Firms of Endearment the book


Sisodia, Wolfe, Sheth              A really quick book review

Firms of Endearment    how world-class companies profit from passion and purpose        

The focus of business on productivity and cost cutting lifted the mainstream of society out of a marginal level of wellbeing. By 1955, most people could have a pretty good life. Over time, this preoccupation with the bottom line has outrun its ability to uplift the common person and the faceless, non-human corporation took on a sometimes nasty life of its own. To share the responsibility for creating and supporting a healthy symbiosis between the body corporate and those who work and interact with it, is a newer idea that is now taking root all over the world.

A Firm of Endearment is defined as a company that endears itself by bringing the interests of all stakeholder groups into a strategic alignment. The authors propose four key elements to build trust and profit with employees.

  1. Respect for individuals. Treating people as whole entities rather than factors of production
  2. Transparency. Company books open to employees, processes used, production numbers, costs and profit
  3. Team building through participation in decision making and a quest to delight customers
  4. Empowerment, including budget decision making and problem solving at every level

The work at these companies is engaging such that people give their best because they choose to. Work is more fun than drudgery. There is balance and flexibility with recognition that both the employee and the corporation have needs and further, that the health of one reinforces the health of the other.

Firms of Endearment are examples of concinnity, a skillful blending of the parts achieving an elegant harmony. The mantra, the culture, focuses on improving self actualization throughout, meaning to move strongly toward the top of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, for both the people and the corporation. The personality of the corporation is an important part of the fabric of Firms of Endearment.

A wantonly aggressive company cannot survive in competition with a Firm of Endearment, where employees, suppliers, buyers all ‘love’ the company. Yes, love shows up in many ways when interacting with a Firm of Endearment. The Firm of Endearment is a good citizen welcomed in the community where it lives. Growth is also pursued in harmony with the global community. Collaboration is king. Innovation is very strong as the employees want to make their symbiotic host better. Work has meaning. Employees want to help make the company better. Firms of Endearment profit from passion and purpose.

Lots of real examples; IKEA, Wegmans, Southwest Airlines, Google, LL Bean, New Balance …

I recommend this book. Your team will be glad that you read it. Encourage them to read it too.

Joseph Seiler MCC