IF ARISTOTLE RAN GENERAL MOTORS --- THE NEW SOUL OF BUSINESS
by Tom Morris. Henry Holt, 1997



PREFACE --- Reinventing corporate SPIRIT! (pix-xv)

    Classical philosophy has the secrets to building great morale and productivity in any size organization! In addition to Aristotle, this book derives inspiration from Confucius, Seneca, St. Augustine, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Abraham Lincoln and many others.

    This book is based upon the premise that any organization can achieve true excellence by following the four timeless historical virtues first described by the Greek philosopher Aristotle in 500 BC --- Truth, Beauty, Goodness, and Unity. The most successful organizations encourage a corporate culture that ensures that all interactions among colleagues, employees, bosses, clients, customers, and contract workers (suppliers, etc) are infused with dignity and humanity!

    [1] Inner foundations for excellence (pxi-xiii)

    [2] The current climate (pxiii-xv)

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS (pxvii)

INTRODUCTION --- Business excellence and the human quest (p3-21)

    [1] The new wave of needs and expectations at work (p5-7)

    [2] The vanishing dream (p7-8)

    [3] Business values and personal commitments (p8-9)

    [4] Aristotle and the human quest (p9-11)

    [5] Happiness as pleasure (p11-13)

    [6] Happiness as personal peace (p13-16)

    [7] Happiness as participation in something fulfilling (p16-19)

    [8] The four dimensions of human experience (p19-21)

      There are four basic dimensions to all human experience, across all world cultures and throughout all of our human history! They are more important NOW than ever before. They are the "KEYS" to individual happiness at work as well as sustainable corporate excellence.

      Each of the FOUR DIMENSIONS leads to a goal, a target that is itself a bedrock foundation for enduring human fulfillment! They are:

        (1) The "intellectual dimensions," which aims at TRUTH!

        (2) The "aesthetic dimension," which aims at BEAUTY!

        (3) The "moral dimension," which aims at GOODNESS!

        (4) The "spiritual dimension," which aims at UNITY!

      In a simple chart form, the four dimensions or foundation VALUES look like this:

      THE FOUR DIMENSIONS OF...........................THE FOUR FOUNDATIONS OF
      HUMAN EXPERIENCE.........................................HUMAN EXCELLENCE


      The Intellectual........................................................................Truth

      The Aesthetic...........................................................................Beauty

      The Moral..................................................................................Goodness

      The Spiritual..............................................................................Unity

      These four dimensions of human experience and four foundations of human excellence are the key to sustainable corporate excellence because they are deepest touchstones for ultimate individual fulfillment and happiness!

      Only when the issue of individual human fulfillment is understood in the deepest possible way will corporate leaders see how personal satisfaction is finally tied to interpersonal, organizational, and business success!

      It is the employees (people) within any enterprise --- and their interactions with each other --- that ultimately produce excellence or mediocrity. This book explores the way in which the most fundamental parts of any business system, any organization or business relationship must operate and interact for that system to attain long-term excellence. Those "parts" are the subordinate employees who make it go!

PART 1 --- TRUTH (p23-66)

    1) The "intellectual dimension" at work (p25-38)

    2) Truth and lies (p39-47)

      [1] Truth, lies and Sophocles (p40-43)

      [2] The price of deception (p43-46)

      [3] The basis of trust (p46-47)

      Trust is the lubricant for human relations. Without it, the mechanisms of interaction are damaged and grind to a stop!

      The only prudent way to run an organization is to insist that people tell the truth --- to each other, to suppliers, to clients, and to the government! Truth has to be one of the leading values of any organization that values its own existence!

      What you must always do is be true to your deepest instincts about what the truth is and how it can best be used as the basis for your actions. Respecting the TRUTH, caring for it, and nurturing it in an organization is not just the job of top administrators --- although they should ALWAYS lead the way and set the example. It is the job of everybody!

    3) The truth about excellence --- a powerful idea (p48-66)

PART 2 --- BEAUTY (p67-111)

    4) The "aesthetic dimension" at work (p69-84)

    5) Creativity and the meaning of life (p85-99)

    6) The beauty of business (p100-111)

PART 3 --- GOODNESS (p113-169)

    7) The "moral dimension" at work (p115-127)

      [1] Misunderstanding ethics (p115-116)

      [2] What moral goodness is all about (p114-117)

      [3] What's in it for me? (p117-118)

      [4] The heart of ethics (p118-119)

      [5] Ethical strength (p119-120)

      [6] Ethics and morality (p120-121)

      [7] Morals and manners (p121-123)

      [8] Liberation ethics (p123-124)

      [9] Relationships rule the world (p124)

      [10] Doing well by doing good (p125-126)

      [11] Beyond slogans (p126-127)

    8) The challenge of ethical action (p128-149)

    9) Wisdom, virtue and corporate strength (p150-169)

      [1] Fertile soil for growing good business (p150-152)

      [2] Unethical means self-destructive (p152-153)

      [3] What goes around comes around (p153-155)

      [4] Consequences of coruption (p155-157)

      [5] The "basic virtues" (p157-160)

      [6] The nature of wisdom and virtue (p160-162)

      [7] Three keys to character and culture (p162-163)

        (1) "Moral mentors" --- Key #1 = Network with sages (p162-163)

        (2) The importance of "small details" --- Key #2 = Take care in little things (p163-165)

        (3) Moral imagination --- Key #3 = Cultivate a perceptive imagination (p165-168)

      [8] Seeing the big picture (p168-169)

PART 4 --- UNITY (p171-212)

    10) The "spiritual dimension" at work (p173-182)

    11) Uniqueness and union (p183-199)

    12) Usefulness and understanding (p200-211)

    EPILOGUE --- Creating corporate excellence! (p212-216)

    Corporate excellence is a form of human excellence. It is produced by employees who believe in what they are doing! It is sustained by leaders who are supported in what they do by an organizational culture that respects and nurtures all four fundamental dimensions of their genuinely human experience.

    The true spirit of greatness = The magical combination of human attitudes that will most draw the best out of you are the inspiration of nobility ("for me the world was created") and the relational demeanor of humility ("I am but dust and ashes") combined so as to nullify arrogance and presumptuousness and lead to a wonderful shared future! (p213-216)


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