The Thomas Nelson Way

For some time, the Executive Leadership Team of Thomas Nelson has wanted to compile our corporate philosophy into a small book. This post marks the beginning of that process.A Stack of The Thomas Nelson Way Books

As a working title for this project, we have chosen The Thomas Nelson Way. The book will attempt to capture the unique way we do business at Thomas Nelson. Because blue is our corporate color, I have envisioned it as a small blue book. As a result, we are also referring to it as The Little Blue Book. I will refer to this series of posts as The Little Blue Book Series.

This book is intended for all Thomas Nelson employees, of course, but I think it will be especially helpful to new employees. We want a way to get them up-to-speed quickly as it relates to our corporate philosophy and culture. We plan to build a curriculum around this content, so that all new employees go through it in their first month of employment. I plan to teach some of these sessions myself. I believe the content is that important.

I thought it might be a good idea to write the book on my blog and post one chapter at a time. This way, readers—even non-Nelson employees—can comment on it, so we can make revisions before going to press. We can think of this as a kind of “community project.” (Thanks to Robert Scoble and Shel Israel, who inspired me to do this in their excellent book, Naked Conversations: How Blogs Are Changing the Way Businesses Talk to Customers.)

For years, I have encouraged new writers to write their book out of sequence. “Don’t start with the first chapter,” I’ve admonished. “Start with the easiest chapter. Then write the next easiest and so on until you’re done.” The most important thing you can do on any project is build momentum. By writing the easiest chapters first, you build the momentum necessary to write the more difficult chapters.

I plan to follow my own advice here. I’m going to write out of sequence, starting with the chapters where I have already done the most research and work. (I have also spoken on a number of these topics at our quarterly “All Employee Meetings.”) As I finish, each chapter, I will post it here.

So here’s the table of contents as it stands now. This will also serve as a sort of index to the whole book. As I complete each chapter, the chapter title will turn into a link that points to the post on that topic.

As you read this list, ask what is missing? I’d love to get your comments.

Table of Contents Updated
1. Our History NA
  This chapter will give an overview of the Company’s history, beginning in 1798 when Thomas Nelson, an eighteen-year-old entrepreneur, opened a used bookstore in Edinburgh, Scotland.  
2. Our Business NA
  This chapter will provide an overview of our current business, including our basic business model.  
3. Our Values 01/27/07
  This chapter outlines our five core values, with particular emphasis on the behaviors they are designed to encourage.  
4. Our Purpose 01/08/07
  This chapter answers the basic question, “Why do we exist?” and outline the three aspects of our core purpose.  
5. Our Vision 03/06/07
  This chapter attempts to peer into the future and describe what the Company looks like five years or so from now.  
6. Our Strategy NA
  This chapter will focus on our overall business strategy. If vision is the “what,” strategy is the “how.”  
7. Our Standards 03/06/07
  This chapter outlines our content standards—why we have them and what they are.  
8. Our Culture 01/26/07
  This chapter describes the ten attributes of a healthy corporate culture, so we all know what it is that we are building toward.  
Personal Challenge NA

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