ReCulturing: Design Your Company Culture to Connect with Strategy and Purpose for Lasting Success
Melissa Daimler, Chief Learning Officer at Udemy, redefines corporate culture and urges leaders to integrate it with the company’s purpose and strategy
SAN FRANCISCO, May 10, 2022 — The return to office is in full swing, and company culture is on every leader’s mind as they roll out new onsite amenities, wellness programs, and even Lizzo concerts to get people excited about being back at the office. But the focus on great perks is just one example of a misguided yet common approach to culture. For years, too many leaders have approached culture in a fragmented way, focusing on perks and nebulous values without integrating them into the organizational system.
In ReCulturing: Design Your Company Culture to Connect with Strategy and Purpose for Lasting Success (McGraw-Hill; May 10, 2022), Melissa Daimler, Chief Learning Officer of Udemy, argues that it’s crucial to take a systems approach to culture – one focused on behaviors, processes and practices – and integrate it with the company’s purpose and strategy. With over two decades of experience leading learning and organizational development at companies like Adobe, Twitter, WeWork, and now Udemy, Daimler shows leaders how to remake their cultures as both work and the world evolve.
Daimler defines “ReCulturing” as the continuous act of redesigning and reconnecting behaviors, processes, and practices to each other and to the organizational system. Just as a company’s strategy evolves, so too should a company’s culture evolve – as a company grows and as the very nature of work changes. ReCulturing shows leaders how to “disintegrate” what no longer serves the company and “remake” their culture – and it’s the key to navigating this next evolution of work.
In ReCulturing, Daimler shares what she’s learned over her two decades in the organizational development field along with real-world stories recounting what has and hasn’t worked at some of today’s largest and most influential companies, such as Netflix, Adobe, Twitter, Pixar, Cloudflare, and Amazon. She has firsthand, working knowledge on what makes a company successful – or crash and burn. In the book, she explores:
- The systems approach to culture: defining what good behaviors look like; the core processes into which those behaviors need to be embedded; the daily practices needed to reinforce and strengthen the culture.
- How she tried to fix the culture at WeWork and learned some crucial lessons about what it takes to build a more connected culture.
- The four dangerous gaps that derail company culture and drive talent away.
- The real reason most culture change initiatives fail.
- How we’ve been conditioned to conflate culture with fun and perks. But culture is about how the work gets done.
- How to create the values-based behaviors that are the cornerstone of any great company culture.
- Why diversity and inclusion aren’t separate concepts from a company’s purpose, strategy, or culture. Rather, they are skills that need to be embedded into each.
- How to ensure fast growth doesn’t destroy your company’s culture, but amplifies it.
- Why employees want to work for companies where they will learn and grow. And how ensuring skills that are relevant to both the strategy and culture of the company provide a more meaningful experience and development opportunity for employees.
As the workplace continues evolving, ReCulturing will help companies successfully navigate any challenge ahead. It will also help companies create the playbook for designing an intentional culture, wherever your companies are in the world.
About The Author
Melissa Daimler is the Chief Learning Officer of Udemy, a leading destination for learning and teaching online. She is helping the company evolve their platform and approach to learning, helping the global workforce also re-design how they think about culture and work. Alongside her team, she is also testing out ideas internally with Udemates to bring best practices to the companies for which Udemy partners.
Prior to Udemy, she launched Daimler Partners, a boutique advisory and coaching company that worked with founders and leaders to help them design and scale their culture. She leveraged the experience she had as an executive who faced multiple leadership viewpoints throughout her career. Daimler led HR for a fast-growing venture-funded startup. She also created and built Learning & Organizational Development functions for Adobe, Twitter and WeWork.
Daimler is a speaker, panelist, and contributor to Harvard Business Review (HBR) and Forbes. One of the first coaches certified by the International Coach Federation (“ICF”), she graduated from the Pepperdine University Graziadio Business School with a M.S. in Organizational Development.
Advance Praise for ReCulturing:
“Many organizations and leaders talk about organizational culture at great lengths but don’t quite know what it means. In ReCulturing, Melissa Daimler reboots the diluted and vague definitions of organizational culture and reframes it as something we ‘do’ rather than something we ‘have.’ This is a must-read for leaders grappling with the question of how to truly build and sustain a great culture.” —Chip Conley, New York Times bestselling author, former Airbnb Strategic Advisor, founder of Modern Elder Academy
“In her insightful new book, Melissa Daimler shows how to nurture and grow a thriving culture through behaviors, processes, and practices that align with your ‘values on the wall.’ Having worked with both successful and spectacularly unsuccessful high-profile companies, Melissa knows firsthand what works and what doesn’t…This book is a must-read for anyone with a role in shaping organizations.”—Ken Blanchard, coauthor of The New One Minute Manager and Simple Truths of Leadership
“ReCulturing is for any leader looking to create or evolve an organizational culture that is healthy, purpose-driven, and strategically valuable. Melissa shares hard-won wisdom about what culture really is and how to connect it to strategy, purpose, and learning.” —Tony Bingham, President and CEO, ATD
“Almost every leader I know is questioning what organizational culture looks like in today’s hybrid workplace and Melissa Daimler’s ReCulturing could not have come at a more pivotal time. ReCulturing offers a roadmap for companies in all stages – from startups who are designing culture for the first time to larger, global companies wanting to evolve their culture with their business.”—Heidi Roizen, Partner, Threshold Ventures
“At the heart of good management is a good relationship…When a leader cares personally about each direct report and so challenges them directly, they model radical candor and build a positive culture. Melissa…distills her learnings so you can learn the easy way what she had to learn the hard way.”—Kim Scott, author of the New York Times bestseller Radical Candor and Just Work
