Book Review: The Culture Engine Transforms Organizations and People

The Culture Engine
David Sparks
My mission is to help ordinary people do extraordinary things. Therefore I write and speak about encouragement, simple ways to serve others, choosing to act, positive resources, and inspiring stories. I have an MBA in Organizational Development and Leadership from Oklahoma Christian University and work for a major manufacturing company. Let's connect on my blog, or via Twitter.
David Sparks

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The Culture Engine by Chris Edmonds

It happened every morning before work – my stomach would churn and then, complete a backflip.  I was miserable.  The culture was horrific.

Have you ever worked in a toxic work environment?

  1. Chris Edmonds makes his desire clear in the title of his excellent book, The Culture Engine: A Framework for Driving Results, Inspiring Your Employees, and Transforming Your Workplace.

For a moment, imagine your own toxic workplace culture transformed.

The Culture Engine is divided into three primary sections: Learning about an organizational constitution and why you need one, how to create both a personal and organizational constitution, and how to fully leverage your newly crafted constitution.  Throughout these sections Chris Edmonds provides helpful examples, vivid illustrations, opportunities for self-reflection, as well as assessments to evaluate your culture effectiveness.  All of these elements combine with over twenty-five years of Chris’ work experience of creating values-aligned culture.  The result is a major win for people looking to grow personally and professionally.

The Culture Engine is geared primarily towards people who are responsible for leading teams.  However, I am an individual contributor and found excellent value by learning how I can lead myself better and be able to positively impact my company’s culture.  That means it does not leave any member of an organization out.

Below are three portions of the book I believe make it a must have.

First, Chris discusses the pitfalls of the thought that a change can be made by simply making an announcement, and moving on.  He calls these an MbA, “managing by announcements”.  Culture and change cannot be fully implemented without modeling the desired behavior.  Further, the culture must be cultivated and reinforced constantly through routine conversation, followed by assessing your progress.  All of this echoes the wildly known statement, “Be the change you want to see”.

Second, in The Culture Engine, Chris Edmonds describes in detail how the WD-40 Company transformed their culture and grew from an $80 million company into a $330 million company.  This story is shared from the perspective of an insider which is tremendously valuable.  You are given a glimpse of how and why the changes took place, as it was witnessed.  It is one thing to offer a case study as an outsider from the prism of time, but you gain a unique perspective from one who had direct involvement in the actual case.

The third and final element that makes this book a must have is found at its end.  It is here that Chris lays out the organizational constitution process in chronological order.  This provides a quick and helpful reference point after you have read the book in its entirety.  Instead of flipping through each chapter and noting the step, you can easily flip to the end, and review each step.  This final element serves as an excellent memory-jogger.

The Culture Engine is a must read for anyone leading a team or organization including: volunteers, a business, a sub-team, or committee.  Additionally, it’s highly recommended for the individual team members, and the reason is clear – it adds value.  I rated this book a five out of five stars on Amazon because it will positively impact those who read as well as implement what Chris Edmonds shares in The Culture Engine.

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