Issue No. 47 of Your Weekly Staff Meeting features The Culture Bucket and a new book recommended by Jim Collins. At your next staff meeting, read a nugget from a helpful management book (like this week’s) and delegate your reading to a team member. Ask for a brief book report at a future staff meeting, along with one practical idea your staffer would like to see implemented. And this reminder: you can read the mini-reviews of more than 45 other books here in the archives of my Buckets Blog.
Road Warrior Points & Family Gifts
MTW, a software company serving the insurance industry, pushed employee turnover from 30 percent (standard for their niche) to an amazing four percent. Like many innovative companies that pay attention to their corporate culture, they understand that compensation—alone—is not the big deal in attracting and retaining quality people. For example, MTW awards “Road Warrior” points to their traveling executives and often showers gifts on families of road warriors—thanking them for their sacrifices back home.
This is just one of dozens of nuggets in this week’s fast-reading book, What Were They Thinking? Unconventional Wisdom About Management, by Jeffrey Pfeffer. This Harvard Business School Press book, just out this month, is highly recommended by Jim Collins who regards Pfeffer (professor of organizational behavior at Stanford) as “one of the sparkling gems in the field of management.”
Pfeffer packs a punch in each of his 28 short chapters. He applauds “noisy complainers” who point out errors so the systemic problems will get fixed. He champions IDEO’s belief that “failing early and failing often is better than failing once, failing at the end, and failing big.” He writes, “The principle is simple—learn and fail on a small scale.”
Pfeffer’s chapter on New York’s Orpheus Chamber Orchestra will rattle your notion of leadership: there’s no leader, nor conductor! And you’ll reach for the Maalox when you read that “most people bring only about 20 percent of their talent and energy to their jobs.” Buy the book. He has some ideas for you.
Your Weekly Staff Meeting Questions:
#1. Today, let’s break into groups of four each and we’ll ask the most senior people in each group to describe what it is about our culture that encourages them to remain engaged here.
#2. How could we improve our culture so we continue to attract great talent?
The Culture Bucket: The Best Places to Work - Insights from the Management Buckets Workshop Experience
Author Jeffrey Pfeffer writes, “Culture, of course, is a relatively vague term. To be more specific, I believe that a large part of IESE’s success derives from a management approach that one often sees in companies on the ‘best places to work’ lists. That orientation proceeds from the premise that the organization is a community…” He adds, “In a community, people take care of each other.”
Do you know how your people really, really feel about your culture? In our Management Buckets workshops, we dialogue about Cause, Community and Corporation—and why your people must recognize which of the three hats you’re wearing at any given time.
Many organizations—rather than relying on anecdotal hype—turn to the annual Best Christian Places to Work program. The online survey for your employees gives you the tools to measure the health of your organization's current "core" so you can begin the transformation to a better, more effective workplace. The 2008 survey deadline is October 31, 2007. For more information, visit Best Christian Workplaces Institute.
Your Weekly Staff Meeting Questions: The Culture Bucket
#1. Let’s make a Top 10 list of reasons we might benefit from participating in the 2008 Best Christian Places to Work program.
#2. What’s the downside of participating—and are we gutsy enough to face it?