Creating the right culture in a business

IT SEEMS OBVIOUS that, for a company to succeed, it needs the right products. But many people believe the right culture is just as important. Creating that culture has been the holy grail for managers ever since Tom Peters and Robert Waterman focused on the issue in their book “In Search of Excellence”, published back in 1982. While the idea has never disappeared completely, it has come back into fashion today.

A prime example is a new book called “What You Do Is Who You Are: How to Create Your Business Culture” by Ben Horowitz, of the venture-capital firm Andreessen Horowitz (playfully known, because of the length of its name, as a16z). Mr Horowitz uses some unexpected examples as his case studies—Genghis Khan, Japanese samurai, Toussaint Louverture (who led a slave revolt in Haiti) and a reformed gang leader called Shaka Senghor.

It is easy to sense some wish fulfilment in these archetypes: the Silicon Valley tycoon, armed only with an iPhone, seeing himself as the modern equivalent of a historical warrior. That sense is heightened when Mr Horowitz talks of the contrast between “wartime” and “peacetime” chief executives, an analogy seemingly drawn from “The Godfather”, a movie about the mafia.

Thankfully, the book is not the orgy of macho chest-thumping that these examples might suggest. Mr Horowitz draws some...

via Business Feeds

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