Reading List: It Takes More than Casual Fridays and Free Coffee

While those much-ballyhooed and envied perks of Silicon Valley garner publicity and applause from employees, free lattes, doughnuts and nap rooms are not the stuff of an authentic corporate culture, asserts Diane K. Adams, chief people officer at the tech firm Qlik. In Adams’ view, corporate culture is the “clear set of values that drive the thinking, actions, attitudes, and guidelines of an organization and its people day in and day out.” Adams doesn’t mince words. Get it right, and your company will thrive. Get it wrong, and wait for the bells to toll.

In It Takes More than Casual Fridays and Free Coffee, Adams includes a helpful seven-point guide to building a successful culture. She sets a lively pace with anecdotes that showcase praiseworthy corporate cultures. For example, CEO John Chambers of Cisco Systems, an international firm with 70,000 employees, personally calls any employee who experiences a serious illness or tragedy to offer support, from him and from the company. Although Adams’ reliance on anecdotes about former clients such as Cisco seems self-serving, her counsel is smart.

by Diane K. Adams
August; Palgrave Macmillan; $28

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