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Change the Culture, Change the Game: The Breakthrough Strategy for Energizing Your Organization and Creating Accounta bility for Results Hardcover – January 4, 2011
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This is a review of Change the Culture, Change the Game: The Breakthrough Strategy for Energizing Your Organization and Creating Accountability for Results, by Roger Connors and Tom Smith. The target audience of the book is business professionals interested in developing a culture of accountability within an organization. In my opinion the strengths of this book are few, though conceptually the authors propose a foundational, though rudimentary, structure describing how one might go about inciting cultural change. That said, there are too many weaknesses to justify suffering through the long winded “real-life” examples that compose the bulk of most chapters; specifically the outdated concepts that are the core of the material presented, the oversimplification of the information’s utility as applicable to all business cultures, and the incessant lists, methods and systems the authors advertise as essential to the process of instilling a culture of accountability. There are so many better choices in this field of study that I cannot comfortably recommend the book; not even as foundational reference material.
• Who is the book written for?
The book is written in such a way that makes me suspect that the authors were providing high level leaders something to distribute among their subordinate managers as required reading when approaching the topic of change management through cultural development. Therefore, I was not surprised at the many customer reviews stating that they were, in fact, encouraged by a manager or boss to give it a read and explain the large brush strokes to their direct reports and teams. Of course, the publishing company, hoping to sell a copy to every business person on the planet, touts it as useful material to the everyman business person who desires to instill the virtue of accountability in the souls of their organizations.
• Specific Strengths of the Book
I believe that Change the Culture, Change the Game would be best suited as an introductory read for managers within an organization that has become so stagnant in their culture that they require immediate and drastic alterations to abate disaster. It presents some basic concepts and fills in the blanks with descriptive, though, as previously stated, long winded, allegory that fail to construct a complete plan of action. This being the case, one would expect that it might spark an interest in some of its audience and encourage them to look deeper into the topics presented, thereby becoming the initial stepping stone that might provide a manager the tools necessary to understand and effect real change in an organization’s culture.
• Specific Weaknesses of the Book
The material presented is dated, and as far from the forefront in the field of organizational behavior as VHS tape is to media delivery methodology. I was extremely disappointed to find that the 2012 edition didn’t add fundamentally to the original printing of the book in 2001, even though so much progress has been made in this field in the past decade. I very much dislike books that present themselves as ‘the’ authority on a topic, promising innovative techniques and cutting edge strategic insights, but deliver nothing more than a regurgitation of outmoded information. I found the recommendations of the authors to be elementary, effectively cookie-cuttering something as complex and unique as an organization’s corporate culture into a one-size-fits-all pyramid of buzz-word ubiquity.
• What Other Reviewers Have Said for and Against the Book and Your Reply
As one would expect, the majority of reviews on Amazon.com are generally positive, some of which appear to be contrived by those who stood to benefit from book sales. However, I did notice that in many of the positive reviews, my sentiments were echoed in part or in their entirety, but for whatever reason, the reviewer still gave the book the coveted 5 star rating. The 1 star ratings seemed more sincere and in line with my own experience. The endorsements pages within the book itself ~ 4 pages of praise from renowned business leaders and industry heavy hitters comprise the first 4 pages of the text~ are all resoundingly positive and recommend it highly as a must read. Then again the publisher wouldn’t have been doing a very good job of marketing the product had they used anything but the shiny polished ones, therefore I discount them wholeheartedly. And finally, the initial 2001 edition received recognition as both a New York Times and Wall Street Journal Best Seller. Frankly, way back then, I might have personally helped them achieve that standing.
Though I would not recommend this particular book, I feel that this is a continuously evolving and exciting field of study with value and practical application to every organization, large and small. Therefore, I might suggest that people start where I did in my journey of behavioral discovery, and read anything written by John Kotter; starting with the revamped edition of Leading Change, while being sure not to miss The Heart of Change: Real-Life Stories of How People Change Their Organizations, or Our Iceberg Is Melting: Changing and Succeeding under Any Conditions all of which available on Amazon.com. Save a tree and buy them used.
P.S. This pairs real nicely with 4DX!
Learn and prosper.