to thrive best when all stakeholders thrive. That is, no stakeholder group is more important than any other. "It is disciplined dedication to the well-being of all stakeholders that separates firms of endearment from their competition." Stakeholder relationship management (SRM), the authors suggest, can achieve and then sustain superior business performance that, in turn, will create n a decisive competitive advantage. They are convinced that SRM business models will increasingly be seen "as the most efficacious way to achieve sustained superior business performance in years to come" but only if (huge "if") the interests of all stakeholder groups are brought into strategic alignment.
Two Questions: Are all stakeholder groups of equal importance and do they have the same interests? Also, are all members of a stakeholder group (e.g. shareholders) of equal importance and do they have the same interests? These questions occurred to me as I read the first chapter, especially the brief discussion of the "distinctive" core values, policies, and attributes that firms of endearment (FoEs) share in common. Eventually, Sisodia, Wolfe, and Sheth provide answers to these questions, answers best revealed within the narrative.
If indeed "endearing companies tend to be enduring companies," how do the 28 FoEs that "made the final cut" for this book compare with the 11 companies praised by Jim Collins in Good to Great? "Over a 10-year horizon, FoEs outperformed the Good to Great companies by 1,026 percent to 331 percent (a 3.1-to-1 ratio). Over five years, FoEs outperformed the Good to Great companies by 128 percent to 77 percent (a 1.7-to-1 ratio). Over three years, FoEs performed on par the Good to Great companies: 73 percent to 75 percent." (FYI, there are no duplicates on the two lists.) As with the exemplary companies discussed by Thomas J. Peters in Robert H. Waterman, Jr. in In Search of Excellence, not all companies on any such list continue to meet the criteria that were the basis of their initial selection.
For me, some of the most interesting material is presented in Chapter 11, "Crossing Over to the Other Side." At one point, the authors cite Oliver Wendell Holmes's observation "I would not give a fig for the simplicity this side of complexity but I would give my life for the simplicity on the other side of complexity." They then quote one of my favorite passages in James O'Toole's The Executive's Compass:
"To move beyond the confusion of complexity, executives must abandon their constant search for the immediately practice and, paradoxically, seek to understand the underlying ideas and values that have shaped the world they work in. Managers who clamor for how-to instruction are, by definition, stuck on the near side of complexity."
According to Sisodia, Wolfe, and Sheth, the big challenge of the times is to transcend the zero-sum mindset because, given the profusion of new opportunities, absolutes (by nature limiting) are found everywhere on the near side of complexity. "They emerge from people's perennial quest for pat solutions, or `silver bullets,' as they are sometimes described. This is a key point because, as Sisodia, Wolfe, and Sheth explain, a zero sum mindset leads to the conclusion that one stakeholder group can only benefit at the expense of the other stakeholder groups...However, opportunities increase by an order of magnitude when the mind breaks free of zero-sum thinking."
There are specific reasons why endearing companies tend to be enduring companies and one of the most important is their having "the ability to transcend ruthless competition and embrace the fruits of cooperation [which is] the essence of evolved humanness."
Those who share my high regard for this book are urged to check out Bill George's Authentic Leadership: Rediscovering the Secrets to Creating Lasting Value and his later book, True North: Discover Your Authentic Leadership, co-authored with Peter Sims. Also Michael Ray's The Highest Goal, Adrian J. Slywotzky's The Upside: The 7 Strategies for Turning Big Threats into Growth Breakthroughs, Enterprise Architecture As Strategy: Creating a Foundation for Business Execution by Jeanne W. Ross, Peter Weill, and David Robertson as well as Ram Charan's Know-How: The 8 Skills That Separate People Who Perform from Those Who Don't, Lynda Gratton's Hot Spots: Why Some Teams, Workplaces, and Organizations Buzz with Energy - And Others Don't, Robert J. Herbold's Seduced by Success: How the Best Companies Survive the 9 Traps of Winning, Jack Alexander's Performance Dashboards and Analysis for Value Creation, and Michael Useem's The Go Point: When It's Time to Decide--Knowing What to Do and When to Do It.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
With the tidal wave of publicity for Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" and the spotlight it has given to the green movement, it seems like a ripe time to take stock of companies who are incorporating more social responsibility into their charters. Co-authors Raj Sisodia, Jag Sheth, and David B. Wolfe make a compelling case for how such thinking is not only a much-needed injection of humanism into private enterprise in this country but also the impetus for long-term success at a time when people are seeking greater meaning in their lives. Wolfe, the only non-academic of the three, ventures the furthest in delineating what he considers the art of empathy and the power of bringing soulfulness to the workplace. Such seeming intangibles have been repeatedly dismissed by those unwilling to recognize the human equation at the base of such operations.
