With A Combined 75 Years of Experience, Authors Moussa, Newberry, and Urban Provide Cutting Edge Solutions That Nurture Engagement, Innovation, and Growth
“Whether you are trying to execute a bold new strategy, make your business more agile and creative, or pull off a major acquisition, culture will make or break your efforts. But culture baffles even the smartest leaders. All too often, they assume it will take care of itself. Yet it never does,” warn experts Mario Moussa, Derek Newberry, and Greg Urban in their new book THE CULTURE PUZZLE (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, June 22, 2021). The three authors draw on their 75 years of combined experience as anthropologists, professors, and business consultants to help leaders solve the puzzle and create healthy, productive workplaces.
What is culture? It’s a process of learning and adaptation that begins when any group of people—a “tribe,” as the authors put it—comes together to get things done. Tribes are everywhere: work friends, teams, companies, associations, and nations. The authors urge leaders to cultivate culture the same way they would grow a garden.
The Four Forces that drive culture – vision, interests, habits, and innovation – function like the natural forces of soil, water, and sunlight, combining to produce a thriving, diverse organization.
The guidance provided throughout THE CULTURE PUZZLE can be applied by leaders at any level of an organization – from global CEOs to team captains, managers, and supervisors, and even small business owners. The authors support their advice with dozens of examples from corporate America as well as stories about a wide range of characters including athletes, social reformers, rogues, scientists, novelists, and business executives, all of whom illustrate “the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to culture.”. According to General Stanley McChrystal, author of Team of Teams, this book is “a must-read for leaders who want to understand how their organization actually works – and why.”
THE CULTURE PUZZLE dedicates chapters to each of the Four Forces and uses stories to reveal how they shape workplaces in settings as varied Fortune 500 companies, sports teams, and small start-ups. Throughout, New Yorker cartoonist Kendra Allenby illustrates the living, pulsing energy behind people going about their business and trying to get ahead:
Moussa, Newberry, and Urban also help readers assess the health of their organizations’ culture. By using the proprietary “Culture Evaluator” tool, they will discover which aspects of their company culture need attention. Critical questions include:
1. Envision. Does your organization’s culture embrace a clear and compelling vision?
2. Listen. Do your leaders invite and listen closely to the stories people tell about their essential interests: relationships, achievement, and purpose?
3. Reflect. Do your leaders engage in constructive dialogues with everyone in the organization about aligning the desired culture with people’s needs in order to create new habits?
4. Experiment. Do you consistently organize and launch innovative small-scale projects designed to harness the controlled chaos of innovation?
Based on the authors’ extensive field research and real-world experience. THE CULTURE PUZZLE will help readers build the kinds of companies that serve all stakeholders and thrive amid constant transformation. As Annie McKee, author of Primal Leadership says, “Through riveting story-telling and insight into human motivation, this book will help you build a culture that will support people—and your business—to be able to soar to new heights.” The Culture Puzzle offers the definitive playbook for creating healthy, successful companies
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About the authors
Mario Moussa is president of Moussa Consulting and an Affiliated Faculty member in the College of Liberal and Professional Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. His work has been featured on NPR and in Time, Businessweek, U.S. News and World Report, Fortune, Forbes, Inc., Entrepreneur, the Economist, and the Financial Times. He is the co-author of the bestseller The Art of Woo and Committed Teams. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago’s Committee on Social Thought.
Derek Newberry is an organizational development consultant and an Affiliated Faculty member in the College of Liberal and Professional Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. His work has appeared in Fortune, Entrepreneur, Forbes, Quartz, and the Philadelphia Inquirer. He is the co-author of Committed Teams. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago.
Greg Urban is the Arthur Hobson Quinn Professor of Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania and the current editor of the Journal of Business Anthropology. He has authored and edited several books, including Metaculture and Corporations and Citizenship. He received his PhD from the University of Pennsylvania.