Monday, 29 October 2012

Built to Serve

I have just finished reading ‘Built to serve. How to Drive the Bottom-Line with People-First Practices’ by Dan J. Sanders. I feel totally inspired by this book, so much so that I really feel the need of writing this new post. Hopefully you could also get some inspiration or just pleasure by reading Sanders’s words and ideas.
The book contains many valuable concepts brought together by the author in order to remark the importance of people-centered organizations.
Dan Sanders believes that ‘‘people-centered organisations are those who understand that human beings directly influence processes and performance’’.
Mastering the art of balance in managing an organization requires a heavy focus on issues that matter…This method (the author talks about the ‘4-P Management System’) begins and ends with human being People and Partners. When organisations create a culture that promotes human interaction and -in between - constantly enhances the Processes used in the day-to-day tasks, the result is superior Performance”.
Sanders explains that organisations with misaligned cultures prefer the opposite, beginning with performance and ending with human being. However, in organisations that are culture-driven and people-centered, human beings hold the key to sustainable success. Those organisations recognize the value of securing relationships. Therefore, in Sanders’s opinion people-centered cultures are consistently capable of developing a fully engaged workforce as well as an outstanding customer service.
The author also focuses on the importance for any organisation of having a higher purpose and serving others:
“I believe in human beings, and I believe human beings have a basic need to serve others. Work makes a difference in people’s lives, and the most successful organisations are built around people who identify with their mission to the point that it becomes part of their very essence. Working in a culture defined by a higher purpose adds value to employees and those they serve, and creates a sea change in the way the business world operates…the economic power of an organization resides in people-first practices aimed at sustainability. The bottom line is not about price and profit; it is about choice and culture”.
Finally, another concept that Sanders explains wonderfully well in my opinion, is that one of ‘sustainability’. In that respect I found very interesting his idea of ‘keeping the faith’.
Sanders writes that there are too many companies that pursue growth without regard for consequences and that therefore, often fail to grow properly. The author writes that “the lack of faithfulness to the original vision and mission consistently destroys sustained success.
D. Sanders thinks that growth is a good thing when it is not at the expense of the unique values that define the organization: “All companies are capable of growing while remaining faithful to the principles that created their success in the first place, but the purpose for the growth must be sound”.
In fact, the author explains that if organizations desire to grow purely as a matter of financial gain, they will fail to recognize the higher purpose of serving others and ultimately make a sustainable difference in the world by enriching the lives of others.