In his 14 years as chief executive of Tesco, Sir Terry Leahy turned the company into the largest supermarket chain in the UK and transformed it into a global enterprise.
In his new book Management in 10 Words Leahy draws on his experience to pinpoint the 10 vital attributes that make successful managers and underlie great organisations.
TRUTH: “Organisations are terrible at confronting the truth. It is so much easier to define your version of reality, and judge success and failure according to that. But my experience is that truth is crucial both to create and to sustain success.”
LOYALTY: “Winning and retaining loyalty is the best objective any business - indeed, any organisation - can have. The search for loyalty has, at its heart, an age-old idea: you reward the behaviour you seek from others.”
COURAGE: “Good strategies need to be bold and daring. People need to be stretched as they can do more than they think. Goals have to cause excitement, and perhaps just a little fear. Above all, they need to inspire, and present an organisation with a choice: have these great ambitions, or remain as you are.”
VALUES: “Strong values underpin successful businesses. They give managers a sheet anchor, something that holds their position and keeps them from being smashed against the rocks when caught in a storm. Values govern how a business behaves, what it sees as important, what it does when faced with a problem.”
ACT: “Intention is never enough. Plans mean nothing if they are not effectively enacted.”
BALANCE: “A balanced organisation is one in which everyone moves forward together, steered in the right direction, without being overrun by the juggernaut of bureaucracy.”
SIMPLE: “Change in any fast-moving, fast-growing company is not easy. My solution is quite simple: to make things simple. Simplicity is the knife that cuts through the tangled spaghetti of life’s problems.
LEAN: “Sustainable consumption depends on desiring goods and services that use fewer natural resources. By thinking lean, we can go green - and do more, for less.”
COMPETE: “Competitors - and the act of competition itself - are great teachers. Don’t wait for your competitors to come over the horizon. Seek them out.”
TRUST: “Trust is the bedrock of leadership. When people trust you, they feel that their interests are safe in your hands, and they have confidence in your vision, ability, judgement, drive and determination to see things through.”
Management in 10 Words by Terry Leahy, published by Random House Business Books is available for sale tomorrow priced at £20.