Management 3.0 Practice: Culture Books

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

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 It is very top-down, bureaucratic and, bizarrely still printed, usually out of date.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 with interesting information like who does what and where to find information and locations within the company. But mostly it remains in the bottom of our desk drawers unread.

ValuesAndCulture_Slide26_HandbookEnactedValues-01However some employee handbooks 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 another 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.

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. In the Netflix Culture Book, they back up their principle values of freedom and responsibility by offering total freedom via unlimited vacation times, flex-time and travel expenses.

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. values-listAsk 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. Make sure you make sure these values are very visible to everyone. Perhaps consider enabling the creation of a Work Expo which allow 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.

Print your own copy of the 150 Values to hang in your break room or to share with your teammates!

Management 3.0 in Action: More Culture Book case stories & tips

Want to learn more easy employee engagement exercises to use on your team? Then you should check out Jurgen Appelo’s newest book Managing for Happiness. You can also learn about more Management 3.0 Practices in our Leadership Resource Hub

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