- Hardcover: 384 pages
- Publisher: Pearson FT Press; 1 edition (August 24, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0132779781
- ISBN-13: 978-0132779784
- Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.1 x 9.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 13 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,380,742 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Culture Cycle: How to Shape the Unseen Force that Transforms Performance 1st Edition
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From the Back Cover
“Reading Jim Heskett’s book is not some vague exercise in academic idealism. It is a well-written, practical, compelling manual of how to build an enterprise that will endure for 100 years or more. You cannot afford to ignore it.”
—John C. Bogle, Founder, The Vanguard Group, and author of Enough: True Measures of Money, Business, and Life
“Jim Heskett has delivered yet another breakthrough in our understanding of how corporate cultures shape performance. If leaders take Heskett’s sound advice to heart, corporate performance will improve and trust in business can be restored.”
—Bill George, Professor of Management Practice, Harvard Business School; former Chair and CEO of Medtronic; and author of Authentic Leadership
“For those who might regard culture as an abstract, soft, perhaps ‘hippie like’ concept, Jim Heskett brings home its manifest value to both the organization and the sensibilities of its people.”
—Herb Kelleher, Executive Chairman and CEO Emeritus, Southwest Airlines Co.
“The Culture Cycle inspires leaders to start with people and shape their organizations’ cultures to drive engagement, inclusion, trust, innovation, and results. Jim Heskett has developed a new and valuable way to think about culture. This is a must read.”
—Jane Ramsey, Executive Vice President, Human Resources, Limited Brands, Inc.
“Forget the squishy fluff; this book is hardcore, rooted in the numbers that drive margin. It shows the calculations…reveals the numbers for the ‘report card’ that predicts the future success of your company, division, or department…numbers every leader should know…and few do.”
—Scott Cook, Co-Founder and Chairman of the Executive Committee, Intuit
“Jim Heskett’s is the essential handbook for today’s organizations that care about their people and are determined that theirs is an organization of the future.”
—Frances Hesselbein, President & CEO, Leader to Leader Institute (formerly the Peter F. Drucker Foundation for Nonprofit Management)
In The Culture Cycle, renowned thought leader James Heskett demonstrates how an effective culture can account for up to half of the differential in performance between organizations in the same business. A follow-up to the classic Corporate Culture and Performance (coauthored with John Kotter), this book explains how culture evolves, can be shaped and sustained, and can promote both survival and innovation in tough times.
Drawing on decades of field research and dozens of case studies, Heskett introduces a powerful conceptual framework for managing culture and demonstrates it at work in a real-world setting. Heskett’s “culture cycle” identifies policies, practices, and behaviors that are crucial to moving cultures forward and demonstrates how to calculate the economic value of culture through the “Four Rs” of referrals, retention, returns to labor, and relationships with customers.
Heskett’s insights will be invaluable to leaders, professionals, and consultants in HR, productivity, training, and operations–and for anyone seeking to optimize organizational performance.
A crisis in organizational culture?
Inflated expectations, poor experiences, or both?
How cultures are born, grow, flourish, wither, and die
From founder to failure: understanding the lifecycle of culture
Measuring and tracking the effectiveness of organizational culture
Beyond “strong” cultures to “successful” cultures
Leading cultural change
What only leaders can do–and how they can do it most effectively
About the Author
James Heskett is Baker Foundation Professor, Emeritus at Harvard University’s Business School. A leader in advancing management practice, he remains active at Harvard Business School; serves as a board member at Limited Brands; and consults with companies worldwide. Heskett has won the Council of Logistics Management’s John Drury Sheahan Award; Sales and Marketing Executives International’s Marketing Educator of the Year Award; and the American Marketing Association’s Career Contributions to the Service Discipline Award. He is author and coauthor of several books, including Corporate Culture and Performance (with John P. Kotter); The Value Profit Chain (with W. Earl Sasser, Jr. and Leonard A Schlesinger); and The Ownership Quotient (with Sasser and Joe Wheeler).
Top customer reviews
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Steps in The Culture Cycle
The book's main framework is a circular diagram following these steps:
1. Mission, Shared Assumptions, and Values -- Alignment with Strategies and Methods of Execution
2. Setting Expectations
3. Behaviors Consistent with Shared Assumptions and Values
4. Expectations (e.g. leadership, recognition, job opportunity, personal development)
5. Core Phenomena (Trust, Engagement, and Ownership)
6. Policies, Practices, and Behaviors (e.g. self-direction, accountability, transparency, collaboration)
7. Organization Learning (e.g. continuous improvement, adaptability, agility, and speed)
8. Results (Four Rs, innovation, growth, and profitability)
Steps 2 - 4 are labeled "Causes (less visible)" and steps 6 - 8 "Effects (More Visible)." Step 1 is at the top of the cycle and both the beginning and the end -- or beginning of the next turn of the cycle. Step 5 is at a halfway point and bridges causes to effects.
