I get sent a lot of books. I skim a lot of them. There are some that I make a serious attempt because it’s on a topic that grabs me. A few pull me in from page one and never let me go. One of those arrived on Thursday.
Chief Culture Officer by Grant McCracken develops from the premise that culture matters and “until an organization masters culture, it makes the world needlessly mysterious” and “it multiplies risk.” McCraken’s argument is that culture matters for good and bad reasons. An understanding of culture “is the place to discover advantage, opportunity, and innovation.” It’s also “the breeding ground of cataclysmic change.”
This is a book that is packed with stories. Right off the bat you’re immersed in accounts of companies that missed culture shift (i.e., Levi Strauss missing hip-hop, Quaker Oats overpaying for Snapple, and Coca Cola late to the game of non-carbonated drinks). On the flip side you’ll hear the stories of companies that got it right.
What’s the point? It’s McCraken’s belief that although Steve Jobs, Richard Branson and Martha Stewart have a guru reputation, their sensibility for culture can be reverse-engineered.
35 pages in…this will help you. If you’ve been at all concerned that your organization exists in some kind of time warp, you need to pick up this book.