On Liberating the Corporate Soul

I recently finished reading Liberating The Corporate Soul – Building a Visionary Organization – by Richard Barrett.

Below are key excerpts from the books that I found particularly insightful:

1- “I started out with two ideas. The first idea was that organizational transformation must look and feel a lot like personal transformation. The second idea was that the values held by successful companies must be similar to the values held by successful individuals. These two ideas led me on a journey of discovery that gladdened my heart. I not only found these two theses to be correct but also found underneath the tough rhetoric of Wall Street a small but growing number of successful businesses that live by values that are concordant with the highest moral and ethical principles. This book celebrates their success and provides a road map and tools for those who want to travel the same path.”

2- “Corporate transformation begins with a shift in the values and behaviors of the leadership. Corporations don’t transform. People do. Corporate transformation is fundamentally about personal transformation. It will happen only if there is a willingness on the part of the leader and all those in authority to live according to values that are less focused on self-interest and more focused on the common good. For transformation to be success^l the espoused values and behaviors must become pervasive throughout the organization.”

3- “The key characteristics of long-lasting companies that have superior financial performance are summarized as follows. A strong, positive, values-driven culture A lasting commitment to learning and self-renewal continual adaptation based on feedback from internal and external environments Strategic alliances with internal and external partners, customers, and suppliers A willingness to take risks and experiment A balanced, values-based approach to measuring performance.”

4- “The basic reason why companies find it difficult to develop these characteristics is that they operate from the mental model of the organization as a machine. More and more organizations are making the transition to the mental model of a machine with a mind, but very few have made it to the model of the organization as a living entity. Consequently, most companies seek only to satisfy their physical and emotional needs.”

5- “Self-interest and the single-minded pursuit of accumulation of wealth are at the heart of our current crisis. Fueled by greed, businesses all over the world are engaged in the wholesale exploitation of the Earth and its people. What is extraordinary is lat they are doing it in collusion with society.”

6- “There are millions of people around the world embracing this new responsibility. They are turning from “What’s in it for me?” as their unconscious world view, to consciously embracing “What’s best for the common good?” Many of these people are business leaders. Companies around the world are beginning to recognize that their future is intimately linked to peace, prosperity for all, and environmental stewardship.”

7- “Our proficiency in expressing our creativity falls off as e accept other’s opinions and evaluations of what is good and )ad, right and wrong. Our education systems have much to answer in this arena.”

8- “The pathway to creativity begins with employee participation. T\ere are five stages to participation—invitation, engagement. reflection, listening, and implementation. When an organization attempts participation for the first time, it needs to take care to complete all the steps. At the beginning, it is important to i let all employees know that they are being invited to share their ideas and that their opinions are important. The engagement begins when employees are presented with information about he situation at hand and have the opportunity to ask questions”

9- “The challenge for leaders is to build an organizational culture that maximizes the development of human potential and strategic alliances while working within the framework of acceptable values and behaviors that relate to the type of activity, the dominant professional discipline, and the mores of the local community.”

10- “Companies that operate with values that support the common good are able to maintain morale, commitment, and loyalty even during difficult times. When staff reductions are necessary because of a downturn in sales, companies that operate from the higher levels of consciousness explore ways to share the burden. If this doesn’t work, layoffs are handled with compassion and caring.”

11- “When an organization moves from being profit-driven to being values-driven, it does not mean that it suddenly regards profit as unimportant. On the contrary. Profit remains a fundamental objective. In values-driven organizations the profit motive is contained within an overarching ethical framework. Limits are drawn as to what the organization will and will not do to make an extra dollar.”

12- “I would submit therefore that it is not the sharing of an organizational mission or vision that creates cohesion, but the creation of opportunities within the organizational mission for every individual find work that corresponds to his or her personal mission or vision.”

13- “The first three categories of the Balanced Need Scorecard represent the primary needs of an organization: Corporate Survival—profits, finance, and funding; Corporate Fitness— productivity, quality, and efficiency; and Customer/Supplier Relations—sales, service, and product excellence…’The next three categories support these front-line needs. They include Corporate Evolution—participation, innovation, and creativity; Corporate Culture—vision, mission, values, and employee fulfillment; and Society and Community Contribution—social and environmental responsibility, being of service, and making a difference.”

14- “For trust to blossom and flourish, there must be shared values and mutual accountability, nurtured by cooperation and friendship. Above all, there must be a strong sense of working together for the good of the whole. Therefore, to grow trust, an organization must first grow community. The foundation of community is sociability (measure of sincere friendliness among members of community) and solidarity (measure of a community’s ability to pursue shared objectives quickly and effectively regardless of personal ties).”

15- “A leader is someone who holds a vision and courageously pursues that vision in such a way that it resonates with the souls of people.”

16- “To find real happiness at work, I had learned that I had to stop putting my energy into pleasing my boss, competing with others, and being the best. I had to release my unconscious fears about being valued and respected and pass through transformation.^ When I was free of the fears that were driving my competitive behavior, I was able to be my true self and be my own person. Only then was I able to discover my true passion and the joy of working in service to others.”

17- “The critical factors in successful transformations are (a) the management team’s commitment to modeling the new values and behaviors; (b) integrating the new values into the structural incentives of the human resource processes of the organization; (c) building psychological ownership by involving employees in defining the mission, vision, and values and the Balanced Needs Scorecard objectives and targets; (d) helping employees to think like owners; and (e) assigning responsibilities and developing structural mechanisms to support innovation, learning, and cultural renewal.”


Omar Halabieh

Liberating the Corporate Soul


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