wisdom to win

 Wisdom to Win
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Richard Pascale (1938- )Richard Pascale 

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


Key books

The Art of Japanese Management (1982), written with Anthony Athos (pictured right below)Richard Pascale


Japanese beat American companies because of their superiority in the “soft” (employee-oriented) S’s:

  • staff.
  • skills.
  • style (of management).
  • superordinate goals (or shared values, which should be significant, durable and achievable).

The Japanese and Americans are broadly similar in the “hard” S’s:

  • strategy.
  • structure.
  • systems.

All the seven S’s are interdependent and must be kept in appropriate balance by management.

Intuition is important, because it helps managers deal with ambiguity, uncertainty and imperfection.

Taoism helps the Japanese deal with these issues by saying you must remove yourself and your ego from a problem to see more clearly the possibilities of solving it.

You must:

  • reflect (and wait for the right time to act and seek to compromise).
  • use communication that is compassionate, empathetic and not overly vague or blunt.

You can also improve relationships at work through:

  • mentoring.
  • coaching.
  • rewards (pay, promotion and recognition).


Key quotes on corporate culture

Great companies make meaning.

The best firms link their purposes and ways of realizing them to human values as well as to economic measures like profit and efficiency.


Key quote on change

We must change who we are, as well as what we do.


Key quote on management

Most of the executive skills are intuitive.


Managing on the Edge (1991)

(for more detail see Managing on the Edge in the Business Books section.)

Successful companies (like Honda) encourage constructive conflict (“creative tension”).

This was also called “harmony within discord” by Honda’s co-founder, Takeo Fujisawa, and requires:

  • constantly challenging how they do things 
  • achieving a common purpose among employees


Three things are necessary to do this:


1. Fit

All the 7 S’s (strategy structure, systems, staff, skills, shared values and style of management) should be consistent and geared towards achieving the same objective(s) e.g. customer satisfaction.

This requires:

  • trust and empowerment.
  • fanatical adherence to shared values.


2. Split

(encouraging autonomy through responsibility given to business units and teams).


3. Contend

(encouraging constructive debate through combining different employees and managerial functions).


The danger is that success can easily turn into failure because of arrogance and complacency.

So managers must continually create new paradigms (new ways of thinking).


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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