Intentions for the new year are often set early only to be forgotten a few months later. However, the fear of missing out can be a phenomenal motivator. And you are missing out if you haven’t read these books on culture. Plus, they are likely to appear on your CEO's nightstand.
This list is curated from the favorites of our culture experts, most forward-thinking clients and CEOs who take culture seriously.
1. Primed to Perform by Neel Doshi & Lindsay McGregor
Primed to Perform is one of those books that will make you question everything you know. Doshi and McGregor will revolutionize your strategic approach to culture using the latest data in human psychology.
The book offers an actionable and measurable culture tool to which they refer to as the “Total Motivation” or “ToMo” Factor. This tool gives the ability to measure the strength of a company’s culture based on 6 different motives. Beginning with the most effective, Play, then followed by Purpose, Potential, Emotional Pressure, Economic Pressure, and ending with Inertia being the least effective.
2. How Google Works by Eric Schmidt & Jonathan Rosenberg (With Alan Eagle, foreword by Larry Page)
First and foremost, this is not a culture book per se. How Google Works is a business book. Long standing Google executives, Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg give an insider’s take on how revolutionary work environments and creative people have helped bring the internet giant to its height.
While telling a riveting story and a few secrets along the way, Schmidt and Rosenberg offer concrete tactics and practices to launch and scale a successful business. They begin with a story of essentially denying an urgent request from a board member for a detailed business plan, and instead focusing on: “hire as many talented engineers as possible and give them freedom.” What follows is the tale of a company that never compromised on who they hire, how they treat people, or the freedom they give to their employees.
3. Turn the Ship Around by David Marquet
Turn the Ship around is an ideal illustration of how a culture of individual responsibility can drive measurable success within an organization. Through a shift of psychological ownership, Former U.S. Navy commander David Marquet took the USS Santa Fe from the worst-performing nuclear submarine in its fleet to the best the Navy had ever seen.
Traditionally, the Captain holds all the authority but not on the USS Santa Fe. Instead, Marquet moved the authority to where the information was, his crew. Instructions were replaced with intent cultivating an environment for thinking and ultimately leaders of every rank.
Empowered to think and act independently within a high-stakes environment, Marquet’s sailors rose to the occasion, winning awards and recognition for the USS Santa Fe and honors and promotions for themselves without a single order from Marquet.
4. Everybody Matters by Bob Chapman and Raj Sisoda
Bob Chapman, CEO of Barry-Wehmiller Companies, believed every individual deserves the opportunity and support to become everything they are destined to be. Despite the 2008 recession, he implemented a “Continuous Improvement, People Centric” leadership mentality within the organization.
This strategy led to a culture that validates the worth of every individual by cultivating an environment where people can discover, develop and share their gifts while being recognized and appreciated along the way.
Barry-Wehmiller Companies navigated enormous cultural change during the recession by refusing layoffs and choosing to exercise 4 weeks of furlough. Instilling the notion that all will suffer a bit to avoid the major suffering of one inspired an internal barter system of time between employees. Everybody Matters is truly a remarkable story of the human spirit and what that looks like within the construct of an organization that views its stakeholders as family.
5. Firms of Endearment by Rajendra S. Sisodia, David B. Wolfe and Jagdish N. Sheth
The authors challenge the role of capitalism in society. Cash is out. People and Purpose are in. A notion that in the past would receive an eye-roll is now the bedrock of top performing companies. Living in a world where instead of maximizing value to shareholders, organizations are maximizing value to all stakeholders including customers, investors, employees, partners, communities, society. The data Sisodia, Wolfe and Sheth produce simply cannot be ignored. Firms of Endearment will not only change your perception of business but give you hope for a better tomorrow.
These books are guaranteed to push your thinking outside the status quo and make you question your own assumptions about what you can and cannot achieve as an HR leader in 2019. Plus, you may want to pass a couple of these on to your CEO when you finish.
‘Share’ your favorites with us on Twitter or Linkedin @cultureiq with the hashtag #CultureReads and you’ll be entered into a drawing to win all of these books to kick-off your 2019!