Monthly Culture Inspiration: August 2017

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

Visual: The Employee Experience Advantage: CELEBRATED Culture

In his book The Employee Experience Advantage: How to Win the War for Talent by Giving Employees the Workspaces they Want, the Tools they Need, and a Culture They Can CelebrateJacob Morgan shares the elements of space, technology, and culture that an organization should have in order to create a good employee experience. What is a good employee experience? Morgan writes, "When I spoke with Pat Wadors, the CHRO at LinkedIn, she told me that if she could pick just one way to measure engagement at her company, it would be “If employees show up to work each day wanting to create a sense of belonging for others.” Morgan came up with an acronym that I love for the cultural elements of a good employee experience: a CELEBRATED culture.


Book: Difficult Conversations

Last month I caught up with a former colleague, and I asked him what books had been most formative for his career. He said that the only book he returns to over and over again is the book, Difficult Conversations by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton and Sheila Heen. I just finished it, and I think every human should read this book-- and then re-read it throughout our lives. It's helpful for anyone who interacts with other people (all of us), and specifically for relationships with co-workers, significant others, and family members. It provides a step-by-step guide for having tough conversations with less stress. The reason I mention it on this blog is because the authors write in the preface to the 2nd edition that many people have used the book during organizational change efforts.

"So one explanation for the interest in this book is simply the delight of individuals happy to find a way through difficult relationship dilemmas, whether at home or at work. But we think there may be a broader organizational need driving interest in the business community: a recognition that the long-term success and even survival of many organizations may depend on their ability to master difficult conversations. Why? Because the ability to handle difficult conversations well is a prerequisite to organizational change and adaptation. And because the combination of globalized competition and technological development have made rapid change and adaptation a necessity for organizational survival.

Of course, people in the business world have a certain cynicism when it comes to the “next big change initiative.” We believe a major reason change efforts so often fail is that successful implementation eventually requires people to have difficult conversations – and they are not prepared to manage them skillfully. People inevitably have different views on priorities, levels of investment, measures of success, and exactly what correct implementation should entail. With everyone taking for granted that their own view is right, and readily assuming that others’ opposition is self-interested, progress quickly grinds to a halt. Decisions are delayed, and when finally made they are often imposed without buy-in from those who have to implement them. Relationships sour. Eventually people give up in frustration, and those driving the effort get distracted by new challenges or the next next big thing. The ability to manage difficult conversations effectively is foundational, then, to achieving almost any significant change."


Article to Bookmark: World Class Talent in Hyper Growth – What’s the Role of Company Culture?

I recently discovered Spotify's HR blog, which is a treasure trove of inspiration. Topics include learning & development, talent acquisition, mobility, diversity and inclusion, and employer branding, among others. In this post, Spotify Chief Human Resources Officer Katarina Berg writes, "Many things have been said about developing a great company culture, but I’ve been thinking about how it can differ from a European perspective." It's a nice perspective on culture from a Swedish company.