Creating Successful Cultures

by Dianna Brodine, managing editor
Plastics Business

This summer, I had the opportunity to participate on a selection committee for a local leadership award. The process included three separate review phases over the space of two months, culminating in a final group meeting where 12 people discussed the final nominees before naming the ultimate list of award honorees.

In many of our (sometimes spirited) discussions, the decision about whether to name the nominee to the final list came down to culture – did the nominee impact the culture of our community in a positive, lasting way?

At the upcoming MAPP Benchmarking and Best Practices Conference in October, culture also will be a recurring theme, as many of the most successful organizations have developed a culture in which their employees thrive – and business success follows. In preparation for the event, grab one of these new reads on the subject.

The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups
Author: Daniel Coyle
Released: Jan. 30, 2018

In The Culture Code, Daniel Coyle goes inside some of the worldÂ’s most successful organizations – including the U.S. Navy’s SEAL Team Six, IDEO and the San Antonio Spurs – and reveals what makes them tick. He demystifies the culture-building process by identifying three key skills that generate cohesion and cooperation, and he explains how diverse groups learn to function with a single mind. Coyle offers specific strategies that trigger learning, spark collaboration, build trust and drive positive change. Coyle unearths helpful stories of failure that illustrate what not to do, troubleshoots common pitfalls and shares advice about reforming a toxic culture. Combining leading-edge science, on-the-ground insights from world-class leaders and practical ideas for action, The Culture Code offers a roadmap for creating an environment where innovation flourishes, problems get solved and expectations are exceeded.

Powerful: Building a Culture of Freedom and Responsibility
Author: Patty McCord
Released: Jan. 9, 2018

When it comes to recruiting, motivating and creating great teams, Patty McCord says most companies have it all wrong. McCord helped create the unique and high-performing culture at Netflix, where she was chief talent officer. In Powerful: Building a Culture of Freedom and Responsibility, McCord advocates practicing radical honesty in the workplace, saying goodbye to employees who don’t fit the company’s emerging needs and motivating with challenging work, not promises, perks and bonus plans. McCord argues that the old standbys of corporate HR – annual performance reviews, retention plans, employee empowerment and engagement programs – often end up being a colossal waste of time and resources. Her road-tested advice, offered with humor and irreverence, provides readers a different path for creating a culture of high performance and profitability.

The Best Team Wins: The New Science of High Performance
Author: Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton
Released: Feb. 13, 2018

In The Best Team Wins, Gostick and Elton studied more than 850,000 employee engagement surveys to develop their “Five Disciplines of Team Leaders,” explaining how to recognize and motivate different generations to enhance individual engagement; ways to promote healthy discord and spark innovation; and techniques to unify customer focus and build bridges across functions, cultures and distance. They’ve shared these disciplines with their corporate clients and now have distilled their breakthrough findings into a succinct, engaging guide for business leaders everywhere. Gostick and Elton offer practical ways to address the real challenges today’s managers are facing, such as the rise of the Millennials, the increasing speed of change, the growing number of global and virtual teams, and the friction created by working cross-functionally.

Extraordinary Influence: How Great Leaders Bring Out the Best in Others
Author: Tim Irwin
Released: Feb. 27, 2018

The age-old question for every leader: how do we bring out the best in those we lead? Anyone who has run a company, raised a family, led an army or coached a team struggles to find the key to help others excel and realize their potential. It is surprising how often we resort to criticism vs. an approach that actually results in a better worker and a better person. In most organizations, the methods used to provide feedback to employees, such as performance appraisal or multi-rater feedback systems, in fact, accomplish the exact opposite of what we intend. Science in recent years discovered that affirmation sets in motion huge positive changes in the brain. It releases certain neuro chemicals associated with well-being and higher performance. Amazingly, criticism creates just the opposite neural reaction. Leaders must forever ban the term, “Constructive Criticism.” Brain science tells us that we can establish a connection between the employee’s work and his or her aspirations. This book calls for a new approach to align workers with an organization’s mission, strategy and goals.

Fusion: How Integrating Brand and Culture Powers the World’s Greatest Companies
Author: Denise Lee Yohn
Released: March 13, 2018

Independently, brand and culture are powerful, unsung business drivers. But, as author Denise Lee Yohn reveals, when you fuse the two together to create an interdependent and mutually-reinforcing relationship between them (what she calls fusion), you create new growth that isn’t possible by simply cultivating one or the other alone. Through detailed case studies from some of the world’s greatest companies (Sony, Frito-Lay, Oakley, FedEx, Airbnb, Adobe, Salesforce, LinkedIn, etc.), interviews with industry leaders and insights from the author’s 25+ years working with world-class brands, FUSION provides readers with a detailed roadmap for increasing competitiveness, creating measurable value for customers and employees, and future-proofing their businesses.