8 Books That Will Inspire Your Workplace Culture

books that will inspire workplace culture

There are still a few weeks left of summer and what better time to pick up a good book? The team at gothamCulture recently put their heads together to curate a list of recommendations that will inspire your workplace culture and leadership development. Consider choosing one of these for your office book club. We hope you find these helpful!

The Culture Code: Daniel Coyle explores the question, “How is it that some groups add up to be greater than the sum of the parts, and others do not?” The book is based on research over a period of four years, looking at some of the best/most successful team cultures. The discussion is organized into a presentation of three skills known for generating high-performing groups: (1) Build safety, (2) Share vulnerability, and (3) Establish purpose.

Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard:  a book about how to change things when change is hard. It can be about you, a job, friends, or even family. Change is very difficult and hard to do without a little motivation. The book helps you to look at things in a different way than you had before. Seeing the good things about why you should change and why it was better before.

Seven Strategy Questions: A Simple Approach for Better Execution:  Successful business strategy lies not in having all the right answers, but rather in asking the right questions, says Harvard Business School professor Robert Simons. In an excerpt from his book Seven Strategy Questions, Simons explains how managers can make smarter choices.

Conversations Worth Having: ‘Conversations worth having’ are affirmative, appreciative-based conversations that add value, as opposed to ‘critical’ or ‘destructive’ conversations that are statement-based (and devalue).

Changing on the Job: Developing Leaders for a Complex World: Developing professionals, especially leaders, who can understand and effectively navigate the complexities of twenty-first-century organizational life—a central aim of many adult educators, school administrators, professional coaches, and organizational consultants—is a daunting and critical task. In her book Changing on the Job: Developing Leaders for a Complex World, Jennifer Garvey Berger explains how attending to one often-overlooked dimension of human diversity—what she calls form of mind—offers the potential to increase the impact, reach, and longevity of programs and practices aimed at promoting such development.

Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success: Adam Grant emphasizes the importance and impact of interaction, and how different interaction styles can either enhance or take away from productivity or performance. He encourages outwardly-focused, positive interactions, but recognizes the need to balance the roles of “giver” and “taker.”

Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover: Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, Tara Westover was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom. Her family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education and no one to intervene when one of Tara’s older brothers became violent. When another brother got himself into college, Tara decided to try a new kind of life. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge University. Only then would she wonders if she’d traveled too far if there was still a way home.

Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity: Radical Candor is a simple idea: to be a good boss, you have to Care Personally at the same time that you Challenge Directly. When you challenge without caring it’s obnoxious aggression; when you care without challenging it’s ruinous empathy. When you do neither it’s manipulative insincerity. This simple framework can help you build better relationships at work, and fulfill your three key responsibilities as a leader: creating a culture of feedback (praise and criticism), building a cohesive team, and achieving results you’re all proud of. Radical Candor offers a guide to those bewildered or exhausted by management, written for bosses and those who manage bosses. Taken from years of the author’s experience, and distilled clearly giving actionable lessons to the reader; it shows managers how to be successful while retaining their humanity, finding meaning in their job, and creating an environment where people both love their work and their colleagues.

Your Company Culture And The Uniqueness Paradox

Organizational Stories

Advising senior leaders on the topic of organizational culture for the last fifteen plus years has provided me with a multitude of opportunities to examine the ways in which groups of people organize themselves to accomplish their work and to achieve their mission. There are a wide variety of methods that I use when helping clients to understand the cultures of their organizations. One of these methods is engaging members of a client organization in order to listen to and attempt to make meaning of the stories that are told.

Stories have served a critical purpose in organizing groups of people for thousands of years. Stories are engaging ways to educate members of a group about what is valued by the group. What the group expects from its members. What gets rewarded and what gets people punished. Stories spark different areas of our brains than other forms of communication and this is why they have, and continue to be, utilized to share important ideas amongst and across groups of people.

Stories, due to their unique contextual factors, tend to reinforce the belief that each is a special, one-of-a-kind thing. Stories are not the only organizational phenomenon that foster the belief that organizations and their cultures are unique and special snowflakes but, in reality, organizational cultures and the stories that are shared within them share many commonalities in terms of structure, delivery, and ultimate purpose. This is what researchers Martin, Feldman, Hatch, & Sitkin refer to as the uniqueness paradox.

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Dear CEO, Having Your Values On The Wall Isn’t Enough For A Great Culture

climbing a mountain and values

Many a time I have been asked how a business knows they need to revisit their culture and just as many that I have been told by a CEO that they have a great culture whilst they go on to tell me the signs are that they don’t.

So, what exactly should you be looking for? Here’s my list of the top 11 signs that might be telling you it’s time for a culture change.

The numbers tell a fading story

For whatever reason, if your sales are on a downward trajectory its a sure sign there’s a problem. Whether it is the actual product or the way you are working the underlying truth is that the organization is either failing to leverage intelligence and adapt or is simply not agile enough to keep up with market trends.

