Monthly Culture Inspiration: March 2017

Every month, I post three types of culture inspiration: a visual, a book, and an article to bookmark.

Visual: Five Spaces Leaders Need to Design and Nurture

I recently discovered Tanmay Vora's absolutely delightful illustrations. Vora started his blog, QAspire, as a personal archive of lessons he was learning as a new manager. It now attracts tens of thousands of visitors each month. Here are several other illustrations about company culture. I could look at his site for hours.

Book: The Advantage by Patrick Lencioni

Patrick Lencioni is perhaps best known for his book The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, but my favorite of his books is The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Business. If there was one book that I could offer leaders of organizations, it would be this book. Lencioni argues that "a healthy organization is one that has all but eliminated politics and confusion from its environment. As a result, productivity and morale soar, and good people almost never leave." On the other hand, "the smartest organization in the world, the one that has mastered strategy and finance and marketing and technology, will eventually fail if it is unhealthy." So why haven't more organizations embraced the benefits of organizational health? Because it's hard and it requires courage. "Leaders must be willing to confront themselves, their peers, and the dysfunction within their organization with an uncommon level of honesty and persistence. They must be prepared to walk straight into uncomfortable situations and address issues that prevent them from realizing the potential that eludes them." In the book, you'll learn the four steps an organization has to do to get healthy. While this is a "touchy feely" topic, this is not a soft book-- it has incredible detailed, tangible, and actionable steps, with in depth exercises for leaders and teams. Lencioni also has a detailed checklist and roadmap for the steps on his website.

Article to Bookmark: 100 Culture Change Insights from 100 Culture Expert Posts

Culture University is an educational website about workplace culture supported by a faculty of culture experts, including my favorite culture expert, MIT professor Edgar Schein. They have a helpful article, "100 Culture Change Insights from 100 Culture Expert Posts," which is chock-full of good tidbits, like this one: "Terrific, talented people reach their capacity to absorb change and they check out. Every person has their own “change sponge” that has a maximum amount of absorption. Both personal and professional changes decrease the change capacity. Employees become disengaged when they run out of capacity. All the leadership commitment, compelling cases for change and brilliant change strategies in the world are irrelevant if you do not assess and manage change capacity."