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Author: Laurance Kuper
This is not a book about being goody-goody. This is a book about business strategy – the development of sustainable competitive advantage – how companies get out front and stay out there, despite fierce competitors and unexpected shocks.
It deals with the immediate challenges leaders face today: the pressure to innovate, grow, satisfy stakeholders, and elicit cooperation and reliability from hard-nosed business people.
It bonds business players closely together for high-level reliability and collaboration. Ethical trust is stable and resilient. This book reveals a radical competitive side to ethics. Looking at four strategy approaches, it offers leaders sharp insights as to how and why company values elicit competitive behaviour – how values in the ‘hearts and minds’ of players not only guide day-to-day behaviour, but get them to follow strategy consistently and reliably in the face of unforeseen events.
This book will help leaders build high-trust, high-performance organisational cultures that influence all stakeholders towards competitive excellence.
Laurance Kuper is MD of Competitive Strategy, an independent consultancy in business strategy and the organisational behaviour required to back it up. He consults to companies in South Africa, the UK and the USA. He has master’s degrees in management and ethical philosophy, having studied at Wits University, Templeton College, Oxford, and at London Business School with strategy gurus Gary Hamel and Sumantra Goshal.
Laurance previously ran his own advertising agency, which serviced major clients and won over 100 awards for creativity in London, Cannes, New York and South Africa. An external examiner and lecturer at business schools, he has appeared frequently on radio, television and in the national press.
Part I Ethics, Trust and Sustainable
1. What Is an Ethical Company? ;
2. Trust-The Bond in Your Business ;
3. The Link Between Ethics and Trust-Predictive Trust £
4. The Link Between Ethics and Trust-Normative Trust
5. Strategy - The Stretch for Sustainable
Part II Ethics, Trust and Sustainable
6. How Leaders Serve Customers for SCA
7. How the Leader Leverages the Supply Chain
8. How Leaders Advance the Community for SCA
9. How the Leader Influences Culture
10. How the Leader Works with the Top Team
11. How the Leader Deals with Shareholder Demands
12. The Last Word: 22 Do's and Don'ts for Leaders
This is not a book about being a goody-goody. Nor is it about 'building a brighter future for us all' or 'contributing to world peace' or even 'finding our way to a better afterlife'. This book focuses on the immediate challenges of your business today - the constant pressure to stay ahead, grow, and satisfy stakeholders. If you don't meet these challenges, the stark alternative is steady decline and eventual dissolution - death by a thousand cuts. But if you do meet them, the business world has a way of opening up undreamed-of opportunities.
This is a book about business strategy - the development of sustainable competitive advantage - how companies get out front and stay out there, despite fierce competitors and unexpected shocks. This is also a book about organisational behaviour - how companies get their act together to follow through on their strategy choices with excellence. Strategy and organisational behaviour are two sides of the same competitive coin.
The strategy choices you make invariably mean you have to work with other people, both outside and inside the organisation. Whenever you work with people, you face issues of cooperation and reliability. Which is why this book is also about ethics and trust.
Time was when ethical behaviour in business was widespread; one could conduct most transactions on a simple handshake between two people. Now things are different. Established companies, reputable NGOs and governments feature in ethical scandals so frequently that most of us assume it is going on all the time.
We repeatedly hear 'can you believe it?' stories about how well-reputed, supposedly solid organisations renege on promises, turn nasty after deals are signed or display another dark side that could not have been anticipated.
Even if we ourselves have ethical intentions, we know others may not. We tread carefully so as not to become the naive victim, particularly in complex situations where we might not be experts (for example making property investments, buying technology solutions or outsourcing globally). The 'crisis of trust' we read about finds its way into the fabric of our day-to-day business lives.
If we are to place trust wisely in our stimulating yet challenging new competitive society, a closer understanding of trust and its ethical underpinnings will give us quantum advantage, not only in our business ventures but also in our personal lives.
Ethics in business is usually looked at through two different lenses:
• Normative ethics - the province of philosophers - looks at what ought to be, and develops systems of making decisions about what is right or wrong
• Empirical ethics - the perspective of social scientists - stands back and objectively tries to see what happens; it tries to predict how people and organisations will actually behave, given their differences and the external influences on their behaviour.
While this book looks through both lenses, right upfront I must declare a bias towards the empirical view. As CEO of my own advertising agency for many years, and as strategy consultant to CEOs and top team members for over a decade now, my observations come largely from the field - seeing what actually happens to human behaviour at the rock face of business, especially under the influence of different kinds of leadership.
In both careers, I worked extensively and intimately with a wide variety of businesses both locally and overseas. [...]