Summary of Victory Through Organization

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8 Overall

9 Applicability

7 Innovation

7 Style


As the title suggests, teams trump individuals. After analyzing more than 32,000 survey responses worldwide, authors Dave Ulrich, David Kryscynski, Wayne Brockbank and Mike Ulrich present evidence that while great HR professionals matter, they quadruple their impact when they organize into effective HR departments. The latest in a trilogy based on the authors’ groundbreaking, three-decades long “HR Competency Studies” (HRCS), this entry wraps up material in the series’ previous excellent books. Of course, few teams have contributed more to HR literature than Dave Ulrich and Brockbank. getAbstract thinks that any leader or HR professional – especially those who haven’t read the first two volumes – will savor these insights from an incredible 30 years of original research.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Why firms need not just great HR professionals, but also effective HR departments and teams;
  • What nine competencies HR professionals and teams must develop; and
  • What strategies you can use to develop those competencies in your HR staff.

About the Authors

Dave Ulrich, a partner in the RBL group, and Wayne Brockbank teach at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. They have collaborated for decades. David Kryscynski, who teaches at Brigham Young University’s Marriott School of Management, and Mike Ulrich, a professor at the Huntsman School of Business at Utah State, consult extensively in HR.



Why Human Resources?

The work of the HR department is more important than ever because it now drives the cultural, change management and talent decisions at the root of CEOs’ greatest challenges. Today, HR leaders concern themselves with employees, external customers and, generally, how the company must “organize” for success. Organization means assembling the right talent, but it also covers building the right organizational capabilities.
HR professionals must adapt. To comprehend the scope of today’s business world, they should study “social, technology, environmental, political, economic and demographic trends” (“STEPED”) that may affect their company’s success or failure. Once they understand this context, they should lead “VUCA” discussions with business leaders covering: 1) “volatility,” the speed and type of current change; 2) “uncertainty,” the likelihood of potential disruptions and when they might occur; 3) “complexity,” the intricacies concerning potential disruptors; and 4) “ambiguity,” the dependencies involved, including the fog and obscurity surrounding their ongoing challenges. HR leaders should determine what “value to create” by identifying their firm’s key stakeholders –investors, partners, internal managers, employees or customers – and learning what they want. HR leaders should work with employees and earn their “commitment” by rallying them around a “shared purpose” – connecting them to each other and to the firm’s stakeholders, inspiring them, creating a sense of urgency, and leveraging diversity and inclusiveness. Effective HR teams drive business results, not just HR or employee results.

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