Join getAbstract to access the summary!

The Four Pillars of High Performance

Join getAbstract to access the summary!

The Four Pillars of High Performance

How Robust Organizations Achieve Extraordinary Results: Lessons from the Rand Corporation


15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Can your organization survive the unexpected? Only if it is alert, agile, adaptable and aligned for high performance.

Editorial Rating



  • Applicable


The RAND Corporation’s organizational strategy advice is based on more than 50 years of research. Author Paul C. Light draws from RAND studies primarily related to the U.S. military to explain the need for organizations to confront unavoidable change with alertness, agility, adaptability and alignment. He notes that these four attributes are equally valuable to small and large businesses, and to organizations of all kinds. You can apply each solid lesson Light takes from RAND’s studies to your organization’s structure and planning. In fact, some of his points are already common wisdom. Political instability, labor force fluctuations, or the potential for terrorism or economic unrest affect some industries more than others, but every organization is susceptible to unanticipated developments. If you want to find out what to do when your organization gets surprised, recommends this in-depth research-based report.


RAND Provides More Than 50 Years of Research

Hundreds of organizational studies conducted by the independent RAND Corporation during the last 50 years provide significant insight into how to develop a robust organization. For years, RAND has studied the possible futures of organizations or situations. Its researchers think about the unexpected, and then figure out how to turn it into sustainable reality. RAND questions the questions and then questions its own answers. By virtue of the institution’s independence, RAND participants have no stake in any particular scenario’s outcome. Therefore, they consider every possibility equally and offer objective findings. RAND lets the evidence speak for itself without regard to political or social ramifications. It is what it is.

Many RAND Corporation studies focus on U.S. military readiness and performance. However, their lessons also pertain to companies that need to develop business plans and internal structures that can withstand time and the element of surprise. Comparisons to war, conflict, national policy, international politics, preparedness, maneuvers, challenges and analyses - while critical and urgent in the context...

About the Author

Paul C. Light has written 19 books on business, education and public service, and frequently speaks on organizational life. He is the Paulette Goddard Professor of Public Service at the Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service at New York University. In 1999, he founded the Center for Public Service at the Brookings Institution, where he has been affiliated for more than 20 years.

Comment on this summary