The Open Culture Handbook
Five Questions to Drive Engagement and Innovation
by Drew Jones
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Pub Date 03 Oct 2023 | Archive Date 08 Jan 2024
Amplify Publishing Group, Amplify Publishing
For at least the last fifty years, corporate leaders have come to understand the importance of having a healthy company culture. Peter Drucker, the “father of management theory,” went so far as to suggest that “culture eats strategy for breakfast.”
Yet, why is managing people effectively so difficult and elusive? What is missing? And why, in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, are so many people quitting their jobs?
In The Open Culture Handbook, Drew Jones draws on twenty-five years of consulting experience and his background as a cultural anthropologist to present a simple framework for tackling the culture dilemma. The book shifts the culture conversation from abstractions and ideals to the tangible and changeable aspects of employee experience.
“Defining culture as a force of evolution reveals an underlying conceptualization of human thriving as a process of change. This is different from the organizational behavior view of culture as a static system of norms and shared values proffered by management to drive desired employee behavior through reward (incentives) and punishment (negative consequences). Dr. Jones’s more hopeful view of culture, one that emphasizes people’s natural tendencies toward growth and innovation nurtured by specific elements in the organizational environment, is fresh and compelling. The anthropological view allows us to see how culture can transform employee experience and bring out the best in employees through both individualized and collective approaches to employee need fulfillment. Jones poses five basic questions that, in their simplicity, get at the basics of why people put forth their best talents and effort, and builds a pathway through the many choices that could be made during change management to arrive at a place where management can understand what employees need to flourish. This is accomplished in an easy-to-read, concise, yet rich guide for leaders and managers. It is my hope that thoughtful consideration of the ideas put forth in this handbook will enable culture change to evolve from futility to fruition.”—Dr. Cristina Banks, Director, Interdisciplinary Center for Healthy Workplaces, University of California, Berkeley
“As a workplace design strategist, I’m interested in how design can positively impact both employee engagement and business performance. Employees who have choice in how, when, and with whom they work are more engaged than those who do not; and engaged employees drive business performance. Those organizations that encourage their people to build their own pathway to success, to experiment, learn, and grow, will reap the benefits of high performing individuals and teams. In his latest book, The Open Culture Handbook, Drew Jones provides a systematic ‘how-to’ framework for organizations to focus on inclusion and innovation to build a more sustainable culture. I look forward to working with enlightened readers of this book on their workplace.”—Dean Strombom, FAIA, Workplace Strategist
“Solving for an engaging culture and workplace? It’s not 2019 anymore. If your interior design architect doesn’t apply ethnography, then your valued team is not coming to a place where they feel belonging and engagement: profound innovation does not happen.”—David Gray, curator of the Workplace Mosh Pit and Tenant Rep CRE Broker for over a third of a century
“In The Open Culture Handbook, Drew Jones has sliced through the Gordian knot of organizational culture management that plagues the contemporary workplace, reaching new heights of complexity and angst in the post-COVID era. As a trained cultural anthropologist and deeply experienced management consultant, he has articulated a deliberate, thoughtful, easy-to-digest, and downright exciting approach to culture change, innovation, and the evolution of the employee experience that’s built to stick for one simple reason: It’s rooted in eye-opening appreciation of the real human experience. Leaders, if you’re ready to unlock the true latent potential of your workforce and your people leadership, run—don’t walk—to read this book and introduce it to your organization. It offers a pragmatic and potent path to a rewarding and sustainable win-win experience for employer and employees alike.”—Chery Farr, CEO, Signal Brand Innovation