This morning I was feeling a little guilty since I hadn’t posted a new blog in several days. My excuse being the pressures of work and meetings, but excuses don’t even buy sympathy any more, so I sat down at my desk, determined to crank out a new blog posting.
Suddenly in the corner of my computer screen an email notification popped up. Being a creature of instant gratification and little discipline I clicked it open. It made me smile and more than that, the note made my day.
The email was from Dr. Maneck S. Wadia, an 82-year-old professor of business and management guru who previously taught at Stanford Business School. In addition to teaching and designing leadership courses for military academies, he has a dazzling number of business books and management research articles on his CV, as well as being a successful entrepreneur and supporter of classical music. I felt honoured that such a distinguished academic would take the time to drop me an email.
It seems that while visiting his daughter in Boston (also an academic professor, at Northeastern University) he found my recent book, LEVERAGE: The CEO’s Guide to Corporate Culture in her library.
In 1965 Dr. Wadia wrote an academic paper on the subject of corporate culture, long before the topic of culture was recognised as important to business performance and passed along a link to his article. In fact the word “culture” didn’t really hit the business world until 1982 and the publication of In Search of Excellence by Tom Peters and Bob Waterman. And he published one of the landmark books on management and behaviour published in 1968. It’s hard to find such things now days on the internet, but I found a photo of his book, Management and the Behavioral Sciences, on the web.
I find it fascinating the for the past 50 plus years the concept of corporate culture has been researched and studied, yet even today in many MBA classes corporate culture is only given a passing mention and at many of the more analytical and financially oriented business schools is still viewed with suspicion and treated as an almost “charlatan” field of study.
Tell that to Zappos.com which grew from zero to $ 1 Billion in revenue in 9 years by focusing fervently on building a corporate culture of exceptional customer service. Tell that to the global banking industry which has amassed close to $100 billion in fines from fraudulent behaviours and what has been described as a “broken banking culture”.
Dr. Wadia was definitely ahead of his time!
See the review of LEVERAGE in The Economist (January 9, 2014.
John also writes thriller novels: novels.johnrchildress.com