wisdom to win

 Wisdom to Win
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Richard Pascale, Managing on the Edge (1990)Richard Pascale, Managing on the Edge (1990)


American management expert (pictured right) who was a professor at Stanford Business School in California.


See also...

Richard Pascale in the Management Gurus section. 

 Richard Pascale, Managing on the Edge (1990)

Book summary

An organization should constantly change how it does things through:

  • inquiry (constant questioning).
  • constructive conflict and debate.


Why do successful companies fail?


1. Conservatism 

Sticking to what's made you successful, not radically changing.


2. Complacency and arrogance Richard Pascale, Managing on the Edge (1990)

The decline of many of Peters and Waterman's excellent companies shows how success can easily turn into failure.

So Pascale says in the book's first line:

“Nothing fails like success”.


3. Temporary business fads Richard Pascale, Managing on the Edge (1990)

Frequent but only partial implementation of business fads like total quality management.


4. Little learning

Failure to face reality, learn and continuously improve.


How do you achieve organizational renewal and success? 

 Richard Pascale, Managing on the Edge (1990)

1. Fit

All the 7 S’s (pictured right) should be:

  • consistent and
  • geared towards achieving the same objective(s) like customer satisfaction.

This requires:

  • trust.
  • empowerment.
  • fanatical adherence to shared values (spiritually inspiring employees).


2. Split

Encouraging autonomy through responsibility given to business units and teams.


3. Contend

Encouraging constructive debate through combining different employees and managerial functions.


4. TranscendRichard Pascale, Managing on the Edge (1990)

Managers continually creating new paradigms (new ways of thinking) that make continual organizational renewal a way of life.


What's so great about Honda?

Honda, the Japanese motor manufacturer, has achieved all four (above) by managing to achieve harmony within discord (creative conflict geared towards the common purpose of customer satisfaction).Richard Pascale, Managing on the Edge (1990)

Honda worried that too much fit (or harmony) would harm creativity by producing:

  • complacency and
  • unquestioning of the status quo.

So it split the organization up into three companies (including research and development and engineering) which were independently run but inspired by the same customer driven purpose.


Key quotes on business success and change

Nothing fails like success (the book’s first sentence).

Inquiry is the engine of vitality and self-renewal.

Renewal is a never-ending struggle.


Key quote on learning

Continual learning is synonymous with self-renewal.


Key quote on management

The ultimate, and largely ignored, task of management is one of creating and breaking paradigms.


Key quote on creativity

Creativity and adaptation are born of tension, passion and conflict. 


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