“This book will challenge the perspective of any leader who thinks culture will automatically be what they want it to be.”
Mark Aslett, Chief Executive Officer, Mercury Systems
Corporate culture -- the concept -- is badly in need of disrupting.
The last 30 years of cognitive science shows us much of what we know about culture in business is based on myth, wishful thinking, outdated science, or is just plain wrong.
Cognitive science explains why—
- Culture doesn’t “start at the top” (although transformation does need committed leaders)
- Culture doesn’t cause us to do anything (although it is pervasive)
- Culture is not how employees feel, or their attitudes (usually these are reactions to culture)
- Corporate values are not the same as culture (unless employees already hold those values)
- Culture shaping in global organizations is daunting (we mistake parroting for buy-in)
Disrupting Corporate Culture is a groundbreaking, practical book that shows (finally) how to realize the power of culture as a transformational, self-sustaining competitive resource. It will change how you think about and work with culture, bridging the gap between the latest science and practice. It will provide you with a comprehensive framework that links everyday business practices with the mental operating systems that govern culture at the core of every organization.
What We Know is Woefully Inadequate to Deal with What’s Coming
The new science of culture changes almost everything we thought we knew about culture, and this matters now more than ever. This is because every industry on the planet is or will soon be fundamentally disrupted by digital technology, artificial intelligence, robotics, human-machine interfaces, and related technologies. These technologies are already or will soon transform every aspect of our lives, from how we live, communicate, work, travel, eat, buy, love, and on. The convergence of chip and sensor-enabled devices — from jet engines to coffee makers to a cow’s vital signs — with cheap computer processors powering machine learning algorithms, so-called “ubiquitous computing”, are putting enormous pressure on traditional sources of corporate earnings as value is transferred directly to consumers and end users. Advanced technologies enable companies to forge into adjacent markets or invent entirely new markets, allowing, for example, legacy industrial manufacturers to offer digital platforms for predictive analytics, or tech to companies to become global transportation, supply chain and logistics juggernauts. These forays are already eating into the profits of legacy players and changing entire value chains, forever reshaping traditional industries and altering who makes money and what share of the pie they capture. The slow, risk averse, unimaginative, and inefficient are now, or will soon be left behind, competing for scraps.
Culture is the Governor of Change
What this means for managers and practitioners is that you are on the front lines of corporate transformation like never before. As organizations try to position themselves to take advantage of digital transformation and all it implies, they are running headlong into that invisible wall called culture. Culture governs change. It is the great enabler or limiter, that hidden force that can empower or derail the most well thought-out corporate transformation. Companies who understand this and can wisely harness culture as a resource will be more likely to survive the tsunami of the 4th Industrial Revolution. Those that can’t will be left behind. Of course, pundits have been saying this for decades since culture first came into mass consciousness in the early 1980s. The problem is the data suggests most of what we have been doing with culture in all of that time hasn’t worked. Moreover, corporate and societal transformation of this magnitude has not been seen since the development of mass production, the second Industrial Revolution. Culturally speaking, transforming a 100 year old industrial company into a digital platform, or an internet commerce company into an airline (and such), is, as they say, non-trivial. It is impossible without a much better understanding of how culture actually works, and why…
…The cognitive science of culture is a game-changer. Not because of any single idea (other than culture has a neurochemical basis in the brain, a notion that isn’t radical given the popularity of neuroscience in mainstream media). The game change is what it all means. Where culture comes from; what it consists of as “source code” and an “operating system”; how pervasive it is; how to distinguish cultural signals from cultural noise; how to intervene at cultural root cause rather than symptom; how to make interventions sustainable; all of this is what changes the game. This book presents a framework where all of this is understood and leveraged.