Chapter 10. Increasing the Stakes

Like all organisms, the living company exists primarily for its own survival and improvement: to fulfill its potential and to become as great as it can be.

Arie de Geus, author of The Living Company

The goal of every organization is to sustain itself. And management gurus all over the world have been looking for the elixir. Jim Collins introduced the BHAGs (Big Hairy Audacious Goals) and Level 5 leadership.[172] Peters and Waterman introduced eight attributes, among which are a bias for action, being close to the customer, and sticking to one's knitting.[173] Another study[174] adds quality of management and employees, as well as a long-term orientation and a focus on continuous improvement. One of my own studies,[175] in 2005, showed that many disciplines were searching for the high-performance organization, each from its own angle. Management gurus would focus on leadership, customer relationship management evangelists would focus on the customer, and HR specialists would emphasize teamwork.

I have come to the conclusion that the key to sustainable success is the ability to deal with dilemmas. Thinking about it, it is only logical. The two corner pillars for dealing with dilemmas that I described in the book are creating synthesis and creating options. Synthesis is the tool of innovation. Most innovation comes from solving a contradiction.[176] Making something light enough to be powerful and portable; making something safe and fast; making something ...

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