October 24th, 2014
The following is a post by Lawrence Cunningham, author of Berkshire Beyond Buffett: The Enduring Value of Values:
Berkshire Beyond Buffett: The Enduring Value of Values tells the stories of Berkshire’s 50 significant direct subsidiaries, which define the company today, representing 80 percent of its value.
As I examined each, through archival research plus interviews and surveys, a pattern emerged: the same traits began to appear repeatedly, nine altogether. These intangible traits translate into financial gain. They also secure the company’s future, hence the book’s sub-title: The Enduring Value of Values.
Those nine values define the book’s central chapters, each chapter telling the stories of four or five subsidiaries that exemplify given values. After I organized and wrote the book, I played around with the nomenclature to form an acrostic from these values that spells out the company’s first name, as seen below, which also captures the essence of each and notes an illustrative subsidiary. The book then weaves these stories and values together to reflect what amounts to a profound succession plan.
Essence: A penny saved is a nickel earned
Essence: The value in promise keeping
Illustration: Gen Re
Essence: Results benefit from reputation
Illustration: Clayton Homes
Essence: Wealth can last more than 3 generations when families value identity and legacy
Illustration: Ben Bridge Jeweler
Essence: To the entrepreneur go the spoils
Illustration: Dairy Queen
Essence: Delegate everything but reputation
Illustration: Pampered Chef
Essence: Price is paid, values are exchanged
Illustration: BH Energy
Essence: Impossible dreams are impossible, so stick to your knitting
Illustration: Fruit of the Loom
Essence: Berkshire as a permanent home, a Boys Town for the corporate homeless
Illustration: Brooks Running Shoe