vendredi 6 janvier 2012

Fundamentally Different by David J. Friedman - Book review

Fundamentally Different

By: David J. Friedman

Published: June 17, 2011
Format: Hardcover, 300 pages
ISBN-10: 0741466805
ISBN-13: 978-0741466808
Publisher: Infinity Publishing

"After years of observation and personal experience, it's abundantly clear to me that an organization's culture, more than any other single factor, is responsible for influencing the behavior of its people; and it's the behavior of its people on a day-to-day basis that most influences whether or not the organization reaches its goals" writes speaker, seminar leader, and consultant, David J. Friedman in his groundbreaking and very practical book Fundamentally Different. The author describes the critical importance of organizational culture in determining the behavior of the company's employees and their success or failure in achieving the overall goals of the organization.

David J. Friedman recognizes the deeper need, within every company, of examining its overall commitment to its values as the foundation of its organizational culture. The author provides compelling evidence that there must be alignment between the professed values of a company, and the daily practices of its employees, both within and outside the organization. If the company claims one set of values, and the management and staff practice a contradictory form of behavior, the entire organization breaks down. Failed company goals, decreased productivity, a less engaged workforce, and lower profits are the result of this discrepancy between statement and reality.

David J. Friedman (photo left) understands that the values and principles, held by the management and staff of an organization, show up and are played out in daily activities of the employees. If the organizational culture holds strong ethical values, and acts with high principles, these core practices will form the basis of the everyday employee behavior. On the other hand, less scrupulous values and a lack of honorable principles, will be reflected in the daily employee decision making and actions as well. David Friedman points out that achieve sustainable company success, strong values must be institutionalized into the organizational culture, and become the touchstone of every decision and action taken by the managers and staff.

David Friedman outlines eight key steps, that organizations must take, to institutionalize values firmly into their culture: Those eight steps are:

* Defining the values
* Selecting the values
* Integrating the values into the culture
* Making them visible
* Using ritual
* Coaching* Leading by example
* Creating accountability

For me, the power of the book is how David J. Friedman describes his crucial insight that organizational culture is the fundamental driving force behind company success or failure. The author describes how the culture of the company determines the behavior of the employees. When there is a misalignment between what the company claims are its values, and their real values as practiced daily by the management and staff, the organization will not achieve its goals and objectives.

David Friedman shares his eight step program for institutionalizing the right values into the company culture, and aligning words with actions. To further facilitate this values and principles institutionalization process, the author provides thirty fundamentals to ensure that daily practices match the stated value principles. A culture that places values first will achieve greater employee engagement, better meet the needs of customers, enhance overall performance, and increase profitability.

I highly recommend the hands on and insightful book Fundamentally Different by David J. Friedman, to any business leaders who seek to transform their organizational culture to one that lives and breathes its stated values. With the organizational core principles entwined into the company culture and DNA, the success rate of the business in achieving all of its goals will be improved to the point of overwhelming the competition.

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