Cultivating a Creative Culture: A book review by Bob Morris

Cultivating a Creative Culture
Justin Dauer
Lead Hand Books (June 2017)

How to create human-centered interactions and experiences throughout and beyond your enterprise

In various reviews as well as during workshops and seminars I have conducted on the years, I have often invoked horticultural metaphors when explaining how to establish a workplace culture within which personal growth and professional development are most likely to thrive. The environment is a garden; its leaders tend it, nourishing the soil, eliminating weeds, and protecting what is planted while it’s growing. You get the idea.

Justin Dauer has consistently seen “how unhealthy internal cultures are tantamount to  psychological abuse. How these environments have caused brilliant people to completely detach from their crafts and question why they pursued their paths in the first place.” Results of the latest Gallup research indicate that, on average, less than 30% of the workers in a U.S. company are positively and productively engaged; the others are either passively engaged (“mailing it in”) or actively disengaged (actively undermining the success of their employer).

In contrast, Dauer suggests, “Creative cultures contribute to the resounding success of an organization and the work its team creates. They permeate the interactions at our office, the meetings we attend, and the manner in which we produce. It’s very much about being focused on the human beings behind the projects and facilitating them doing their best work; getting there represents a shift in thought as much as in procedure.”

The “why” is self-evident. Dauer explains the “how” in this book. More specifically:

o How to establish a healthy dynamic at all levels and in all areas that serves as their backbone. “This level of investment” on behalf of the business means no half measures. Included within that support of employee growth comes a core mindset of how the value of an employee’s time is measured.”

o How to leverage the the energy obtained away from workers’ desks and infuse it back into what they do and how they do it. “A genuine creative culture supports drawing from both indoor and outdoor environments is needed.” In fact, it is imperative.

o How to develop the necessary tactics, mindsets, organizational shifts, and operational flexibility so that the company “supports and operates as a creative culture, or is genuinely willing to evolve to become one.”

Of course, it remains for each reader to decide which of the material provided —  information, insights, and counsel — is most relevant to their specific needs, interests, issues, and objectives.

One final point. It is no coincidence that most of the companies annually ranked among those most highly admired and best to work for are also annually ranked among those most profitable with the greatest cap value in their industry segment. It is obvious to me that their people work in a culture within which creative thinking is most likely to thrive.

I urge you to visit the book’s online home and check out the Creative Culture podcast of conversations with thought leaders and cultural beacons. The site also houses the Creative Culture blog, the latest news, links, and more.


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