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Barbarians to Bureaucrats: Corporate Life Cycle Strategies

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BARBARIANS TO BUREAUCRATS presents a brilliant new solution to a stubborn old business problem: how to halt a company's descent into wasteful, stifling bureaucracy. Lawrence M. Miller, a management consultant for such corporate giants and Xerox and 3M, argues that corporations, like civilizations, have a natural life cycle, and that by identifying the stage your company is BARBARIANS TO BUREAUCRATS presents a brilliant new solution to a stubborn old business problem: how to halt a company's descent into wasteful, stifling bureaucracy. Lawrence M. Miller, a management consultant for such corporate giants and Xerox and 3M, argues that corporations, like civilizations, have a natural life cycle, and that by identifying the stage your company is in, and the leaders associated with it, you can avert decline and continue to thrive. Every company begins with the compelling new vision of a Prophet and the aggressive leadership of an iron-willed Barbarian, who implements the Prophet's ideas. New techniques and expansions are pushed through by the Builder and the Explorer, but the growth spawned by these managers can easily stagnate when the Administrator sacrifices innovation to order, and the Bureaucrat imposes tight control. And just as in civilizations, the rule of the Aristocrat, out of touch with those who do the real work, invites rebellion -- from employees, customers, and stockholders. It will take the Synergist, a business leader who balances creativity with order, to restore vitality and insure future growth. Executives from major corporations have already put the powerful insights of BARBARIANS TO BUREAUCRATS into practice to regenerate their own companies. Now you can use this brilliant, lucid, and dazzlingly original book to put your company -- and your career -- back on track. "Thought-provoking . . . . Anyone in a position to influence the direction of their company should make this book a No. 1 priority on his or her reading list." -- Atlanta Journal-Constitution


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BARBARIANS TO BUREAUCRATS presents a brilliant new solution to a stubborn old business problem: how to halt a company's descent into wasteful, stifling bureaucracy. Lawrence M. Miller, a management consultant for such corporate giants and Xerox and 3M, argues that corporations, like civilizations, have a natural life cycle, and that by identifying the stage your company is BARBARIANS TO BUREAUCRATS presents a brilliant new solution to a stubborn old business problem: how to halt a company's descent into wasteful, stifling bureaucracy. Lawrence M. Miller, a management consultant for such corporate giants and Xerox and 3M, argues that corporations, like civilizations, have a natural life cycle, and that by identifying the stage your company is in, and the leaders associated with it, you can avert decline and continue to thrive. Every company begins with the compelling new vision of a Prophet and the aggressive leadership of an iron-willed Barbarian, who implements the Prophet's ideas. New techniques and expansions are pushed through by the Builder and the Explorer, but the growth spawned by these managers can easily stagnate when the Administrator sacrifices innovation to order, and the Bureaucrat imposes tight control. And just as in civilizations, the rule of the Aristocrat, out of touch with those who do the real work, invites rebellion -- from employees, customers, and stockholders. It will take the Synergist, a business leader who balances creativity with order, to restore vitality and insure future growth. Executives from major corporations have already put the powerful insights of BARBARIANS TO BUREAUCRATS into practice to regenerate their own companies. Now you can use this brilliant, lucid, and dazzlingly original book to put your company -- and your career -- back on track. "Thought-provoking . . . . Anyone in a position to influence the direction of their company should make this book a No. 1 priority on his or her reading list." -- Atlanta Journal-Constitution

30 review for Barbarians to Bureaucrats: Corporate Life Cycle Strategies

  1. 4 out of 5

    Lyn

    I think about this book all the time and apply its wisdom to situations and organizations I run across. Essentially, Miller shows how all organizations - be they a church, or a nation, or a business - tracks with a defined course of evolution and decline. Each entity begins with the vision of The Prophet. That vision is then expanded and made successful by the Barbarian. But the Barbarian is a hand's on leader and the organization will only evolve beyond his iron grip through the expansion of buil I think about this book all the time and apply its wisdom to situations and organizations I run across. Essentially, Miller shows how all organizations - be they a church, or a nation, or a business - tracks with a defined course of evolution and decline. Each entity begins with the vision of The Prophet. That vision is then expanded and made successful by the Barbarian. But the Barbarian is a hand's on leader and the organization will only evolve beyond his iron grip through the expansion of builders and explorers. This level becomes the apex of the curve. The Administration is where expansion and outward focus turns inward. Next comes the Bureaucrat where outward expansion has stopped and the organization begins to decline. Finally, aristocracy, where the upper levels are far removed from the actual and initial fundamental core of the organization. In this state, the company is ripe for takeover from a barbarian or explorer. Miller includes a wealth of examples for illustrating his various stages of an organizations life cycle. One of the best sections is of Victor Kiam who famously said that "he liked the company so much he bought the company". One of the most amazing things is that I re-read Asimov's Foundation after more than 25 years, and realize that Foundation must have been a great inspiration to Miller, as his process tracks that of Asimov's! ** 2019 addendum - it is a testament to great literature that a reader recalls the work years later and this is a book about which I frequently think. I was just thinking about this book and sharing with a client and ordered another copy off Amazon - every-time I read the book I end up giving it away.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Christopher

