wisdom to win

 Wisdom to Win
search bar left
search bar right

Lynda Gratton, Living Strategy (2000)Lynda Gratton, Living Strategy (2000)


London Business School professor (pictured right) whose work aims to make organizations more humane and employee friendly.


See also...

Lynda Gratton in the Management Gurus section. 

 Lynda Gratton, Living Strategy (2000)

Book summary


What is a living strategy?

Putting employees at the heart of an organization's purpose .


Why is it important?

A living strategy maximizes employees’ commitment and creativity.

Employees (and corporate culture, their shared values and beliefs) are vital to a company’s competitive advantage, because their performance can’t be easily copied.


What are its three beliefs about human behaviour?

 Lynda Gratton, Living Strategy (2000)

1. We operate in time (past, present and future)

  • don’t just concentrate on the present and/or past.
  • define your future vision and objectives and how to achieve them.


2. We search for meaningLynda Gratton, Living Strategy (2000)

Striving for shared purpose and values through formal strategy statements and informal understandings (the “unwritten rules of the game”).


3. We have a soul

Employees have emotions and the need for respect, dignity and pride.


How to create a living strategy

 Lynda Gratton, Living Strategy (2000)

1. Vision and objectives

Define the organization’s short-term objectives and long-term vision.


2. Gap analysis

Compare and fill the gap between an organization’s present capabilities with the capabilities (including people – see point 3) necessary to achieve the vision.

 Lynda Gratton, Living Strategy (2000)

3. Performance

Implementing people strategies for future success based on customer satisfaction, innovation and change:

  • short-term levers - recruitment and selection, performance objectives, feedback and appraisal, financial and non-financial rewards, and short-term training.
  • long-term levers - inspirational leadership, restructuring (e.g. creating customer focused teams) and long-term development of workforce skills.

 These people strategies require a “guiding coalition” between:Lynda Gratton, Living Strategy (2000)

  • management (senior and middle managers, team leaders and HR professionals) and
  • employees (young employees for creative ideas and front line staff with direct customer contact).


4. The cycle of hope

Commitment and mutual trust can increase (the “cycle of hope”) if employees:

  • are treated with respect and fairness.Lynda Gratton, Living Strategy (2000)
  • participate in change and know the reasons for it.
  • have their ideas taken seriously
  • believe that they can make a difference.
  • are inspired by leaders and managers (who must do what they say).

Cost reduction and company reorganization (e.g. redundancies) can be perceived as unjust, so reducing commitment (the “cycle of despair”).


Key quote on human resource management

Perceptions of fairness are profoundly influenced by the way we are treated, the manner in which information is given and the means by which views are heard.


Key quote on objectives and vision

The creation of a shared vision is at the heart of a people-centred strategy.


Key quote on competitve advantage

 It is only people who can sustain the competitive advantage of a company.


Key quote on business success

Successful businesses are created by excitement and inspiration, innovation and ideas.


Free Newsletter
Enter your name and e-mail address to receive our free newsletter with analysis of business issues and new business books