A debut guide offers advice on navigating the chaotic world of work.
As a “workplace culture architect,” Swora believes “the key to the future success of companies is how well networks of teams operate together.” But the challenges faced by groups and their leaders, according to the author, are daunting; they center on volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity, identified in this well-crafted manual with the acronym “VUCA.” The book begins with an exploration of the manner in which the workplace is affected by VUCA and how it impacts people and organizations. A somewhat bleak but realistic picture is painted—“people are drowning,” the office is filled with “chaos and unpredictability,” and managers “are just scrambling to keep up.” The solution, writes Swora, is to create a “Purposeful Workplace Experience,” a term she has trademarked. The second part of the book examines the attributes of this experience, referring to the frequently cited Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, which identifies requirements necessary for human well-being. Here, Swora concludes that “performance happens at the intersection of purpose and belonging.” The author perceptively points out that both customers and employees “experience” a company. The worker experience revolves around the organization’s culture—“the shared beliefs, values, understandings and perspectives held by all the employees in your company.” The elements of this culture must be “fully aligned” for there to be trust between individuals and the organization. According to Swora, if these facets are skewed, the Purposeful Workplace Experience can help restore the alignment. Part Three of the guide concentrates on four “rules” that make up that experience; each of them is explained in detail. The smart, sensible manual puts a novel spin on corporate culture, is well thought out, and has a good mix of theory and workplace examples. One example, which threads throughout the book, adds a very personal angle. It is the author’s own heart-wrenching experience facing a crisis in her personal life as she tries to balance it against her work responsibilities.
Shows real insight into the turmoil of the contemporary workplace; business leaders should take note.