A Culture Book is an employee-led scrapbook of your team values

Culture Books

There are two kinds of values that both groups and individuals can recognize. Core values are the ones that come naturally to you, without them you wouldn’t be yourself. Wish values are the ones you aspire to have.

There’s nothing that inspires yawning more than an employee handbook. It is very top-down, bureaucratic and bizarrely still printed, usually out of date. Of course, these do come full of interesting insights like who does what and where to find information and locations within the company. But mostly it remains at the bottom of our desk drawers unread.


Some employee handbooks however, go above and beyond to engage and welcome team members like design powerhouse’s Little Book of IDEO. This is because they don’t really have a boring old employee handbook, but rather a Culture Book. It colorfully weaves together the company’s seven core values, including optimism and collaboration.

Unsurprisingly, Zappos is another company that touts an exciting innovation on that boring old handbook. The Zappos Culture Book, which is made up of unedited employee submissions about what the company culture means to them.

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The Management 3.0 Practice of Culture Books isn’t something just churned out by human resources where the values are disconnected from the employees. But this doesn’t mean that there can’t be policies found within the Culture Book.


Martie Management 3.0

Learn more about how to Align Constraints in the Management 3.0 module Values & Culture during a Foundation Workshop.


How to Create a Culture Book

You don’t have to have a big budget just a bit of creativity to create your own Culture Book:

  1. Ask your teammates to offer up Value Stories that they think exemplify the company culture.
  2. Print and distribute this List of 150 Core Values. Let everyone choose their core values and their wish values.
  3. Vote to eliminate and agree on a shorter list of maybe five to seven core values that represent your team currently and the wish values you commit to trying to become.
  4. Ensure that these values are visible to everyone. Perhaps consider enabling the creation of a Work Expo, which allows teammates to create visual representations of these values, including anything from stories to photos to notes from customers.
  5. Bring all of these examples of your values together in a colorful and creative way to welcome new teammates. If one of your values is transparency, consider publishing your Culture Book online.
  6. Encourage all employees to update your Culture Book regularly.

Have you already tried these Management 3.0 Tools & Practices?

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