“Melissa Daimler is one of the most experienced and adept organizational culture wrestlers on the planet. She has seen the good, the bad, and the ugly first-hand during her remarkable career. ReCulturing is packed with proven solutions for bolstering performance and humanity. It is the most useful book I have ever read about how to launch, sustain, and repair an organizational culture.”—Robert I. Sutton, Stanford professor and New York Times bestselling author of seven books including The No Asshole Rule and Scaling Up Excellence
“Designing and building an organizational culture starts with leaders. ReCulturing is the playbook for developing both strong, healthy cultures and emotionally agile leaders.”—Susan David, #1 Wall Street Journal bestselling author of Emotional Agility and award-winning Harvard Medical School psychologist
“As leaders examine what organizational culture looks like in today’s hybrid workplace, ReCulturing couldn’t have come at a better time. This book is a road map for companies in all stages – from startups to global enterprises – that want to build a successful, high-impact workplace in which employees thrive.”—Dorie Clark, Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Long Game and executive education faculty, Duke University Fuqua School of Business
“ReCulturing presents several seminal ideas. It is a gripping playbook for both executives and entrepreneurs. The ideas are relevant for well-established firms and the newest startups. It connects culture with strategy, purpose, and learning in a way not done before, beyond pool tables, free sushi, and donuts. This identifies the practical steps to build a culture that positively impacts all stakeholders.”—Jack Zenger, CEO, Zenger Folkman, and bestselling author of The New Extraordinary Leader
“In ReCulturing, Melissa Daimler offers a reframe about culture and provides the modern playbook for building a workplace in which employees have a meaningful experience and the organization has impactful results.” —Mazen Rawashdeh, Senior Vice President, CTO, eBay
“Melissa provocatively invites both culture and strategy to eat breakfast together …ReCulturing helps us understand the importance of…purpose, strategy, and culture – and how they can work together to drive organization and employee success.” —Brenda Sugre, Global Chief Learning Officer, Ernst & Young
“In ReCulturing, Melissa takes on the amorphous world of organizational culture and provides a practical approach to continuously examining and revising culture to support business success. She provides extremely useful tools, examples, and road maps – taking the mystery (and frustration) out of culture work – making this a valuable resource for leaders and HR experts alike.”—Karen May, former Vice President of People Development, Google
“The richness of Melissa Daimler’s examples from companies like Adobe, Twitter, and WeWork make this a captivating read as well as a brilliantly applicable guide to defining the specifics of a workplace culture.” —Bruce Daisley, former Vice President, Twitter & bestselling author of Eat Sleep Work Repeat
“ReCulturing is right on target about defining a process of building your organization’s culture to gain competitive advantage. As technologies, markets, and economies change, every company must define its culture to achieve its strategy and to attract talent. The competition for talent is the new firing line of competition, and Melissa Daimler provides a road map to win in this competition.” —Lawrence Miller, author of Getting to Lean-Transformational Change Management
“ReCulturing has made Melissa a culture-shaping Sherpa at scale. As leaders, most of us acknowledge that a great culture is the ultimate value proposition to acquire and keep the best talent and yet many of us fail at it. Most often we just don’t know how. ReCulturing will guide you to success. Regardless of what role you occupy in your organization this book is for you. I cannot recommend ReCulturing more highly. It is a must-have.” —William Adams, CEO and cofounder Leadership Circle, coauthor of Mastering Leadership and Scaling Leadership
“I have always believed that the path to happiness is to have meaningful work and meaningful relationships. Culture helps employees have both, yet too many leaders still don’t know how to create and build culture. Melissa gives us a practical playbook to finally understand how to do that.” —Colleen Berube, CIO, Zendesk
“ReCulturing is a valuable resource for helping us navigate the next era of work…Melissa offers us a practitioner’s approach combined with relatable stories in a company culture playbook we need right now.” —Karen Wickre, founder, KVOX Media Services, and author of Taking the Work Out of Networking
“Organizational culture starts with each of us. In ReCulturing, Melissa helps us understand the importance of ensuring our own ‘personal cultures’ are set before we lead the organizational one.”—Ajeet Singh, founder, 2X Unicorn, and cofounder and executive chairman, ThoughtSpot
“Melissa’s stories and tools are a masterful tour de force. Based on her personal experience at iconic firms…and drawing on insights and stories from leading firms, she Redefines Culturing: as a verb not a noun… A must read-and do! – for any business leader”. —Dave Ulrich, Rensis Likert Professor, at Ross School of Business, University of Michigan; Partner, The RBL Group
“Culture is vital for organizational success and is something that is constantly shifting and changing. The most effective leaders are intentional and proactive with how they shape culture. This book offers insights, strategies, and a practical guide for how to do just that. Every leader I know should read this book.” —Dr. Rebecca Newton, Organizational Psychologist, CEO, CoachAdviser; Senior Visiting Fellow, London School of Economics and Political Science
“Culture remains one of the most important and confusing topics in business. Melissa’s book makes this topic real, actionable, and is filled with fascinating examples. This is a book every leader can learn from.”—Josh Bersin, global industry analyst
“We leveraged ReCulturing at Pixar as we connected our values and leadership behaviors to our creative content and how we lead at Pixar. This book is filled with examples, stories and a road map for how to implement it in your organization.”—Reema Batnagar, Chief People Officer, Pixar
“Melissa Daimler dares us to reset our mindset about culture. Teasing out compelling learnings from more than 25 years of experience, ReCulturing digs deep into the core principles and beliefs of great cultures and provides a practical road map to success.” —Brian J. Miller, EdM, Chief Talent, Diversity, and Inclusion Officer, Adobe