First, a note about the book we’re in the process of writing. As we mentioned, finding the right title has occupied a good deal of our time. We’re optimistic that we’ve finally struck on the right title: Good Company. (This replaces our previous working title The Worthiness Era.)
Second, we’re excited to announce that we have a draft of Chapter 1 of Good Company available for you to download. It’s still a work in progress, but we wanted to get it out there for feedback. (One caution: please be aware that the chapter draft was drafted based on the previous working title, so much of the text is still focused on the term “worthiness” and concept of the worthiness era. Our main ideas will remain the same, but we expect to reconcile the title with the text down the road.)
If you have thoughts or reactions on the chapter, please let us know! You can post them on the blog itself using the comments feature, or you can email them directly to us (the email address is listed on the first page of the document).
As part of our work on The Worthiness Era, we’re developing a quantitative “Worthiness Ranking” system which we expect to apply to every firm in the Fortune 100 (this will allow us to “name names” among our largest corporations, both positively and negatively).
In calculating this score, we’ll evaluate each company’s behavior in five different realms:
- Customer focus
- Absence of greed
Whenever possible, we’re planning to use publicly-available information as the source for each of the five indicators that combine to yield a company’s “Worthiness” score.
In future blog entries, we’ll explore some of the details of each of the five indicators. (In the meantime, let us know if it looks like we’ve missed any major categories.)
As some of you know, Laurie Bassi, Larry Costello, and I have been working on a book over the past year. The book explores the new imperative for companies to behave in a way that’s “worthy” of the loyalty of its employees and customers. Current forces and trends (economic, social, political) are combining to drive organizations in the direction of worthiness – converting zero-sum transactions into win-win transactions. For this reason, we believe that the companies that survive and thrive in the coming decades will increasingly be “worthy organizations.”
After spending significant time doing research, we’ve now moved into the writing phase. Since its inception, the book has expanded, both in scope and in authorship. Reflecting the expanded scope, the new working title has changed from The Worthy Organization to (currently) The Worthiness Era. (Sometimes it seems we spend as much time on the book’s title as we do on the rest of the contents combined!)
Along the way, we were delighted to discover a kindred spirit in Ed Frauenheim, who’s come aboard as a co-author of the book. Ed is currently Senior Writer at Workforce Management magazine, where he covers people management and business strategy. A veteran journalist, Ed has 15 years of experience writing about topics including technology, business, and education.
In the weeks and months ahead, we’re looking forward to using the new McBassi blog both to keep you posted on the book’s progress and also as a sounding board for some of the book ideas that we’re currently bouncing around among ourselves. So please feel free to use the comments feature to share your thoughts.
I recently had the good fortune to interview Sandy Ogg, the SVP of HR at Unilever.
(With three co-authors, I am writing a book called The Worthiness Era – or some such title. Hence my interview with Sandy. And more on the book in future blog entries.)
Here’s what Sandy said that I love:
“Companies are either going to get a license to grow, or not.”
Sandy’s saying that with the increased transparency under which all companies operate, it is harder and harder to get away with dirty tricks and less-than-worthy behaviors. Therefore, consumers are increasingly in a position of power – they can issue (or not issue) a “license to grow” based on what they know about a company.
The future in Sandy’s view (and mine) belongs to worthy companies. I think Unilever is one of them. Take a look at their web site – I especially love the work they’re doing with women in Africa.