Built to Serve
IN THIS SUMMARY
Because today's prevailing global business culeadershiplture is broken, a radical transformation is needed that will reshape our present understanding of the true purpose of work. It begins, says Dan Sanders, CEO of United Supermarkets, with accepting the idea that "organizations that make people and service the cornerstones of their corporate identity enjoy sustainability. According to Sanders, though power and money appear to be the ultimate rewards in today's culture, it is a notion that is misguided and myopic. When businesses come to be dominated by numbers, at the expense of people, they forget their real purpose and focus more on populating spreadsheets than on enriching lives. People-centered organizations speak the language of potential-not so much as potential relates to a sales number (though sales are, of course, important), but as it relates to the workforce itself. Engaging people in a manner meant to maximize their contributions makes a difference for both the organization and its people. In short, organizations are increasingly becoming culture driven. And, when they do so, people at the top no longer assume responsibility for establishing the vision, communicating the values and, then, continuously communicating, selling, and "incentivising" around that vision and set of values. Instead, vision, purpose, mission, and values impregnate the very soul of the organization and culture. Thus, leadership becomes more a choice and a moral authority rather than a position of formal authority. Built to Serve is firmly grounded in, and founded on, this paradigm and, yet, it is no mere theoretical treatise but, rather, United Supermarkets' model. This model comes from the heart and soul of United's people, who daily work and live this culture-driven, people centered paradigm. In an industry where size is a popular strategy, United Supermarkets-a company not widely known-manages not just to survive, but to thrive because of its culture-driven, people-centered approach to business. This story-that "the bottom line is not about price and profit; it is about choice and culture"-is central to Built to Serve.