The dictionary defines culture as, “the quality in a person or society that arises from a concern for what is regarded as excellent in arts, letters, manners, scholarly pursuits, etc.” Everything and everyone has culture. Some of that culture is inherited and we try to change it. Some of that culture is created intentionally to shape and direct the future.
Dee Ann Turner spent three decades selecting talent within her organization. In the process of selecting talent, she realized how important the people selected for talent were in shaping culture. In her book “Bet On Talent” she talks about using talent to create a remarkable culture. She writes, “Because people decisions are the most important decisions a leader makes, they can be game changers for the culture and the organizations.”
Turner speaks out of her vast experience at Chick-Fil-A. She says, “it is far easier to create a strong, healthy culture from the beginning than to rebrand a struggling culture after it is formed.” She talks about the characteristics that make up a remarkable culture and how that culture is influenced by the people within it. Toxic people can create a toxic culture. Domineering people, primarily bosses, can stifle a culture and reduce creativity, innovation, morale, and motivation.
The essence of a culture is in the person at the top. As Turner writes, “Culture is not owned by the talent, people, or human resources function of an organization. It is owned by the person at the very top, and then all of the other leadership and everyone who is part of the organization have a role to play in building, growing, and strengthening the culture.”
Throughout “Bet on Talent,” Turner shares about the elements of a remarkable culture, how to build a team that creates this kind of culture, how to grow that culture among your team, and how to engage guests through that remarkable culture. There is so much wisdom that Turner shares about the characteristics of culture, how they are created, and how they impact not only your team but the people that you are seeking to reach.
Turner says that quality people can create a remarkable culture which can, in turn, draw remarkable people to that culture and experience. She talks about the importance of principles over rules as rules can be restrictive, especially for those who can’t see beyond them. So much of what she shared had me nodding my head in agreement as I had experienced in various places in my life people who had created both remarkable and toxic cultures. It was helpful to see not only the characteristics of remarkable cultures, as shared by Turner, but also how to go about creating those cultures and to avoid some of the pitfalls that will be encountered along the way.
If there was any criticism for this book, it was that the chapters were so long. The book was structured well and flowed well, but there were not as many stopping points throughout the book to allow for digestion of the material. Chapters varied in length from about sixteen pages all the way to over fifty pages.
There were so many insights that Turner shared that I thought were so beneficial. I came to the book at a time when I was in the process of creating culture in an organization myself, so it felt that much more significant and relevant for me. While Turner shares from her experience in the business world, the principles that she shares can easily be transferred into the non-profit sector as well, allowing for remarkable cultures to be created in that world just as well.
(This review is based upon a copy of this book which was provided free of charge from Baker Books. These opinions are my own; I was not required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated for this review.)