Your people aren’t happy

Happiness is an integral part of profitability. If your employees are not happy with you then as well as the impact on your HR budget from high turnover of staff and sickness they will also care less and its that loss of attention to detail and will to succeed that could cost you most dearly. Introducing an innovation culture that everyone has a stake in sends out a strong message about the value of employees. Read More…

Why Many Culture Efforts Struggle To Drive Sustainable Change

Culture, Climate and sustainable change

There I was, sitting in the office of a senior executive who was struggling to come to terms with the reality that their organizational change effort, though having somewhat significant success initially, was not sustaining. People were quickly slipping back to old behaviors and engagement measures were sliding back to where they were when the change process started.

As I learned more about the “culture” change efforts that this organization had engaged in over the last year and a half, it became clear to me where it went sideways. This leader is not alone in succumbing to this common misconception about what culture is and isn’t and I felt that it was time to take a moment to clarify a few things for the rest of my readers who may be feeling similar frustrations.

The concept of organizational culture has become widely accepted as a critical component of performance in recent years. With this, I find that a great many of my discussions with leaders, often, teeter between several topics that fall within the realm of culture but are not one and the same. This reality can create some understandable confusion and frustration for people.

One common situation that I find myself running into are conversations with business leaders who are attempting to evolve the cultures of their organization but who, in reality, are focusing on organizational climate. Many business leaders tend to utilize the terms organizational culture and organizational climate interchangeably, and while they share many similarities, there are several key differences that delineate them from one other.

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gothamCulture’s Chris Cancialosi Discusses Adaptive Companies Through The Lens Of Organizational Culture

The SHRM 2019 Spring People + Strategy Journal has been published and in the Perspectives Department, Anna Tavis presents “The Adaptability Challenge.” Martin Reeves, Director of BCG’s think tank, BCG Henderson Institute, is the lead author on this topic writing about “What Makes an Adaptive Company?” Chris Cancialosi, Founder and Partner at gothamCulture, provided one of the counterpoints to the focal article with “Expanding the Lens to Organizational Culture.” To read the article and all of the counterpoints click here.

How Blending Brand And Culture Can Impact The Customer Experience

Customer experience

Customer experience is a memory. An impression that can stick in the mind for a minute or a lifetime. A positive experience can result in lasting loyalty, endorsement, and evangelism. A poor experience, on the other hand, can almost instantly mean the end of a brand relationship.

PwC reports that 79% of customers rate customer experience as the most important component of the purchasing decision after product quality and price. According to this research, 59% of consumers who love a brand are prepared to forsake it after having a series of poor experiences. The firm also claims that 17% will walk away after only one bad experience. Needless to say, this is concerning for any business.

In order to create amazing customer experiences, companies need to ensure that they have the appropriate bedrock in place to enable brand and culture to be successfully integrated. In this article, we will discuss the three primary foundations – purpose, promise, and values.

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7 Ways to Reduce Loneliness in the Workplace

Lonely Worker

Workplace Loneliness and the Importance of Community

A huge factor in the prevalence of loneliness at work is the lack of a nurtured and authentic community. As humans, we are organically communal. When the ability to form connections is absent it’s natural for us to feel isolated.

In the workplace, community and culture are influenced by company values. Often those values aren’t overly difficult to identify. The hard part is bringing them to life. Whereas values are defined, community is forever moving. It’s not a process. It’s an organic ecosystem that in many ways constantly evaluates the meaning of business values at a single point in time rather than adhering to them ongoing in an unwavering manner. In short, communal interactions are stress tests in cultural authenticity. They determine which values matter the most and challenge those that may not be overly robust or that employees can’t live by. A positive values-driven community breaks down silos. It laterally cuts across organizations taking politics and difficult divergent views out of the picture. It has the power to bond by removing obstacles through shared goals, interests and commitments. It galvanizes and helps individuals and the company as a whole to grow, and through all of this, it’s one of the most significant ways to prevent or reduce loneliness. Community through culture must, therefore, be fostered for the good of everyone.

7 Ways to Reduce Isolation In The Workplace

All is not lost. There are many approaches worth considering to manage the problem of loneliness in the workplace. Not every one is right for every company, but here are seven to consider.

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Workplace Loneliness in the Age of Connectivity

lonely worker

According to Psychology Today 40% of people will experience the pain of loneliness during their lifetime. Despite its prevalence, the feeling of being alone or isolated is an often-misunderstood condition. Here are some facts.

  • Loneliness increases the likelihood of serious illness by repressing our immune systems. Depression, heart disease, strokes, panic attacks, low energy, and mental paralysis can all occur
  • Admission of loneliness is contagious. When a person opens up about their sense of negative isolation, 52% of his or her friends are more likely to subsequently admit they have the same challenge
  • It’s no longer a condition solely associated with the elderly. The average age of those suffering is declining fast
  • It poses a greater health risk than obesity
  • It’s worse for our health than smoking 15 cigarettes a day
  • Acute loneliness increases the likelihood of early death by 14%

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15 Ways To Influence Your Brand Culture

Workplace Culture

You’ve mapped out your rebrand. The vision, purpose, values, personality and principles are in the bag. The logo and tagline are nailed. The style guide is finished. The creative department is excited and the media and communications teams are ready to roll. You’ve presented your PowerPoint to the company. They seemed to like it but few questions were asked. After all, to them, this is the domain of only the marketing department. Isn’t it?

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