HOW STRONGLY I RECOMMEND IT: 7/10
HOW LIKELY I WILL GIFT IT: 2/10
📖 The Book in 3 Sentences
- A leader's story and learnings about creating a culture in a company as a CEO.
- Creating culture is difficult and consists of many failures and learnings.
- Culture reflects leadership: if you want to change the culture, start changing yourself; the rest will be easier.
🙋 Who Should Read It?
Leaders who are willing to change their culture at work and who don't know where to start.
Leaders who are looking for new ideas to implement while creating a culture in their organizations.
☘️ How The Book Changed Me
💡 How my life/behavior/thoughts/ideas have changed as a result of reading the book.
The book didn't change me, but it planted a few ideas in my head, which is what I usually expect from any book. I learned a few ways to express my already-in-place thoughts and started thinking about my values.
🎩 My Top 3 Quotes
- "Sharing is caring."
- "To find your core values as a leader, think about them and ask yourself why they are your core values. The stories should pour out one after another, and if so, you found them."
- "Culture Reflects Leadership."
📣What is Worth Doing Wrong by Arnie Malham About?
Arnie Malham is the founder of cj Advertising, which focuses on advertising for Personal Injury Lawyers (such a tiny niche). During the book, Malham acknowledges business is hard many times. While this is true, the challenges that make the business hard is tied to culture. Many companies don't care about their culture, and in the end, they create an environment where nobody is happy, and the business has multiple problems.
In the book, Malham talks about what they did specifically to change the culture in cj Advertising. They changed the culture with many small steps, not with one big jump. What we know about small steps is that they usually work. Because when you take the wrong step, it's easier to take it back. That's exactly what they did.
Making it wrong to make it right is the message of the book. Take steps to create a culture. You will make many mistakes but never stop. cj Advertising looks like a great company to work for, and it's clear from this book that caring about the people and the culture eventually leads to success, even if the company's target user base is so tiny and addresses only one niche.
🌟 My Review
The language of "we are awesome" is so strong, and it's not the way I enjoy the content. I understand that you have to stay strong and advertise what you have done. However, it's too much for me.
I didn't learn something big and new from the book, but it gave me the words to express what I already knew. There are some books, like Worth Doing Wrong, that you need to read to learn how to express your knowledge and experience.
One thing that was new for me was thinking about how we define the values of a company. Many companies put their values on their walls, but nobody knows how they became the company values, and there are no stories around them. (Find more information about values under notes.)
If you are looking for ideas to change your culture or have no idea where to start, this book is worth looking at. I wouldn't read cover to cover but start with reading the first two chapters as a whole to understand how you can skim through the rest. Also, the book is a short one; the limited hardcover version that I've has 113 pages.
📝 Summary, Notes, and Personal Thoughts
Seven Commandments to Build a Culture to smash business goals:
- Respect your employees.
- Invest in your employees.
- Embrace top-down core values.
- Hire for culture.
- Generate unavoidable culture.
- Do it wrong, make it better, get it right.
- Never give up.
Respect Your Employees
Monthly morale surveys with one straightforward question are a good way to understand how everyone is doing. Creating a culture of openness starts with listening to people and addressing their problems.
If you do a morale survey, read every comment and answer all the questions and comments without skipping a thing. While reading answers to the survey, have your leadership team with you; never read alone. You will feel frustration, maybe even anger. People around you will keep you on track.
Keep the survey simple and publish the results, comments, and answers publicly.
Sharing is caring.
Respect your employees by giving them what they need; equipment, the best chair, devices, and information. Be transparent and don't hide information. Otherwise, people will hear things (wrong things) and will impact many decisions and morale without you noticing.
Respect + transparency = Trust
Invest In Your Employees
Grow your employees. If they are not growing, your company is not growing as well.
Don't just send them to conferences, seminars, and webinars. Don't tell them to read books. If you're not leading by example, no one will follow.
You need to invest in it. Really put money and give awards to the people who grow.
BetterBookClub.com was born with paying people when they have read a book. It's very successful and not a lot of money for a small-to-mid-size company.
Whenever you have an initiative, don't take everything on your own shoulders. Assign one person to let them own the work and work it through. As a leader, only involve yourself when they need you. Assigning a person to a work/initiative is a great way to grow your employees. They have to manage tasks and people and align different people and work. Empower them to take their jobs to the next level. They should make decisions, not you.
Embrace Top-Down Core Values
Have your core values applied top-down, not bottom-up. Having core values is not something that changes every year; they are there and will stay there. You can't change them every five years.
To find your core values as a leader of the company, think about them and ask yourself why they are your core values. The stories should pour out one after another. If so, you found them. Tell your values with these stories. Don't just put your values on a wall. Explain why they are your values, and tell the stories behind them. In this way, your values will stick.
Hire for Culture
When hiring new people, first look at the cultural fit, then the competencies. When doing cultural fit interviews, group candidates together in 6-8 people. Put them in a room and ask questions, starting from simple icebreaker questions to more detailed questions related to the role.
Candost's Comment: Now, this made me think about why we hire in 1:1 interviews where team communication skills are one of the most significant points for hiring a person or not. In tech, we do all interviews in a 1:1 fashion or 1:many fashion. How about many:many? As people will work in teams, they should be interviewed in teams.
Do It Wrong, Make It Better, Get It Right, Never Give Up
The idea of learning from mistakes comes from many directions. Making it wrong to make it right is another way of saying the same thing.
As a leader, you cannot make it without culture. "Culture Reflects Leadership."
And as a leader, you'll make many mistakes. You will rarely get something on the first try. You'll fail, but it's essential to fail and take the learning out. Keep going. You cannot take a step and stop.