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Hidden Value: How Great Companies Achieve Extraordinary Results with Ordinary People [Hardcover]

by Charles A. O'Reilly, Jeffrey Pfeffer
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Book Description

August 2000 0875848982 978-0875848983 1
Discover how the best companies win not by acquiring the right people - but by building the right organization. The 'war for talent' is one battle every company believes it should be waging. But while competitors are busy chasing after the same 'hot' individuals, smart companies are doing something infinitely more useful and far more difficult to copy - they're building organizations that make it possible for ordinary people at every desk and cubicle in their companies to perform as if they were stars. Blowing up the prevailing wisdom that companies must chase and acquire top talent in order to remain successful, "Hidden Value" argues instead that the source of sustained competitive advantage already exists within every organization. O'Reilly and Pfeffer, leading experts on organizational behavior and human resources, argue that how a firm creates and uses talent is far more important than how the firm attracts talent. The authors provide vivid, detailed case studies of several organizations in widely disparate industries - including Southwest Airlines, Cisco Systems, The Men's Wearhouse, and NUMMI - to illustrate how long-term success comes from value-driven, interrelated systems that align good people management with corporate strategy. In a refreshing break from management tomes that force-feed superficial frameworks and trite 'rules', the authors instead allow the company stories to take center stage. They guide readers in discovering for themselves how seven different firms maximize talent, why one firm hasn't fully released the hidden value in its work force, and, most importantly, how the winning companies have made it tough for competitors to imitate them. Collectively, the stories reveal a common path to success that places values before strategy, emphasizes implementation over planning, and focuses on getting the best out of all employees, not just individual stars. The authors also explore concerns or questions managers might have about how each company's experience parallels or conflicts with their own. Providing a rare opportunity for managers to actively participate in an invaluable learning process, "Hidden Value" offers a customizable template for building high-performance, people-centered organizations.

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In today's heated job market, companies must look within to develop and nurture talented employees, say O'Reilly and Pfeffer, both professors at Stanford Business School. They offer a detailed look at several companiesAamong them, Cisco, Men's Warehouse and PSS World MedicalAthat are profitable in competitive industries and that have successfully retained and promoted their staffs. Following a brief company history, the authors present a straightforward discussion of each company's culture and policies, in some cases including quotations from its executives. Occasionally, the secrets of a company's success are obvious: Southwest Airlines has carefully chosen a niche market; it puts high value on customer service and its employees feel as if their daily work will contribute to the future of the company. Certainly, CEO Herb Kelleher is part of the winning formula, but Southwest's business is run differently than other airlines. Its employees can work at different jobs and financial data about the company's performance as well as its competitors is shared regularly with staffers. Similarly, PSS Medical values its employees and works very hard at both recruiting and training people who will fit in at the company. With its emphasis on detailed anecdotes, this unusually engaging management book proves that concentrating on "soft issues" like employee values can give a company the competitive edge. (Sept.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Stressing the need to attract and retain the best people has become a mantra for corporate executives and human-resource departments. O'Reilly and Pfeffer warn, though, that too much effort is spent on attracting star performers and too little on fostering the creativity, drive, and ambition of current employees. Both are Stanford University business professors, and both have written popular management books. O'Reilly is coauthor of Winning through Innovation (1997); Pfeffer's titles include The Knowing-Doing Gap (1999). A common theme running through these earlier books and this new joint effort is that corporate strategy, values, culture, policies, procedures, and management practices all must be in alignment for companies to take advantage of the emotional and intellectual resources of the people that work for them. O'Reilly and Pfeffer let the stories of eight companies like Cisco Systems, Southwest Airlines, and the Men's Wearhouse "take center stage" to illustrate how internal talent can be maximized. The authors also suggest reasons why competitors of these companies have not been able to replicate their success stories. David Rouse
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

