Book review: Management in 10 Words

Emma De Vita reviews the new book by former Tesco boss Sir Terry Leahy

Management in 10 Words
Management in 10 Words

Love it or loathe it, Tesco has enjoyed the kind of success that most businesses can only dream of. It was Sir Terry Leahy who led the supermarket behemoth from being a flagging business to becoming the king of retail - something his recent departure and Tesco's subsequent poor performance only serves to underline.

Leahy is an uncharismatic man of few words, so it comes as no surprise that his book on management hardly rocks the boat. For example, he describes a government meeting where a senior official asked him: "How did Tesco go from being a struggling UK retailer to the third largest retailer in the world?" Leahy replied: "It's quite simple: we focused relentlessly on delivering for our customers; we set ourselves some simple aims and basic values to live by; and then we created a process to achieve them, making sure that everyone knew what they were responsible for." A stunned silence followed, then someone said: "Was that it?" "Yes," he replied.

Leahy advocates a style of leadership that inspires loyalty, trust and strong values. It's the kind of back-to-basics stuff that every manager should live and breathe, but on which so many fail. Is it time for you to take a leaf out of Leahy's book?

Emma De Vita is books editor of Management Today

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