Do you want to get the most out of reading What You Do Is Who You Are? In this article you will find the most comprehensive summary of What You Do Is Who You Are by Ben Horowitz anywhere online.
Overview of the Book
The importance of fostering a positive culture in the workplace is recognised by every CEO and business owner. It’s crucial to foster an encouraging atmosphere where workers feel supported and encouraged to give their all. To accomplish this, you need to be familiar with the components of, and methods for cultivating, a positive workplace culture.
Culture, however, predates the contemporary era. Some of the greatest executives in history have lessons that are relevant to modern business. The author draws parallels between Amazon and other modern titans and Genghis Khan and John Coltrane, all of whom made unexpected contributions to their own societies.
Given that every firm is unique and operates under its own set of principles, there is no universally optimal company culture. To make the most of your company’s potential, though, you can benefit from remembering a few fundamental principles. The author elaborates on these concepts by drawing parallels to historical figures and their respective civilizations.
Key Concept #1: Every thriving business has a distinct culture.
Business tycoons frequently cite a company’s culture as an important factor in their firm’s continued success. On the other hand, they generally come up short when pressed for additional information. So, what is culture, exactly? So why is this a big deal, exactly? For the sake of clarity, let’s first establish that it is not. Culture and values are not the same thing and should not be used interchangeably. Similarly, a company’s culture is more than just its chief executive’s character. Additionally, company culture is unique to each organisation because of its unique set of customs and values (i.e., Apple vs Amazon).
The company’s culture is a reflection of the company itself. Intel was founded in 1968 by Bob Noyce, and the organisational culture he established reflects the pioneering nature of the corporation. He accomplished this by instituting a meritocratic structure devoid of vice presidents and by providing stock options to the vast majority of his staff. He also mandated training on “the Intel Culture” for all employees. This environment was ideal for a company of its kind since it encouraged the free flow of ideas.
There is no silver bullet when it comes to creating a successful work environment. Even if a firm has a negative culture, it’s still feasible for it to be successful. However, doing so will be far more challenging and offer fewer benefits than would be the case with a good culture. Enhancing one’s diet can assist an athlete reach their full potential. The same holds true for businesses: a positive work environment creates for happier, more productive workers, which in turn increases bottom line results.
Success can be attributed in part to cultural factors. It’s present in the commercial sector, the world at large, and even as far back as Genghis Khan. A number of examples can be used to illustrate this. There is also guidance on developing a company culture that is unique to your organisation.
Key Concept #2: Toussaint Louverture effectively instilled cultural values in his troops.
There don’t seem to be any takeaways for modern enterprises from the life of the man who freed Haiti from slavery. But Toussaint Louverture established a way of life from which we can all benefit. Born into servitude, he rose to political prominence in 1791. He deftly repelled Spanish and British invasions and abolished slavery in 1801.
Louverture was incredibly gifted at making pivotal choices that effectively conveyed his values and culture to others. He did this in part by having his men follow rules that forced them to confront the moral implications of their actions. It was somewhat unusual for the period, yet he forbade married commanders from taking concubines. So why is that? Trust. When even the officers’ own spouses don’t have faith in them, the military has no reason to. Louverture’s strict regulations prioritised a vital cultural trait, in this case trust, among his troops. Another time this principle was put into practise was after the Haitian slave revolt, when Louverture’s army had the opportunity to wipe off all of the old plantation owners but instead decided that economic growth was more essential than vengeance.
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