Wolfe's bottom line is that soft skills translate into hard numbers, and he feels the days of well-known autocratic CEOs like Disney's Michael Eisner and Hewlett-Packard's Carly Fiorina are numbered if not over. The book's coy title actually refers to the model firms - Whole Foods, Harley-Davidson, Trader Joe's, Costco, Southwest Airlines, JetBlue, Patagonia, IKEA and New Balance among them - who have aligned principles of emotional intelligence with shareholder value in ways that induce more loyalty among the most valued employees. The data gathered by the co-authors suggests that firms which encourage emotional intelligence are more likely to have workers who benefit from feedback and achieve more for themselves and their companies over time. Emotional intelligence manifests itself in several ways, whether it is more modest executive salaries, open-door policies, better employee benefits, better training or a stronger focus on the customer experience. Moreover, the co-authors place high value on environmentally friendly practices and social consciousness as part of a company's vision.
The emphasis on emotional intelligence represents a major paradigm shift and one that has been working in tandem with globalization in recent years. It has given birth to the stakeholder relationship management business model (SRM), which supersedes the well-established customer relationship model with its primary focus on products and profits. Reflecting a much broader vision, the SRM is more dependent on coordinating systems which help keep healthy the company's economic ecosystem, which is the basis of its growth, development and economic health. The ensuing loyalty among employees gives rise to what the co-authors term "share of heart". It's an elusive concept but one mastered by a new breed of CEOs who manage to inspire with their idealism even when short-term profitability looks bleak. Sisodia, Sheth and Wolfe provide intriguing portraits of these leaders and the unique cultures they have managed to develop over time while still delivering on their bottom lines. If anything, this eminently readable book is a testament that Machiavellian tenets need not guide companies at the expense of the people who maintain them.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on March 19, 2007
David Wolfe, through his corporate exemplars, has turned the American business model on it's head - and maybe not a momemt too soon.
Doing Good Means Doing Better might be the mantra of these modern, enlightened and successful "Firms of Endearment." And while "greed is good" may be the more likely mantra of most large businesses today, the authors point out there are two inherent flaws in this management theory: one, they certainly don't do "good," and two, they don't do better (in fact, they are measurably inferior).
What Mr. Wolfe and his co-authors are talking about is a sustainable way to do business that is incomparable in its fulfillment for all workers (as they point out, even Jim Collins' profiles in "Good to Great" have not sustained their growth.)
Mr. Wolfe is a social engineer, apparently, and this book is a blueprint to save capitalism from its darker side. Not to mention making it more productive.
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on March 26, 2007
Firms of Endearment is a critical, insightful and inspiring piece of work. One of the major contributions of this book (and there are many) focuses on the impact that employees and stakeholders have on the success of an enterprise. Many in business say how important their people are, yet it is more often than not that facts prove otherwise. When employees and leaders come to the workplace with their "hearts connected to the brains", their creativity, productivity and performance quality is exponentially greater than those who come just to do a job. People build companies - they always have, they always will. Firms that endear their people will win. Hat's Off to David Wolfe, Rajendra Sisodia, and Jagdish Sheth. You have enlightened many. - Sharon P. Whiteley, CEO, ThirdAge Inc.