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Living Strategy

Living Strategy

Putting People at the Heart of Corporate Purpose

Lynda Gratton

Apr 2000, Hardback, 272 pages
ISBN13: 9780273650157
ISBN10: 0273650157
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For corporate strategy to live and work, people have to understand strategy, and strategy makers have to understand people. They need a living strategy.

"This insightful book has been the publishing event of the last few months - and rightly so. .... It's rounded off with a workbook - this makes an already reasonably priced book into even better value. If you want to tap into the current thinking and breathe life and purpose into people development, then make sure that you grab a copy." Training Magazine

"People are our most important asset", "We are a knowledge based company", "All we have is our people", are statements we increasingly hear, and statements which are all to often unsubstantiated by reality. For many people the actuality of organizational life is that they do not feel they are treated as the most important assets and they do not feel their knowledge is understood or used.

The arguments for the central role of people can play in the creation of sustainable competitive advantage are compelling. Each of us has our own set of stories about how people have made a real difference to their business. Living Strategy demonstrates that the companies who will be most successful in the 21st century will be those that are capable of gathering and bonding talented, creative people, who are excited and motivated, who trust the company and are inspired by what they do. It places the behavior of individual employees at the center of wealth creation.

This book shows executives how to design strategies that have meaning and purpose for people, without whose commitment they remain drawings on the wall chart. It will show line managers how to implement strategy and carry their people with them. It will bring strategy to life for businesses because it will bring strategy to life for people.

Living Strategy puts forth three basic tenets that differentiate people from money and technology: we operate in time, we search for meaning, and we have soul. These tenets are then used as the basis for putting human capital at the center of corporate strategy.

We operate in time Our current behavior is influenced by the memory of the past and by the beliefs of the future. Human development progresses through a shared sequence as skills and knowledge may take years to develop and attitudes and values area resistant to rapid change.

We search for meaning We strive to interpret the clues and events around us, we actively engage with the world, to seek a sense of meaning - to understand who we are and what we can contribute. Over time groups of people create collective viewpoints, a sense of shared symbols, which may be events or artifacts are important in creating a sense of meaning.

We have a soul Each of us has a deep sense of personal identity of what we are and of what we believe in. We can trust and feel inspired by our work - and when we do we are more creative. We can dream about possibilities and events. We can choose to give or withhold our knowledge - depending on how we feel. Living Strategy takes the reader through the why and the how of thinking and acting differently to increase the performance of their business, and create organizations, which have meaning and soul.

Contents

  • The need for a fundamental shift in our thinking
  • The first tenet: we operate in time
  • The second tenet: we search for meaning
  • The third tenet: we have soul
  • Bridging from theory to reality
  • Creating a vision
  • Scanning for capability and identifying the gap
  • Creating a map of the system
  • Bridging from dreams to reality
  • Building human capital

Contents

  • The need for a fundamental shift in our thinking
  • The first tenet: we operate in time
  • The second tenet: we search for meaning
  • The third tenet: we have soul
  • Bridging from theory to reality
  • Creating a vision
  • Scanning for capability and identifying the gap
  • Creating a map of the system
  • Bridging from dreams to reality
  • Building human capital

  • The six step journey guides the reader through the implementation of a strategy which will, not only grow your organisation but, create a business of which you can be proud.
  • The author is a global authority on the people implications of strategy and Associate Professor of Organisational Behaviour at London Business School.

Lynda Gratton is Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior at the London Business School. She is responsible for the teaching of Human Resource Strategy to the School's MBA students, is Director of the Global Consortium Program and Research Director of The Leading Edge Research Initiative. During 1996 Lynda was responsible for developing and directing the Global Consortium Program, which is a development consortium of senior executives from ABB, BT, Lufthansa, SKF, Standard Chartered Bank and LG. This innovative program aims to increase participants skill in managing complex global businesses by taking participants to China, India and Europe to study global companies.

Lynda has a dynamic research portfolio, at the center of which is The Leading Edge Research Initiative which focuses on identifying and articulating how business strategy is developed through people. Since 1993 a series of in-depth studies of 8 large companies have resulted in increased understanding of this complex issue. The results of this research were published during 1996. Lynda's main field of interest is human resource strategy where she has published widely and is seen as one of the world's leading authorities. She consults actively to a number of multi-national companies including Nortel, Philips, BP, Hewlett Packard, GKN, United Technologies and BAT. Her focus is on helping senior executives consider the people implications of business strategy.

Before joining the London Business School in 1989 Lynda was Director of Human Resource Strategy at PA Consulting where she had responsibility for the world-wide HRS practice development. She is a trained psychologist with a doctorate in individual psychology and worked for some years with British Airways as an occupational psychologist. Lynda is married to a Danish architect and lives in central London with two children.

Expert Reviews

"A growing number of managers around the world have come to recognize that human capital is rapidly replacing physical and financial capital as the key source of competitive advantage. The challenge is to come to grips with the "how to"s" of linking their people strategy with their business strategy. Conceptually robust, yet highly practical, Professor Gratton"s book will be extremely useful in establishing this link."

Sumantra Ghoshal, Robert P. Bauman Professor of Strategic Leadership, London Business School

"Gratton"s thoughtful and creative work breathes life into the role of people in organizations. It helps executives clearly see why people matter and how to create organizations that accomplish both people and organizational goals. Gratton has been a thought leader in the people (HR) profession for years; this work now shows all managers how to better understand and use people. The book will become a classic for HR professionals and a toolkit for line managers."

David Ulrich, Professor of Business, University of Michigan

"This insightful book has been the publishing event of the last few months - and rightly so. .... It's rounded off with a workbook - this makes an already reasonably priced book into even better value. If you want to tap into the current thinking and breathe life and purpose into people development, then make sure that you grab a copy." Training Magazine

"How refreshing to discover a book with new answers on how to be successful, where you find the logic inescapably true. We have for too long attributed success to the skills of tech leader. Reading this book brings home how important it is to involve all the people in an organization." Knowledge Management

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