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Stanford business school professor Jeffrey Pfeffer’s recently published book, Dying for a Paycheck: How Modern Management Harms Employee Health and Company Performance — and What We Can Do About It, takes an honest but disturbing look at the negative effects that U.S. workplaces can have on employees’ health and well-being. It’s no secret that U.S. workers are some of the most stressed out and overworked in the world. Often dealing with unpredictable schedules, harassing managers, and after-hours text messages and emails, U.S. workers work long and demanding shifts — sometimes, with inadequate pay and no benefits. Such toxic workplace environments not only negatively affect workers’ productivity level and work quality, but also their physical health and personal relationships.
These facts inspired seven authors from the Great Work Cultures (GWC) movement to create a resource of their own, a book called From Hierarchy to High Performance: Unleashing the Hidden Superpowers of Ordinary People to Realize Extraordinary Results, set to be released in August 2018. The GWC movement is an initiative inspired by Joan Blades, a prominent activist for positive change, who attracted a network of people passionate about designing better workplaces. Blades first became an advocate for the opportunities to dramatically improve work for employers and their workers as a co-founder of MomsRising.org, a grassroots organization that works to achieve economic security for all moms, women, and families in the United States.
Following Blades’ lead, members of the GWC movement came together through serendipity and synergy and are committed to and passionate about transforming organizations and creating more humanistic environments. The GWC is making a difference by writing and speaking to audiences who are hungry for a better way. This book is a consequence of their intention to accelerate positive change at work.
Blades praises the contributors to the book as “brilliant innovators and leaders who know how to structure workplaces that sing.”
“If you have doubts about the need for improving work cultures, take a look at the data showing how disengaged the average worker is,” she writes in the foreword to the book. “Most workplace productivity is a fraction of what it could be. The happy news is this: workplace environments that are deeply respectful of all workers are also wonderfully productive. And, not surprisingly, they experience very low turnover.”
An engaging read with thought-provoking quotes throughout, the book is divided into three parts with a total of seven chapters, each with a different writer.
The first chapter, “The Momentum of Change,” is written by Bill Sanders, the founder and managing director of Roebling Strauss, Inc. Bill is an organizational process expert who uses his proven holistic approach to rapidly identify misalignments between strategy, goals, process, and execution.
The second chapter, “How Companies are Creating Costs by Ignoring Workplace Health,” is written by Dawna Jones, founder and CEO of From Insight to Action. She is a speaker, author, decision-making strategist, and change innovator. Dawna is the author of Decision Making for Dummies, contributed a chapter on organizational deep dynamics and the new purpose of business to The Intelligence of the Cosmos, and hosts the Insight to Action podcast. Dawna perceives clearly into complex relationships bringing insights and advanced skills to transform organizations and their leaders through creativity.
Chapter 3, “Cutting Edge, Purpose-Driven Leadership to Thrive in the Future,” is written by Brooke Erol, the owner and founder of Purposeful Business. She speaks globally to increase the awareness around “Purpose beyond Profit”. Brooke is the author of Create a Life You Love and co-author of Transform Your Life II. Purposeful Business helps leaders create inspiring and purpose-driven environments.
Chapter 4, “The Trouble with Scale: How to Keep Company Culture from Going Wrong in Times of Growth,” is written by Josh Levine, principal of Great Monday and co-founder of Culture LabX. He is an educator, designer, and author who is on a mission to help organizations design a culture advantage.
Chapter 5, “Creating a Culture of Trust in the Workplace,” is written by Sue Bingham, founder and principal of HPWP Group and author of Creating the High-Performance Work Place: It’s Not Complicated to Develop a Culture of Commitment. Sue is driven to create high-performing workplaces by partnering with courageous leaders who value the contributions of team members.
Chapter 6, “The Age of the Self-Managed Organization,” is written by Doug Kirkpatrick, US Partner, NuFocus Strategic Group. Doug is an organizational change consultant, TEDx and international keynote speaker, blogger, educator, executive coach, dual citizen, and author of Beyond Empowerment: The Age of the Self-Managed Organization.
“Beyond Emotional Intelligence to Whole Body Wisdom” is the seventh and final chapter, written by Anna McGrath, Partner of Culture and Transformation at Godfrey Dadich Partners. Since 2003, Anna has supported organizations globally to build response-agility into their cultures and transition into self-organizing structures. After 14 years of incubation and experimentation, the company she co-founded, WonderWorks Consulting, was acquired by Godfrey Dadich Partners.
Whether you’re an entrepreneur looking for your first round of funding, a small business owner desperate for growth, or a manager at a global company performing below its potential, knowing how to create a great work culture is imperative for your success.
This book is written for leaders who want to do the best thing for all their stakeholders — employees, clients, and community. Through their writings, the authors hope to activate and provoke interest in leading the transformation to collaborative, networked organizations that value human experience over bureaucratic rule.
Read this book to discover how you can unleash the power of humans within your organization.
For more information on the authors, their book, and their movement, visit www.greatworkcultures.org.
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