Sourced by our Culture Geek community and updated throughout the year, here are our recommendations for top-rated workplace culture books that inspire, spark conversation, and provide practical tools to implement culture change within your organization.
Top Workplace Culture Books
by Andre Martin, Ph.D.
How do we make work feel less like work? What if the issue isn't good or bad culture, but the fit between our ideal way of working day-to-day and that of the companies we join. If we fit, we hum, we connect, we create momentum and do our best work with grace and ease. But wrong fit has serious consequences. It can erode performance, drive up frustration, and steal our competence and confidence.
The good news is, there is a way forward. And it's as simple as crafting the right fit.
Wrong Fit, Right Fit is for both talent and companies who are looking to build more energy and commitment in the day-to-day. Now is the time to boost engagement, inspiration, well-being, and meaning in the work we do. Now is the time to find a greater return in value for ourselves and our organizations. Now is the time to find right fit.
by Gary Hamel and Michelle Zanini
In a world of unrelenting change and unprecedented challenges, we need organizations that are resilient and daring.
Unfortunately, most organizations, overburdened by bureaucracy, are sluggish and timid. In the age of upheaval, top-down power structures and rule-choked management systems are a liability. They crush creativity and stifle initiative. As leaders, employees, investors, and citizens, we deserve better. We need organizations that are bold, entrepreneurial, and as nimble as change itself. Hence this book.
In Humanocracy, Gary Hamel and Michele Zanini make a passionate, data-driven argument for excising bureaucracy and replacing it with something better. Drawing on more than a decade of research and packed with practical examples, Humanocracy lays out a detailed blueprint for creating organizations that are as inspired and ingenious as the human beings inside them.
by Daniel Coyle
Where does great culture come from? How do you build and sustain it in your group, or strengthen a culture that needs fixing?
In The Culture Code, Daniel Coyle goes inside some of the world’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 explains how diverse groups learn to function with a single mind. Drawing on examples that range from Internet retailer Zappos to the comedy troupe Upright Citizens Brigade to a daring gang of jewel thieves, 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.
by Siobhan McHale
From disengaged employees to underserved customers, business failures invariably stem from a culture problem. In The Insider’s Guide to Culture Change, acclaimed culture transformation expert and global executive Siobhan McHale shares her proven four-step process to demystifying culture transformation and starting down the path to positive change, including how to:
The Insider’s Guide to Culture Change walks readers through McHale’s four-step process to culture transformation, including how to:
Understand what “corporate culture” really is and how it impacts every aspect of the way your organization operates
Analyze where your culture is broken or not adding maximum value
Unlock the power of reframing roles within your company to empower and engage your employees
Utilize proven methods and tools to break through deeply embedded patterns and change your company mind-set
Keep the momentum going by consolidating gains and maintaining your foot on the change accelerator
by Pamela Fuller, Mark Murphy, and Anne Chow
Ideal for every manager who wants to understand and move past their own preconceived ideas, The Leader’s Guide to Unconscious Bias explains that bias is the result of mental shortcuts, our likes and dislikes, and is a natural part of the human condition. And what we assume about each other and how we interact with one another has vast effects on our organizational success - especially in the workplace. Teaching you how to overcome unconscious bias, this book provides more than 30 unique tools, such as a list of ways to reframe your unconscious thoughts.
According to the experts at FranklinCovey, your workplace can achieve its highest performance rate once you start to overcome your biases and allow your employees to be whole people. By recognizing bias, emphasizing empathy and curiosity, and making true understanding a priority in the workplace, we can unlock the potential of every person we encounter.
by James Clear
If you're having trouble changing your habits, the problem isn't you. The problem is your system. Bad habits repeat themselves again and again not because you don't want to change, but because you have the wrong system for change. You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems. Here, you'll get a proven system that can take you to new heights.
James Clear is known for his ability to distill complex topics into simple behaviors that can be easily applied to daily life and work. He draws on the most proven ideas from biology, psychology, and neuroscience to create an easy-to-understand guide for making good habits inevitable and bad habits impossible. Along the way, readers will be inspired and entertained with true stories from Olympic gold medalists, award-winning artists, business leaders, life-saving physicians, and star comedians who have used the science of small habits to master their craft and vault to the top of their field.
