I have been following the work of Grant McCracken for a while and have yet to be disappointed.    McCracken is an anthropologist that studies culture in organizations and has taught at MIT, Harvard and is a visiting scholar at the University of Cambridge. Following his previous work Chief Culture Officer in 2011, his latest book on Culture is just as informative and more importantly, for summer reading, entertaining. Culturematic is about making an ingenuity engine that drives performance – something sorely needed in this economy. For emerging producers of culture, this book serves as a digital guide to the territory. For traditional producers of culture – hopefully the book will act as a source of inspiration. How to manage innovation from the C-suite? This book provides some welcome guidelines for creating a culture of innovation.  If you want to get ahead of your competition, the most secret sauce of competitive advantage is your culture. McCracken shows you both why and how. He blogs extensively at culture on the intersection points between anthropology and economics.  Worth checking out.

Culturematic: How Reality TV, John Cheever, a Pie Lab, Julia Child, Fantasy Football . . . Will Help You Create and Execute Breakthrough Ideas

Built on Values

Interested in creating a corporate culture that outperforms your competition?  Ann Rhoades has shared her experience with companies such as JetBlue and Southwest Airlines and reveals how leaders can create a winning environment.

Built on Values: Creating an Enviable Culture that Outperforms the Competition

Most important in my view, not only does this great little book show you how to implement a corporate culture program using the Values Blueprint, it shows you how to measure your culture in order to optimize performance. When you execute on the Values Workout, specifics are both encouraged and examples made available to aid your progress. An example:

Linking behaviours to your values system means consensus on the chosen values. So, if you say you have integrity as an organization, how do you define the meaning? Examples used in the book are:

1. demonstrating honesty, trust and mutual respect
2. never compromising values for short-term results
3. holding yourself and others accountable to actions and outcomes
4. following through on commitment and keeping promises.

Hmmmm – which one to choose? And, what behaviors demonstrate your understanding? Make sure that they are:

1. observable
2. start with an action word
3. assessable
4. trainable
5. hireable
6. rewardable.

Written in easy to understand language, this book is a gem!

Ginger Grant is an expert on corporate culture and a professional keynote speaker. If you are interested in hearing more about how culture can impact the performance in your organization, please contact:


This is one of the best books I have read in a long time.  Authors, Mario Raich and Simon Dolan have produced an intriguing roadmap into our future – business and society in transformation. Dolan, a professor at ESADE is one of the reasons why Barcelona has one of the best business programs in the world.  This book will give you a taste of where business needs to focus in order to survive in this new economy.  It also shows why North America is falling behind in innovation.

Beyond: Business and Society in Transformation

Story: Substance, Structure and Style

If you ever get the chance, I would highly recommend attending one of Robert McKee’s Story Seminars.  If you can’t, then this book is second best.  In it, McKee outlines what makes a great story – elements, principles of story design, and the writer and relationship to story.  Employing examples from over 100 films, McKee shows how to use form, not formula.  Transforming the craft of screen writing into an art form, he shows us the subtle considerations necessary to make a story memorable. Beat by beat, the emotional map is laid out for us to follow.  An excellent practical example of how story works.

Story: Substance, Structure, Style and the Principles of Screenwriting

Corporate Religion

Another title that provokes attention – and with good reason.  Jesper Kunde is CEO of Kunde & Co., and his own corporate culture and his writings on the importance of culture have made his organization one to watch for in Scandinavia. Europe is much more advanced in the field of cultural due diligence and corporate culture design.  This book is about people and how you get them to work together in a unified spirit of purpose and direction.  Building your brand from the inside out creates a corporate religion.  Don’t let the word ‘religion’ scare you – religion comes from the latin religare which means “to link” or “to bind”.  So ask yourself, how are you linked to your organization? Or are you just putting in time?

Emotional values are replacing physical attributes as the most important market influence. If you are interesting in branding your organization or any other, this book proves an excellent resource.

Corporate Religion

Corporate Legends and Lore

Some books are oldies but goodies.  Peg Neuhauser has been writing about corporate storytelling long before it became popular.  In Corporate Legends & Lore, she explores the power of storytelling as a management tool.  Whether your organization is large or small, stories have the power to motivate and inspire – to improve morale, build trust and strengthen the culture of the workplace.  In this work she provides many examples of corporate cultures that use story and storytelling to protect their heritage and shape destiny.

Corporate Legends and Lore: The Power of Storytelling As a Management Tool

Also available in DVD as part of the Stanford Executive Briefing Series. A great addition for workshops or seminars within your organization.

Corporate Legends and Lore: The Power of Storytelling as a Management Tool (Stanford Executive Briefings Series)