Culture Game(changer)

With The Culture Game: Tools for the Agile Manager, Daniel Mezick has given organizations a high-performance set of not-so-secret success formulas. His writing is crisp, cogent and to the point. Best example: his riposte to people that check e-mail in meetings is “Give me a break”. Best of all, the advice is fully actionable. Right away. Anyone can pick up a copy of Culture Game and, within a couple of hours, brainstorm multiple ways to apply Agile thinking and Tribal Learning Practices to their organization. This book is designed to give leaders (and those aspiring to be leaders) the kinds of powerful business execution techniques that elude most organizations. If you don’t recognize the terms Agile or Tribal Leadership, they are easily googled for a quick intro.

Mezick’s first sentence in Chapter 22 is: “Eliminate the distinction between work and play”–what a concept! When you really think about it, despite the massive amounts of literature dedicated to achieving work/life balance, there is really only life (unless people at work are actually zombies!). Why not use games to make life at work as enjoyable as possible?

The author has a cohort of like-minded thought leaders and fellow experimenters (including Robert Richman, former head of Zappos Insights, and Michael Margolis, master storyteller), and he draws them out skillfully in interviews. Throughout, he builds out Agile principles in a logical sequence upon a solid foundation of history and context, and does so in an authentic and entertaining way. He gives full credit where credit is due, not only to Agile and Tribal Leadership, but to every resource that defines and/or reinforces his principles (including complexity theory, brain science, psychology, Toyota, systems theory, and many others). As a reader, I appreciated the references and learned where to go for more in-depth information.

Daniel Mezick has comprehensively defined the game of organizational culture. It’s safe to say that he, like his book, is a real winner.

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