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The SAS Culture Strikes Again

by Miki Saxon

saslogo.gifEverybody who writes about corporate culture, leadership, managing, etc. loves SAS. I’ve been following SAS since it was a segment on 60 minutes nearly 10 years ago and recently wrote about it here. The latest accolade comes from Scott McArthur in the UK, citing an article in The Economist.

Scott comments, ‘Such is the success of SAS that Google have been recent visitors to the campus. Just goes to show that you are never so good that you can’t learn from others.’ So true.

I love Goodnight’s comment regarding the difference between subsidizing food vs. furnishing it free.

When Google’s human-resources people visited SAS to get ideas for the Googleplex, they found much worth copying—though the internet giant has gone one step further with food, which is free to staff. Mr Goodnight considers that unwise, for tax reasons: “I keep telling Larry and Sergey you shouldn’t give away food—the IRS will come in.”

The article ends with The Economist saying, ‘…provided that the industry’s big beasts do not get the better of him. His philosophy of “managing for creativity”, Mr Goodnight reckons, will keep SAS in front. But the real test for his approach will come if the going gets tough.’

Gets tough? Seems to me that there’s been plenty of tough since SAS started in1976—competition, globalization, not to mention a few recessions—and they’ve survived them all.

What do you think? Is SAS’ ‘managing for creativity’ enough to mitigate its business risk?

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4 Responses to “The SAS Culture Strikes Again”
  1. MAPping Company Success Says:

    […] and his idea that his employees should be treated like family were as revolutionary then as SAS’ attitude is today, but that belief helped him build a global brand long before any other company conceived of, let […]

  2. Jose @ Clawfoot FaucetsNo Gravatar Says:

    Nice site, you have a large archive of great posts on mapping a company’s success. I will spend some time browsing through some post to find relevant nuggets of information I can use for my own business endeavors.

  3. Miki SaxonNo Gravatar Says:

    Thanks, Jose, I’m glad you found the information useful. Please don’t hesitate to write me if you would like a specific subject addressed.

  4. MAPping Company Success Says:

    […] do SAS; Warby Parker and Toms Shoes; FullContact; Petagonia have in […]

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