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  • Published: 2 July 2024
  • ISBN: 9781847942821
  • Imprint: Penguin
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 304
  • RRP: $24.99

Centennials

The 12 Habits of Great, Enduring Organisations



A groundbreaking study of some of the world's most enduring organisations and the lessons you can draw from them to revolutionise your own

Start-ups rarely survive their second birthday. Even established firms in the UK and the US average a life of only fifteen years. So how can your company build and sustain success for decades to come?

Professor Alex Hill has conducted thirteen years of groundbreaking research into a clutch of organisations that have outperformed their peers for over 100 years - from NASA to the New Zealand All Blacks, from Eton College and the Royal College of Art to the Royal Marines and the Royal Shakespeare Company. Here, Professor Hill shares the twelve traits that have set these organisations apart for over a century, from the way they analyse success and failure to their approach to finding the best people and the brightest new ideas.

In so doing, he identifies the strategies and habits that you can employ in your company to create a strong, stable core and ensure the same long-term prosperity while remaining dynamic. In short, he shows you how to build a promising enterprise into an enduring, great organisation.
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'An instant classic.' Charles Handy, author of 'The Empty Raincoat' and 'The Second Curve'

'Every CEO should be given a copy with their morning coffee.' Robin Dunbar, Professor of Evolutionary Psychology at the University of Oxford

  • Published: 2 July 2024
  • ISBN: 9781847942821
  • Imprint: Penguin
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 304
  • RRP: $24.99

About the author

Professor Alex Hill

Professor Alex Hill is the co-founder and Director of The Centre for High Performance – a collaboration between the University of Kingston, Duke Corporate Education, London Business School and Green Templeton College, Oxford – which is dedicated to helping high-performing organizations develop a stronger and more robust economy, society and environment. The Centre has worked with organizations in sectors ranging from the arts and education to sport, technology and the military.

He is also a Professor at Kingston University (UK), Educator at Duke Corporate Education (US), and Visiting Professor at Cass Business School (UK), Gordon Institute of Business Science (South Africa), The Academy of National Economy (Russia) and KEDGE Management School (France).

He has written a number of books, published articles in leading academic journals such as the Harvard Business Review, advised the UK Government on educational policy, appeared on BBC Newsnight, presented at the Global Economics and Skills Forum and has written for The Times and Schools Week.

Praise for Centennials

An instant classic.

Charles Handy, author of 'The Empty Raincoat' and 'The Second Curve'

If you want to know why some businesses succeed beyond expectation and others incomprehensibly fail, the answer is here. Every CEO should be given a copy with their morning coffee.

Robin Dunbar, Professor of Evolutionary Psychology at the University of Oxford

Most people think in straight lines. A leads to B. Alex thinks sideways, and comes up with intuitions few will spot, but which are obvious and readily applicable. That is what makes this book both useful, and a joy to read.

Tim Leunig, former economic adviser to the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer

Brilliantly clear, concise and readable. Both a window into centennial organisations and an incredibly helpful strategic toolkit for sustaining and developing them.

Lucy Skilbeck, Director of Actor Training at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art

If you want to learn what it takes to achieve truly sustainable success in an organisation, then this is a book for you. The examples of organisations which have stood the test of time and, frankly, those which haven't, are illuminating because of the fundamental features which Alex has uncovered. This book will be of value to not just those who are contemplating setting up a new venture, but also to those who are temporary custodians of existing great organisations and whose ultimate goal must surely be to add value.

Shaun Fitzgerald, OBE, Director of the Centre for Climate Repair at the University of Cambridge

Centennials is an entertaining and thought-provoking exploration of a central idea of leadership; how to effectively balance stability with innovation and change. The core principles of this book have added positively to my work since I first came across Alex and his research. The concepts captured within Centennials are brought to life with simple clarity and real world engaging stories and I would recommend any leader add this to their library.

Michael Bourne, Performance Director at the Lawn Tennis Association

Professor Hill brings his deep knowledge of organisational structures and a brilliantly perceptive eye to a number of the leading organisations in the UK and beyond, organisations that are leaders in their area and have sustained that success over many years - in some cases, for centuries. The result is a remarkable book that is full of satisfying insights, from the elegant (stable core, disruptive edge) to the unfashionable (get better, not bigger) to the surprising (make time for random). Centennials has made me see an organisation that I thought I knew very well with fresh eyes.

Jonnie Noakes, Director of Teaching and Learning at Eton College

I enjoyed Centennials a great deal. I believe Alex has captured some simple principles that can allow individuals, teams, organisations and beyond to navigate complexity in a manner which brings purpose, stability and evolution. It's a text I will keep returning to!

Danny Kerry, MBE, former head coach of the Great Britain Women’s Olympic Hockey Team

Centennials brilliantly draws on over a decade's worth of insight to capture many of the vital elements that distinguish sustainable success. Anyone looking for an engaging way to stimulate deep reflection in order to create purposeful, long-term success should read this book.

Ian Robinson, Deputy Director of Strategy and Operational Excellence, UK Sport

If you want your organisation to be a success for the next 100 years and beyond I suggest you read this.

Steve Harrison, Project Manager at the Scottish Government

Centennials is a masterclass in what it takes to create and sustain high performing teams and organisations. In uncertain times, these are time-tested habits for success that we ignore at our peril.

Richard Mann, former Royal Marine and UK Special Forces

A rigorous, readable and practical addition to the genre . . . Hill offers detailed and diverse observations . . . [that will] appeal to managers looking for a prescription as they wonder how to outlast the competition.

Financial Times

A splendid book.

Harry Wallop, The Times

Entertainingly written and an engaging read.

Neil Armstrong, Mail on Sunday