  • Series: Harvard Business School Press
  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press; 1 edition (August 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0875848982
  • ISBN-13: 978-0875848983
  • Product Dimensions: 2.6 x 3.8 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #137,022 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
64 of 66 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding Look at People-Centered Values for Success! September 4, 2000
In Strategy Safari, Professor Mintzberg and his coauthors describe that most people approach strategy from one of 10 different perspectives, mostly ignoring the others. That book argues that we would be better served to integrate these 10 perspectives into a combined one. In Hidden Value, Professors OReilly and Pfeffer succeed in combining four of those perspectives in a valuable synthesis. The four that are combined here are values, which people to attract and retain, determining which core competencies to build, and the role of senior management in strategy development and implementation.
At a time when there are many excellent books out on how to find and retain top talent, this book aims to do something different. "Hiring and retaining talent is great. Building a company that creates and uses talent is even better." So after you have read all about Topgrading and other useful methods, read this book next.
The book is unusual (especially for one from Stanford professors published by Harvard Business School Press) in that it uses a structure designed to allow you to learn more than frequently occurs with straight exposition (thesis, followed by examples to support the thesis, and then a conclusion).
To do this, the authors found 8 companies that exhibited people-centered values in different industries to succeed in different ways. You are invited to peruse detailed case histories to get a sense of how these companies work. Following the eight is an example of a company with many similar approaches that was not doing as well, Cypress Semiconductor. You are invited to think through what's different.
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72 of 76 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars OK Anecdotes Collection of People-Centric Success October 30, 2000
"Hidden Value" purports to offer a new management book style and a "people-first" focus to organisational competitive advantage. This style involves a learn & do structure to 8 anecdotes, rather than the usual hypotheses, case study evidence and checklists often used by many US educators & consultants. Note `learn & do" has been practiced for decades by military and engineering schools (for both physical maneuvers/value-add as well an intellectual stratagems/ designs etc..).
The repetitive anecdotal structured (e.g. introduction; background; values, philosophy and spirit; people/system, and lesson learnt) chapters span success stories from: SouthWest Airlines; Cisco Systems; The Men's Warehouse; the SAS Institute; PSS World Medical; AES; New United Motor Manufacturing Inc; and Cypress Semiconductor.
Strengths include: the broad range of case studies from different sectors including a few non-US examples; and the extremely timely "life-balance" and "people matter" message.
Weaknesses include: repetition of text (perhaps 35% of book); content gaps & granularity problems (e.g. aligned individual/team motivation models missing); a passive observational feel; a superficiality of analysis; a lack of formal tools to carry out own "people-centric" analysis; an often colloquial cliché-filled style (dates quickly); inconsistencies in many financial table rankings and formatting; and a lack of labeling/scales on the most significant table in the book on p.239.
O'Reilly/Pfeffer suggest through this table (p.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Detailed case descriptions of high performing companies December 30, 2001
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book tells the story of eight extremely successful companies that manage to bring out the best in their people. The stories are detailed descriptions of the company's backgrounds, strategies, systems and management practices. The stories are also larded with quotes from the company's CEO's, HR managers and employees. Following this approach the authors provide the readers the opportunity to form their own hypotheses about the companies' successes. But the authors also present their interpretations of the case studies.
What these studies show is how these high performing companies have achieved their success by aligning their values, strategies and people. This is something which is easy to understand but hard to do. It requires consistent articulation and implementation of the values and vision and a relentless attention to detail in ensuring that all policies and practices support the company's values. In order to be able to show this kind of consistency a real belief and commitment are needed and a willingness to persevere.
This book shows how high performing companies consciously turn a lot of the conventional management wisdom upside down. For instance:
1. Contrary to what many people now think, recruiting, selecting and retaining unique talent is NOT the prime source of competitive advantage. Although these activities are important, the examples of these extraordinary companies show that it is much more important to build a culture and work system that enables all people to use their talents and develop their talents. A byproduct of this will be that your company will also be better at attracting and retaining people.
2. Values first instead of strategies.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Hidden Value, an excelent reading
Extraordinary content, for me was discovering why the company I work succed or not.
I recomend it for every manager.
Published 13 months ago by Veronica Vazquez
5.0 out of 5 stars Cisco espouse five core values
1.Cisco defines the company mission as follows: "Be the supplier of choice by leading all competitors in customer satisfaction, product leadership, market share, and... Read more
Published 24 months ago by Golden Lion
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
I am really enjoying this book, and gaining great insight and ideas on what to implement within my own future business. Read more
Published on January 27, 2012 by S. Montes
2.0 out of 5 stars Business professors explaining how to run a business
I fully agree with the premise of the authors, namely that focusing on employee satisfaction is key to achieving business success. Read more
Published on November 7, 2010 by Daniel Ginensky
5.0 out of 5 stars Very practical and useful
Charles O'Reilly puts out an interesting idea of how to get the most out of people with various management strategies. Read more
Published on December 18, 2006 by Lehigh History Student
4.0 out of 5 stars The value of being a people-centered organization
In a McKinsey & Company's study, "The War for Talent," McKinsey found that of 200 executives interviewed 58 responded that values and culture were absolutely essential in their... Read more
Published on January 26, 2006 by Louise McCauley
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Interesting
Only on Chapter 5. Reading about the excellent practices of these companies makes me want to strive for the best for my employees, also!
Published on September 20, 2005 by K. Edwards
1.0 out of 5 stars The "Value" of this book is certainly "Hidden" from me......
This book is merely a compilation of case studies. There are few -- if any -- check lists, tables, charts, bullet points, or step-by-step methodologies to help you implement the... Read more
Published on January 30, 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars Acorns, Oak Trees, and Common Sense
One of the greatest challenges facing organizations today is attracting and then keeping "the best and the brightest" people they can. Read more
Published on May 4, 2001 by Robert Morris
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