THE BUSINESS OF BUSINESS: Managing with Style by Robert Heller


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The British author of The Naked Investor (and other snappy such) here counsels corporate managers on the business of winning--which ""doesn't mean trampling over your adversary."" Rather, it involves doing better: ""better than the competition; better than your own past performance; better than the challenge of people, economics and events may have led you to expect."" How? Via a mnemonic acronym--BACK TO BASICS. To begin with, ""Behave toward others as you would wish them to behave toward you""; signing off, ""Share the benefits of success widely. . . ."" In between are behests to review decisions objectively, to keep operations as simple as possible, to concentrate on what the organization does well, to enhance efficiency whenever feasible, and to ""cash in--because unless you make money, you can't do anything else."" By Heller's lights, Chrysler's managers erred in believing they had to vie with GM and Ford across the board; Chrysler was so far behind that ""specialization was the only possible answer."" On the other hand, IBM overtook EDP-front-runner Univac by selling business systems, not just computers. Large firms, Heller finds, are superb at handling obligatory tasks--like stocking ""the supermarkets of the West with fresh and packaged foodstuffs"" (""a feat not to be thought all that inferior to landing a man on the moon""). But coping with change, or actually innovating, is another matter--except for a handful (such as Texas Instruments). Also accounted for--to illustrate Heller's twelve managerial guidelines--are the likes of ABC, Honda, Imperial Industries, Matsushita, Volkswagen, etc. The case histories are very much to the point, the advice is enlightened common sense crossed with close observation. A wise buy for any smart manager.

Pub Date: Oct. 26th, 1981
Publisher: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich