A few years ago, I read an interesting book by Dr. Grant McCracken. It’s called Chief Culture Officer: How to Create a Living, Breathing Corporation.
Have you read it? It’s good.
The author believes that companies need specialized workers, supervisors and leaders who understand cultural anthropology. Those new workers could create a culture that has a competitive advantage. And those employees could minimize organizational risk, too.
That’s an interesting and groundbreaking perspective. Probably never going to happen. Most CEOs and leaders believe that they are cultural ambassadors — “chief experience officers,” if you will — not you. They think it’s their singular job to instill a set of values into their organization, not yours.
When your CEO thinks he’s your dad and your boss, there’s a problem with culture right there.
There are a few companies who have been influenced by Dr. Grant McCracken and have hired chief culture officers and cultural anthropologists. By “a few,” I mean six.
So, who speaks truth to power? Who advocates on behalf of good ideas? Who tells CEOs when there’s a horrible idea or product that will hurt a company’s culture?
(Probably nobody. Or maybe the CEO’s panel of advisors, who are just glorified sycophants.)
And that’s okay. Most companies operate that way. But culture — the big movement you brag about, which is more than just beer and ping pong tables — relies on curation. Your chief curation officer, which is a new job that I just invented, systematically dismantles bullshit and advocates for the good stuff.
But without a dedicated team to develop and curate amazing ideas in a creative and collaborative environment, you don’t have a culture. You just have a normal workplace.
I wouldn’t brag about that.