Uncorporate Culture: 3 Brilliant Books For Understanding And Developing The Right Culture.

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In 1881, British anthropologist E.B. Tylor defined culture like this: “that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, custom, and any other capabilities and habits acquired…as a member of society.” Applying that to modern organizational structures then, culture could be described as “complexly interrelated systems that initially tend to reflect the beliefs and values of their founders, which are, in turn, influenced by such factors as local customs and norms, the type of industry, and the technology employed.” (S+B). These books all represent a deeper dive into the world of culture, what it is, how it can be created, the importance of it to the success of all businesses, and more…

1. Hot Spots: Why Some Teams, Workplaces And Organizations Buzz With Energy, And Some Don’t.Lynda Gratton

The energy contained in a Hot Spot is essentially “a combination of individual energy with the addition of the relational energy generated between them.” Hence the importance of (a) having a “cooperative mindset,” (b) “boundary spanners,” (c) “igniting purpose,” and (d) sustaining sufficient “productive capacity.” As a 30-yr business veteran, Professor of Management Practice at London Business School (and with far too many other accolades to mention here), she asserts that there is substantial value to be learned by examining best practices in exemplary companies (e.g. BP, Ogilvy, Nokia, and Linux), but also other types of practices, notably what she characterizes as “signature processes” which embody a given organization’s character. They arise from passions and interests within the organization. Whereas best practices “bring the outside in,” signature processes “bring the inside out.” 

2. Smart Tribes: How Teams Become Brilliant Together. —Christine Comaford

New York Times bestselling author and applied neuroscience expert Christine Comaford knows what it takes to move people from the Critter State (fear driven) into the Smart State (innovation and performance driven). When an entire culture maintains that state, it becomes what she calls a SmartTribe. Focused. Accountable. Collaborative. Imbued with the energy and passion to solve problems and do what needs doing, again and again and again. ”All great companies are driven by great people. That’s what SmartTribes is all about. Its groundbreaking neuroscience techniques help you hire the right people, put them in roles where they can excel, and tap into their true potential. With it, you can build a company culture where full employee engagement is the norm, and when that’s true, your company can’t be stopped.” –Ron Storn, recruiting manager, Facebook

3. Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together And Some Don’t. —Simon Sinek

A follow-up to his acclaimed bestseller ‘Start With Why‘, the premise of this book is that “truly human” cultures don’t just happen; they are intentionally created by great leaders. Leaders who, in hard times, would sooner sacrifice their numbers to protect their people, rather than sacrifice people to protect their numbers, are rewarded with deeply loyal teams that consistently contribute their best efforts, ideas and passion. Illustrating his points with fascinating true stories from many fields, he implores us to act sooner rather than later because our stressful jobs are literally killing us. Along the way, he offers surprisingly simple steps for building a truly human organization.



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