CEO recommends reading Barbarians to Bureaucrats as a guide to diverse personality types within an organization.
by Lawrence Miller,
Ballantine Books, 1989
"When we acquired another company, preserving our corporate culture was my priority. So I gave managers Barbarians to Bureaucrats -- which profiles different business personality types -- with a written exercise: read the book and find yourself, your manager, and me in it. At a retreat we discussed the findings.
"A lot of people identified themselves as barbarians, who have a take-no-prisoners attitude. You need those people to build a company. Many others identified themselves as bureaucrats, who tightly control things. You want those people, but not to lead the company.
"I can point to all personality types here, except the aristocrat. He is damaging to a company: instead of creating value, he likes to plan and leave the follow-through to his subjects.
"A prophet started our company. Those are people with great vision for future products. When I came and was building sales I was definitely a barbarian. I became a synergist as CEO.
"After the acquisition, the book served as common ground for discussing the new company. It's a challenge to make an impact on behavior and change thinking in the span of three days, but because we'd read this book we had a head start."
-- Lacy Edwards, CEO, XA Systems Corp., Los Gatos, Calif.