wisdom to win

 Wisdom to Win
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Rob Goffee and Gareth JonesRob Goffee and Gareth Jones


Two British experts in corporate culture and leadership (pictured right, Goffee is on the left).

Goffee is a professor at the London Business School, and Jones was head of human resources at the BBC.


Key books


The Character of a Corporation (1998)

The effectiveness of a corporate culture is decided by its:

  • sociability (the degree of friendliness between employees.)
  • solidarity (the ability to achieve shared objectives quickly and effectively).

These create four types of corporate culture:


1. Networked (high sociability, low solidarity)

Works best where long-term employee commitment and knowledge of local markets are important, and communication between different business units is unnecessary.


2. Mercenary (low sociability, high solidarity)

Most appropriate when:

  • change is fast.
  • processes and procedures can be imposed on business units.
  •  the organization’s objectives and the competition are both clear.


3. Fragmented (low sociability, low solidarity)

Best for highly individualistic and autonomous work that requires very little teamwork and interdependence.


4. Communal (high sociability, high solidarity)

Most successful in highly innovative industries that require:

  • multi-functional teams.
  • co-operation between business units.
  • long-term employee commitment.


These cultures will co-exist in different parts of the organization to cope with their different situations.


Key quotes on corporate culture (from the 2nd edition, 2003)

There is not one ‘right’ or ‘best’ culture for an organization – only the appropriate culture for a business environment.

Somewhere in the elusive concept of corporate character – culture, if you will – lies a main source of sustainable competitive advantage.



Why Should Anyone Be Led By You? (2006)


The best leaders are “authentic” because they are:


1. Empathetic or tough

Choosing the right time to be either empathetic or tough by knowing and understanding every situation (“situation sensing”) .


2. Inspirational

Inspiring people by:

  • talking to people one-to-one.
  • treating them as individuals.
  • making “performance meaningful” (by creating excitement about work and a sense of community).


3. Communitarian

Seeing the organization as a community with a common purpose as well as a group of individuals with differing needs.


4. Intuitive

Having the confidence and the courage to act on intuition rather than logical analysis.


5. Transparent and know themselves

Leaders should know their strengths and weaknesses and be open about them.


6. Continuous learners

Learning from experience.


7. Moral

Leaders should:

  • do what they say.
  • be guided by ethical values.  


8. Genuine 

Leaders should be themselves, because they’re happy with who they are.


9. Passionate 

Really caring about your vision, aims and ideas.


Great organizations have these authentic leaders at every level (not just at the top) who must inspire their followers to achieve great results.


Key quote on leadership

It [leadership] is not only about performance; it is also about meaning.


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