    This book was recommended by Patrick Bet David of the YouTube channel Valuetainment. Extremely deep, intellectual book - worth 5 stars. You don’t need to get an MBA from Harvard or Yale if you’re reading material like this. Will be a super dry read for people looking for positive affirmations to get them through corporate career struggles...but B to B uncovers the good, the bad, and the ugly of the business world, and civilizations in Germany. The book gets into the real guts of how empires are b This book was recommended by Patrick Bet David of the YouTube channel Valuetainment. Extremely deep, intellectual book - worth 5 stars. You don’t need to get an MBA from Harvard or Yale if you’re reading material like this. Will be a super dry read for people looking for positive affirmations to get them through corporate career struggles...but B to B uncovers the good, the bad, and the ugly of the business world, and civilizations in Germany. The book gets into the real guts of how empires are built, the. reach eventual collapse if they don’t make conscious efforts to avoid, delay, or eliminate decay (i.e. the Roman Empire). Fascinating stuff! Make no mistake, this high-level business reading at it’s finest!

  3. 5 out of 5

    mdy

    If you're able to get over the somewhat cheesy analogies, this book becomes a fun read that delivers an important message: that companies (like people) have a lifecycle, and that a single company will need different types of leaders depending on where it is in the typical corporate lifecycle. Not all company founders are equipped to grow their small local business to something that can operate nationally, or even internationally. And leaders who desperately hold on to their leadership positions If you're able to get over the somewhat cheesy analogies, this book becomes a fun read that delivers an important message: that companies (like people) have a lifecycle, and that a single company will need different types of leaders depending on where it is in the typical corporate lifecycle. Not all company founders are equipped to grow their small local business to something that can operate nationally, or even internationally. And leaders who desperately hold on to their leadership positions when their company clearly needs someone better equipped for the next stage of the lifecycle are condemning their firm to stagnation or worse, an early decline. The book proposes a lifecycle and for each stage outlines the type of leader that's best suited to take the reins during that stage.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Alexandra Chauran

    This is the best book that I've read so far through my doctoral degree program. I usually hate arbitrary systems of categorization for people, as they are so disingenuous and inaccurate, but this was different. The lifecycle of the categorizations followed a story line mythology. It was sort of like the classic Hero's Journey, but for bureaucrats. Interwoven throughout were detailed historical and contemporary examples to breathe life into the storytelling. Best of all, there was practical advic This is the best book that I've read so far through my doctoral degree program. I usually hate arbitrary systems of categorization for people, as they are so disingenuous and inaccurate, but this was different. The lifecycle of the categorizations followed a story line mythology. It was sort of like the classic Hero's Journey, but for bureaucrats. Interwoven throughout were detailed historical and contemporary examples to breathe life into the storytelling. Best of all, there was practical advice for dealing with the types of people found in each life cycle stage. If this advice had been given to me much earlier in life, I might not have been fired from so many jobs.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Zeyuan Wang

    History has shown that companies tend to follow a certain life cycle with time. This book tells you exactly what are the stages in the corporate life cycle together with their unique characteristics and caveats to be aware of to ensure the continued success of any corporation. Key lessons for management include maintaining a management layer small enough for managers to keep themselves close to its frontline employees in sales and production, a deliberate focus on customers and constant innovation History has shown that companies tend to follow a certain life cycle with time. This book tells you exactly what are the stages in the corporate life cycle together with their unique characteristics and caveats to be aware of to ensure the continued success of any corporation. Key lessons for management include maintaining a management layer small enough for managers to keep themselves close to its frontline employees in sales and production, a deliberate focus on customers and constant innovation. Synergy is the word used by the author to help corporation stand the test of time.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Robert Haag

    A classic work with great insights, I refer to in presentations.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Mario An

  8. 4 out of 5

    Adrian

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jeremy Mathias

  10. 4 out of 5

    Steve Queen

  11. 4 out of 5

    James Ruprecht

  12. 5 out of 5

    Brentley R.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Zelenszki

  14. 5 out of 5

    Musfiq Amin

  15. 5 out of 5

    Matt Eversmann

  16. 5 out of 5

    Ravi Kiran

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kate Sparkman

  18. 4 out of 5

    Robert

  19. 4 out of 5

    Christian Friedland

  20. 5 out of 5

    Benjamin

  21. 4 out of 5

    Aniket Thakur

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jeffrey

  23. 4 out of 5

    Ernest

  24. 5 out of 5

    Khushi

  25. 4 out of 5

    Shahrukh Maniyar

  26. 4 out of 5

    Dara Reyahi

  27. 5 out of 5

    Gary Corless

  28. 4 out of 5

    Robin H Pfahler

  29. 4 out of 5

    Farhan Farook

  30. 4 out of 5

    John Brew

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