This is a good book. I recommend it to anyone with a job or a career. The book covers 5 levels of corporate culture along with suggestions on how you can help move your organization up a level or two. The funny thing is once you read this book you will see people in your organization at different levels. In addition, you will see that those people who are more influential in an organization will have a greater impact on the corporate culture than others within the organization.
(I use the term corporate not to mean a business per se; I mean a group of people with a common goal.)
- Level 1: The mood is ‘life sucks’ and the atmosphere is that of despairing hostility.
- Level 2: The mood is ‘my life sucks’ and the atmosphere is that of an apathetic victim.
- Level 3: The mood is ‘I am great and you are not’ and the atmosphere is that of a lone warrior.
- Level 4: The mood is ‘We are great and they are not’ and the atmosphere is of tribal (corporate) pride.
- Level 5: The mood is ‘Life is great’ and the atmosphere is about having a higher noble purpose.
The book gives examples of people and organizations at each of the levels. I can see in my career that I have worked for places at almost all of the levels except level 5. I also noticed that in my own life, on a personal level, I have progressed through many of these levels. Personally, I feel like I am between 4 and 5 but often find that my actions may at times dip down to level 3. I wish they made an app that could track my current level in real time. Wouldn’t that be nifty? It would change how we react and push us toward level 5.
I think one area the book should have touched on is non-profits. I can see that these pinciples are applicable for Churches, Veterans Organizations, and even government entities. The concepts of the book should be easy to extrapolate to non-profit organizations, but would have been nice to have the book cover them. I would be interested more in examples of those types of organizations and how they apply these ideas. I volunteer much of my time to Veterans’ organizations and, I have to admit, I see Veterans’ service organizations at all different levels.
This book will also make you rethink how you look for a new place of employment. Instead of looking at the money aspect (not that it is not important) you would look for employment at an organization that is at or beyond your level. For example, I would not want to work for a level 1 or 2 organization. Been there done that. I would be ok at a level 3 but I would really like to be with an organization that has a level 5 corporate culture. I say I would be ok with a level 3 only because the job market is competitive and I have living expenses to consider. The level 5 is, of course, where we would all want to be, even if we don’t know it. Everyone wants their work to have meaning and purpose. We all want our lives to have meaning and purpose. This is where we find true happiness.
In order to achieve high levels, the book talks about values and cultivating values for your corporate culture. In fact, they even discuss hiring people not only for their skills but also for their values. How many HR people evaluate a candidate’s values when they are screening applicants? One example given in the book is the team takes the candidate out for lunch and they all talk to the candidate to see if they will be a good ‘fit’.
What is interesting for me is this book has me reevaluating how I think one should look for employment and how an organization should look for candidates. It even challenges me to implement these ideas in the context of non-profits. Over all this book is good for anyone.
Take a look at Zappos Values as an example: http://about.zappos.com/our-unique-culture/zappos-core-values
The audio version of the book is available free and they have setup a companion website with additional information and supporting materials. www.triballeadership.net