The "Four Rs" of Step 8 are "the results of an effective culture can be (but rarely are) documented and tracked:
Referrals: A higher proportion of potential employees recommended by current or former employees.
Retention: Lower recruiting, hiring, training, and lost productivity costs because of greater employee loyalty.
Returns to labor: Greater productivity per dollar of compensation.
Relationships: Better customer relationships, resulting in greater loyalty, lower customer acquisition costs, and more sales."
The Culture Cycle's organization and bent leans towards the academic. Although it provides a framework, it's not really a how-to book. The Four Rs for measuring culture are the books' strongest contribution. The steps of the Culture Cycle are very helpful and align extremely well with our decades of experience using similar approaches with dozens of Clients.
Heskett does a great job of showing how culture is critical to organizational success and providing powerful and highly illuminating examples. But his application of the Culture Cycle steps are vague, confusing, and often veer into generalizations. Having written two books on leading high performance cultures (Firing on all Cylinders: The Service/Quality System for High-Powered Corporate Performance and Pathways to Performance: A Guide to Transforming Yourself, Your Team, and Your Organization) and produced detailed how-to workbooks, I am clearly biased.
The chapter on "Leading Culture Change" has some very useful nuggets -- especially on measuring and monitoring. Heskett uses his Culture Cycle model to prescribe the role of leadership. It's a good start and outline of many of the key issues. But this chapter needs lots more detailed how-to steps for executives and support professionals to follow.
Here are a few of his conclusions that are especially critical to "predicting the effectiveness of efforts to lead culture change:"
- "Effective leadership often involves delegating responsibilities and authority. But one responsibility that can't be delegated completely is reshaping and maintaining an effective culture â¦ leaders personally act out the values and behaviors â¦ they do it consistently.
- Necessary changes in behaviors have to be modeled from the top. They can, however, be reinforced through such things as performance evaluations placing as much emphasis on 'managing by the values' as 'making the numbers.'
- Broad involvement in shaping shared values and behaviors helps ensure the effective implementation of the change.
- Culture change that reflects or accommodates changes in strategy and methods of execution has the best chance of success.
- (Leaders) assign 'believers' as change agents and replace 'nonbelievers' early in the process.
- (Leaders) form a 'contract' with employees that specify expectations of all parties.
- They preserve the culture through everyday behaviors, measurement, and timely corrective actions, beginning with managers exhibiting behaviors that run counter to the values."
I very much enjoyed The Culture Cycle. The combination of field and secondary research, examples, and pithy quotations/comments makes this an engaging and very useful book. It's a great addition to the field of organizational culture change/renewal.
Heskett does a great job not only defining what culture is and discussing approaches to establish a positive culture - but also in quantifying the value of a positive culture.
Highly recommended for those who are blessed with an opportunity to influence the culture within their business (that is: everyone who is working in a business!)
Performance is tied to perception. The key to successful performance is culture + strategy + execution. Context is also mentioned as part of strategy.
The table of context is very detailed and a great tool for finding information fast. Each chapter begins with a question then moves to anecdotal evidence. Then there is some informal research and speculation. The chapters are capped with the final summary of what was just said. This summary can be a short cut for busy people looking for specific information.
The key to understanding and evaluating the model (chapter six) Haskett proposes is the "Four R's." (referrals, retention, returns to labor, relationships) They are considered to be the results of a strong culture. Yes, Heskett admits they (the entire book actually) are arbitrary (and anecdotal) and not based on scientific research.
After the model is introduced there are a series of interesting chapters on culture and how it interacts with innovation (chapter 8), adversity (chapter 9), globalization (chapter 10), mission (chapter 11), and forces that challenge organization culture (chapter 12).
That leaves with the final question. How does one lead... navigate the opportunities and proposals in this book? That is found in chapter 13.
If you are willing to accept the theoretical, anecdotal, and subjective nature of a speculative book then do not pass on this one. The observations may be anecdotal but they are keen. Kick the tires, give it a spin. Heskett may be prophetic or not... either way it is a deeply thought provoking read.
Most recent customer reviews
Book is written well with ability to keep the reader interested in the many topics.
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