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Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

Culture Rules: The Leader’s Guide to Creating the Ultimate Competitive Advantage by Mark Miller

Culture Rules: The Leader’s Guide to Creating the Ultimate Competitive Advantage by Mark Miller. Matt Holt. 264 pages. 2023

In his latest book, Mark Miller longtime leader at Chick-fil-A, has us play the game of building a thriving High Performance Culture, with leaders as the designers.
To do this, his research team talked to or surveyed more than six thousand people from ten countries around the world, representing senior leaders, mid-level leaders, and frontline workers. In “Culture Rules”, he tells their stories and we learn from both their successes and shortcomings.
A key finding in the book is that leaders animate culture. Only leaders can create and sustain a vibrant High Performance Culture. To qualify as a High Performance Culture, three conditions must exist:

  • Alignment
  • Performance
  • Improvement

The author defines culture as the cumulative effect of what people see, hear, experience and believe.
The three rules towards building a High Performance Culture are:

  • Aspire: Share your hopes and dreams for the culture.
  • Amplify: Ensure the cultural Aspiration is reinforced continuously.
  • Adapt: Always work to enhance the culture.

The book looks at each of these rules in detail, including helpful stories from organizations such as Netflix, PepsiCo, Microsoft, Salesforce, and many more.
Among the topics included in the book are an organizations’ purpose, mission and values, intentional listening, story, fit for role and fit for culture, workplace strategy, strategic communication, measurement, pulse surveys, and candor.
Each chapter ends with a brief “Your Move…” section, designed for the reader to take action. A free digital copy of the “Culture Rules Field Guide” is available by using a QR code included in the book. The 100 plus page guide contains tactics, additional case studies, helpful questions, and more.
The author tells us that High Performance Cultures are not built overnight—they require a never-ending pursuit. The greatest obstacle to creating a High Performance Culture is a lack of focused leadership attention.
“Culture Rules” would be an excellent book for leaders to read and discuss together.
Below are some of the most helpful quotes from the book:

  • The wise leader will always leverage insights from the past while creating a better tomorrow.
  • Organizations do not drift toward greatness; they must be led there.
  • Alignment is about harnessing the individual brilliance, passion, and talents of everyone and channeling them toward a common cause.
  • Healthy cultures enable healthy growth.
  • A clearly articulated purpose will leave no doubt in the hearts and minds of your entire organization as to why it exists.
  • The essence of leadership is creating a better tomorrow, envisioning a preferred future, and rallying people to make it a reality.
  • Values are an ongoing and daily pursuit.
  • People always watch the leader.
  • People need to see leadership much more than they need to study it.
  • In its most simple terms, culture is about aligning people around your Aspiration.
  • Strategic communication is one of the most powerful weapons in your arsenal for building a High Performance Culture.
  • For our organizations to thrive, we must be open to ideas and practices that are different from those of the past.
  • If you are allowing politeness to overtake candor as the norm, your leadership impact will be compromised, and it will be exceedingly difficult for your organization to thrive.