Atomic Habits will reshape the way you think about progress and success, and give you the tools and strategies you need to transform your habits--whether you are a team looking to win a championship, an organization hoping to redefine an industry, or simply an individual who wishes to quit smoking, lose weight, reduce stress, or achieve any other goal.
by Patrick Lencioni
For twenty years, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team has been engaging audiences with a page-turning, realistic fable that follows the travails of Kathryn Petersen, DecisionTech’s CEO, as she faces the ultimate leadership crisis. She must unite a team in such disarray that it threatens to derail the entire company.
Equal parts leadership fable and business handbook, this definitive source on teamwork by Patrick Lencioni reveals the five behavioral tendencies that go to the heart of why even the best teams struggle. He offers a powerful model and step-by-step guide for overcoming those dysfunctions and getting every one rowing in the same direction.
by Gustavo Razzetti
Hybrid and remote work is here to stay. What will it take for your company to succeed in the new normal?
While most companies have struggled to keep their culture alive remotely since the pandemic, some are successfully riding the waves of the future. To the outside observer, it seems like they were lucky. In reality, building a workplace culture strong enough to thrive at a distance doesn't happen by chance, but by design.
In this practical, meticulously researched book, top culture thought leader Gustavo Razzetti provides a roadmap to understand, adapt to, and succeed in a hybrid workplace. Razzetti has spent years investigating the leading edges of this revolution, including Amazon, Slack, GitLab, Volvo, and Microsoft, to name just a few.
Remote Not Distant provides actionable tools for senior leaders, managers, and team members. It addresses multiple areas of culture, from keeping your team engaged and improving remote communication to managing conflict, facilitating courageous conversations, and unleashing innovation.
by Kevin Grossman and Adela Schoolderman
Candidate Experience discusses why talent acquisition is more than just recruitment and provides expert guidance on all the key phases of the experience: attraction, application, interviewing, offer and onboarding. There is clear explanation of how to use data, metrics and KPIs to track and measure candidate experience as well as essential coverage of how to excel at recruitment in a post-Covid world from remote interviewing to surge hiring and identifying the new skills a company needs to thrive. This book takes a strategic approach to candidate experience and offers advice on how to deal with business resistance whether this is due to cost, time, regulation or perceived value.
Supported by insights from more than 10 years of research in the area from over 1,200 companies and over 1.25 million candidates, practical tools such as a business impact calculator and case studies from organizations including AT&T, Walgreens and Deluxe, this is essential reading for all those responsible for acquiring and engaging the talent the business needs to succeed.
by Lisa Bodell
Imagine what you could do with the time you spend writing emails every day. Complexity is killing companies' ability to innovate and adapt, and simplicity is fast becoming the competitive advantage of our time. Why Simple Wins helps leaders and their teams move beyond the feelings of frustration and futility that come with so much unproductive work in today's corporate world to create a corporate culture where valuable, essential, meaningful work is the norm. By learning how to eliminate redundancies, communicate with clarity, and make simplification a habit, individuals and companies can begin to recognize which activities are time-sucks and which create lasting value.
This book is inspired by Bodell's passion for eliminating barriers to innovation and productivity. In it, she explains why change and innovation are so hard to achieve--and it's not what you might expect. The reality is this: we spend our days drowning in mundane tasks like meetings, emails, and reports. These are often self-created complexities that prevent us from getting to the meaningful work that truly matters. Using simple stories and techniques, Why Simple Wins shows that by using simplicity as an operating principle, we can eliminate the busy work that puts a chokehold on us every day, and instead spend time on the work that we value.
by Ben Horowitz
What You Do Is Who You Are explains how to make your culture purposeful by spotlighting four models of leadership and culture-building – the leader of the only successful slave revolt, Haiti’s Toussaint Louverture; the Samurai, who ruled Japan for seven hundred years and shaped modern Japanese culture; Genghis Khan, who built the world’s largest empire; and Shaka Senghor, an American ex-con who created the most formidable prison gang in the yard and ultimately transformed prison culture.
What You Do Is Who You Are is a journey through culture, from ancient to modern. Along the way, it answers a question fundamental to any organization: who are we?
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