The day has finally arrived and I can't wait for you to see this book! I HAVE LOTS TO SHARE:
Check out a sample chapter. The Kindle version of the book is available now for immediate reading! For those that want a hard copy through Amazon, we are *out of stock* but you can still order.
Thanks to Linda Naiman of Creativity At Work, Culture Your Culture is featured on Inc.com. Take a look! While you are at it, read her other posts as well. They're all great!
On this special day, I have some thoughts. Keep reading.
Who Cares? Why Should Anyone Care?
Well, I hope some people do. That’s because this book was written as a humble contribution toward making work-life meaningful for everyone. It was born out of a frustration that too many work cultures have been blamed for corporate scandals, too many are unhappy in their current employment when they don’t have to be, and too many businesses fall short because they fail to maximize the potential in their people. Another pet peeve: all those companies that tout the importance of culture with words, not actions. We know we can do better, because there are examples out there of companies that do. Some of us have been lucky enough to experience our best jobs ever, if only temporarily. The strength of a business is determined by its people, and creating workplaces where they thrive is every organization’s responsibility. Design of Work Experience (DOWE), as explained in this book, provides the much-needed step by step, how-to for creating exemplary cultures and experiences at work. If people and culture are important to your organization, then you should care.
Tell Me More About the Book
I spent a lot of time writing it, so I’ll just share the description you’ll see on Amazon:
Organizational culture isn't just a hot topic-it's an untapped asset and potential liability for all businesses. And yet, for all its potential to make or break, few know how to manage cultures with proficiency. Culture Your Culture: Innovating Experiences @Work provides the much-needed "how-to" with Design of Work Experience (DOWE). Tapping into human-centered design, interdisciplinary innovation concepts, and other research, this leading edge approach partners employees and their employers in unprecedented ways to co-create solutions and differentiating experiences that are customized, relevant, and profoundly impactful to the organizations for which they are intended-all while building employee engagement, learning agility, and capability.
Be open to changing mindsets, for this is not your typical business book. Part-business case, part-instructional, and part-commentary, the guidance offered here puts your organization--not some detached case studies-at the center to envision how DOWE can help you design solutions and experiences unique to your context. Culture will no longer be esoteric or intangible, but overt, meaningful, fully leveraged, and truly experienced. No more hacking through trial and error to a culture that lacks sustainability. We can practice the management of culture and organizational change through lived experiences, with intention, rigor, and discipline.
Leaders, managers, teams, and employees alike will benefit from understanding the need for this approach, how it's defined, why it works, and what to do to successfully tackle business challenges and positively influence lives with this innovative model-if you are willing to do the work to get there.
I Want to Know More about DOWE
As an introduction, the DOWE process is comprised of four main components: the combination of DESIGN and CHANGE enabled by CAPABILITY and ENGAGEMENT. Those are further broken down into 5 key phases (UNDERSTAND, CREATE & LEARN, DECIDE, PLAN, and IMPLEMENT). Every phase is organized as a series of iterative learning loops, each with its own specific set of activities that reflect the nonlinear, but progressive nature of the process.
Here’s an overview:
The best way to really get to know DOWE is to do it, but reading the book’s a good start.
A Bit More About Myself (If You Don’t Know Me)
I went to Bryn Mawr for my undergraduate degree in Ethnic and Culture Studies, then Columbia University’s Organization and Leadership program for a MA in Social Organizational Psychology. My career spans 20 years. I enjoyed success as a corporate executive before pursuing a ‘portfolio career’ comprised of research, writing, consulting, teaching/speaking, and creative pursuits. I’ve worked across multiple industries and developed, led, and implemented numerous organizational initiatives around the globe. I worked hard to be a strategic leader who gets things done. Today, I’m an East Coast transplant to Silicon Valley (via Ireland and the Midwest) and am principal of Co.-Design of Work Experience, where I enable organizations with innovative approaches and customized solutions for intimidating challenges. Focus areas include culture, organizational change, and people strategies.
What I Put Into It
Everything. All of me. My knowledge, my experience, my passion, my research—even my personal life—my family gets a lot of credit for this too. Writing a book has been the longest, hardest project of my entire career. It required a degree of persistence that I never expected (nor realized I had). The project had many starts and stops, some of which frustrated me to no end. At times it felt like almost everything that could go wrong, did. I’m not a patient person to begin with, and I was forced to be (painfully) patient. This manuscript went through countless versions and edits. I worked with two different publishers and 6 different editors over the course of 4 years. This book has been through the wringer so that the best version is available for its readers.
What I Need From You
Help me put some good out into the world.
Check out the book. Reach out to me. Tell people about it. Consider a DOWE initiative.
Thanks for reading and joining me on this journey!
I'm actually writing and back dating this two weeks after the fact because it has taken me this long to actually realize and come to terms with this milestone (add business travel last week too). On April 29, 2015, I passed in my entire manuscript to my publisher. What a grueling, yet meaningful experience. A book project is a lot harder than I thought it was going to be, but one I would always encourage others to try. The last six months of working sometimes six, sometimes seven days a week is what it took to get the job done. Day-to-day progress seemed slow but somehow each chapter was completed in its due course. There's still a lot more work to do--editing through all the board reviews, graphics, appendix, endnotes, index, etc...They all seem much less overwhelming now that the manuscript is submitted. I'm not big about celebrating my own personal accomplishments, but this post is one way to do it. Since I have shared so much of this writing journey with you, the least I could do was to finish it. Breathing a huge sigh of relief now, hopefully not too prematurely!
So true. Learning this lesson (again) serves as a great reminder. As much as people want to see and know where things are going, there is no way to appreciate certain journeys until you've experienced them first-hand. There is no denying that learning by doing is profound. As I quoted one of my clients in the book, "I don't think any amount of preparation ahead of time would have made a difference. We couldn't know how deep it was going to go until we got there."
The challenge with all iteration, regardless of topic or application, is persistence. This doesn't come easy to anyone, me included. I do it because I know it is a key differentiator--it increases the chances of success. The majority of everyone else will opt out early. I suppose that's why marketing calls it "satisficing" since requires some sort of sacrifice on one's part. Choose your poison: either sacrifice your comfort level, or sacrifice the potential result. I choose the former in favor of (hopefully) better results. Will you join me?
I've been documenting "moments" of my writing process as a personal ethnography of sorts. For me, the process has been just as important as the book itself will be. I consider myself a lifelong learner--and I've learned so much about research, writing, the publishing process, and even myself. The typing of the keyboard has forced me to organize and hone my thoughts, and the iterative process has given me lots and lots of practice. What a great personal development opportunity this has been. This pic is one of my favorites so far--it reminds me that you can't always choose the moments that ideas come to you. Sometimes it comes in the middle of the night, and I had better take advantage of getting them down because it won't be there in the morning! Having coached others to take opportunities at seemingly inopportune moments, I am happily eating my own advice.
As you may know, I'm working on a book to be published with Columbia University Press. I'm feeling the pressure of the deadline as I grasp the enormity of this project. I've been quite comfortable writing when I was a student, but working as an author has been quite a different experience. I care so much more this time and I feel that what I have to communicate is so important. This is what I'm sure will make it all worthwhile. On my toughest days, I rely on Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird and her words on $hitty First Drafts for inspiration. I also shared this with a client when it became clear that some of their strategy plans needed a "try again". No need to be discouraged or disappointed. It's all about iterating toward something better. This is true for writing a book, design, most experiences, and life in general. From time to time, I will document my writing process here in the hopes that it will be helpful to all the aspiring writers out there.
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