The Mormon Way of Doing Business: Leadership and Success Through Faith and Family Hardcover – Jan 3 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
Honesty, integrity and dedication to family and church may be old-fashioned values, but Benedict shows here that they jibe with tremendous success in the cutthroat world of business. In a conversational narrative, Benedict relates the stories of seven Mormon business leaders-five CEOs (including those of Dell Computers, JetBlue and Deloitte & Touche), one CFO (of American Express), and the former dean of Harvard Business School-to discover how these devout professionals tackle modern workplace problems. In order to meet the challenge of "winning and winning cleanly," Benedict doesn't proselytize, but rather draws practical rules from his subjects' stories and actions, such as "Compete within your power alley," "Own the high ground" and "Don't put yourself in a position to be tempted." He also shows what advantages stem from the tenants of a Mormon lifestyle, such as tithing, abstaining from drugs, avoiding work on the weekend, volunteering for Church leadership positions and raising large families. With the exception of a late chapter collecting his subjects' 9/11 experiences (which includes the unfortunate section title, "Losing $150 Million in One Day"), Benedict's point is clearly and entertainingly explicated: do you need to be Mormon to succeed in business? No, but it doesn't hurt.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The picture that comes to mind when you think about devout Mormons may seem diametrically opposed to the idea of the ruthless and powerful corporate CEO, so it may come as some surprise that the heads of many leading corporations and organizations such as Dell, Deloitte & Touche USA, American Express, Black & Decker, JetBlue Airways, and Harvard Business School are Mormons. Investigative journalist Benedict (a Mormon himself) examines the lives of eight Mormon business executives, focusing on how their core values influence the way they do business. Flying in the face of the absolute pursuit of power and money, these execs put an emphasis on placing family first, keeping Sunday exclusively work-free, and not placing themselves above others or above their God. Not surprisingly, Benedict finds that the corporate environment and success rate under these leaders is outstanding. Religious beliefs notwithstanding, the examples here prove that leadership that values the human element and does not compromise integrity and the environment does not equate to a competitive disadvantage but rather the opposite. David Siegfried
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Of course, no one is perfect, and many an honest person has missed the correct choice in a close call. Sometimes the shades of gray are quite hard to distinguish. Others suffer a moral collapse under tremendous pressure and give in to something they think will make things better, but it doesn't. However, let me stress again, these are the exceptions rather than the rule. This is true of business people regardless of their religious faith, if they have no faith, if they are tough negotiators, or if they have a softer style. People have to behave according to who they really are. Some folks mistake personal style for integrity or morality. This is an important distinction.
I say this to preface my review of a very good book because I want to be clear that I do not think that only Mormons are honest businesspeople or that they have some special lock on morality. This book has a contribution to make because what it shows is how these CEOs and top businesspeople have a somewhat different focus on business than one might usually find (but probably not exclusive to them) because of their faith and the experiences they had living that faith.
Jeff Benedict shows how service on a full time mission for the Church at 19-21 years old (or thereabouts) was foundational for these men. While there was some variation in what was learned, they all learned about study, perseverance, hard work, and the importance of their faith in their life. Most married young and none have divorced. Most have what nowadays would pass for a large family.
Do you recall the old saying that behind every successful man is a great woman? Benedict shows how each of these executives have benefited from a true partnership with his wife. He has to put bounds on his work, and his faith helps him do that, to focus on what all the work is for; their family! She has usually foregone working in a career outside the home for money (all volunteer and do much good work in their church and community) to care for the home and the children.
It is quite moving to see the pressure put on these men early in their careers to violate their commitment to their family, to keeping the Sabbath holy (particularly by not working on Sunday, as a rule), to violate their commitment to not drink alcohol, smoke, or drink coffee or tea. Some have experienced serious financial hardship, particularly when young and in college, and they still paid their tithing and describe the blessings of doing so.
Since several of the executives had their offices near the World Trade Center, there a few chapters that describe what happened on 9/11/01. They all focused on their people and putting their safety above their own. It is also interesting to read how they recovered from the disaster. And yet, their duties at church still had to be done, and all were very focused on their families during this time. Several of them are very close friends and even attend the same congregation of the Church.
It is a very interesting book. If you are a Mormon, as I am, you will enjoy seeing how our faith can be lived with great success and without compromise. If you don't know much about Mormons, I believe you will find this book informative and you will admire the way these executives do their business well, but not as the center or the entire substance of their lives and how their faith helps them focus on business as something as a means rather than as an end. And in our time of astronomical CEO compensation, you will find what some of these CEOs do for pay quite refreshing.
I do think Benedict does need to do a book on Mormon Women who are successful in business and still live their faith successfully. I am sure it will have a different view of things than is shown in this book, but women do work successfully and still live their faith. Some are single, but I am sure there are those who are married and with long lasting marriages and children. Yes, there would be different and difficult pressures on such women, and most Mormon women would not choose it for a variety of reasons, yet it is a story that would be interesting to read and valuable to everyone.
But I don't want to be a grouse and reviewing a book that wasn't written. What is here is very good, interesting, and will be inspirational and valuable to a wide range of people for a variety of reasons.
I am not Mormon and was raised Athiest, but I recognized some time ago that all the Mormons I know are successful. I am an Entrepreneur and always keep my mind open to learning the tools to success.
The discipline principles outlined here make a lot of sense to me, and being a true Entrepreneur I can channel my life to reflect business men such as Mitt Romney. He is very impressive, having a very high education in law and business, and the years of experience as a business man. People can whine all they want about how much money he has, but I know plenty of people who were born with a silver spoon and have not managed to hold it together as he has, both personally and professionally.
If you are truly interested in guiding your life into a highly successful pattern as Mitt Romney, Rockefeller, or whomever your wealth hero is, this book is a nice addition to your motivational books to success.
And yet ... there is much I find to admire about the Mormons, including the fact that I've never met a lazy one. "The Mormon Way of Doing Business" was for me a fascinating and laudatory profile of over a half dozen corporate execs who happen to be Mormon, how they order their lives and balance the prodigious commitments of work, family and faith.
The LDS Church places huge demands on its congregants - both monetary and time demands. These seem to be cheerfully shouldered by execs from the likes of Dell, Deloitte, JetBlue and others.
Mostly this is a man's story. Gender roles in the LDS Church are open for discussion. The wives are the subject of one chapter and pretty much all of them are stay at homes.
Do Mormons ever sleep? The schedules of these guys seem super-human, yet none of them are complaining.
To see how one group manages to balance the big roles in their lives, you may find "The Mormon Way of Doing Business" an inspiring example which you can adapt - as needed and desired - to your own non-Mormon life!
Jeff Benedict's "The Mormon Way of Doing Business" addresses this concern head on, providing real stories from the lives of very successful businessmen who have also found ways to foster successful families and close relationships with God. The book is uplifting, inspiring, and practical, providing a variety of very specific ideas my students and I can implement to both succeed at work and to draw closer to God.
I highly recommend the book to anyone who has struggled to find a balance between work, worship, and home, and to anyone who desires to more fully enjoy the redeeming grace of God. I can honestly say that this book and the lives of the individuals featured in the book have helped me find my way more clearly. I give the book a full 5 stars, and an extra star if I could, for addressing an issue of such vital importance to me and my students.
Yes, it make a lot of refernces to the Mormon faith. The author says it as he sees it. This book is good addition to the study of business ethics.
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