Book review: All Hands on Deck by Joe Tye

All Hands on Desk: 8 Essential Lessons for Building a Culture of Ownership by Joe Tye is not your regular business book!  Tye presents the ‘lessons’ as the reader follows a fictional character, Corey Whitaker, a new CEO of a company.  Corey needs a radical turnaround from a looming bankruptcy threat.  Real historical quotes from successful business people are brought to life and applied to our current real-world business environment. Readers’ discover –with Corey- what can be implemented to ensure organizational wide success.  The quotes are from people like Henry Ford and Tom Watson and organizations like Hewlett Packard and Johnson and Johnson.

All Hands on Deck reveals what is actually needed for the results of any strategy implementation to be fully optimized.  Culture, attitudes and behavior have the power to launch a mediocre plan ridiculously profitably, or “eat strategy for lunch” (p. xix).  “Productivity and quality can be as much, if not more, influenced by how enthusiastically people approach their work … as they are by the processes that have been designed for that work” to be completed (p. xxiii).  Tye says leadership needs to externally “inspire [and motivate employees] to empower themselves” to be courageous, creative and committed (p. xxiv).  Recognition of personal achievements needs to be built into the companies’ environment.  Creating a culture where employees collaborate together while taking ownership individually requires the invisible architecture to be soundly established and reinforced.

The invisible architecture ultimately effects how engaged employees are, which in turn impacts the customers’ experience.  This includes values, culture and the emotional environment.  “Values are like gravity.  They keep you anchored” when waves of challenges emerge (p. 50).  An invisible architecture to support employees’ individual growth is only implemented by organizations that recognize, the long-term benefit it will provide; sustainable profits and strong competitive advantages.  It also recognizes that as individual employee dreams are achieved and valued, only then can corporate dreams (goals) be achieved efficiently and effectively.  It is well worth investing into employees, to encourage them to help themselves – “the payoff will be that they [have the courage to] bring their best ideas and creativity to the job” (p. 86).  Tye states that real leadership involves “motivating people with autonomy, mastery and purpose” in their work (p. 104).  The result of this level of trust being placed in employees means that individual talents can be capitalized upon by the organization and high levels of satisfaction are achieved by the employee themselves.  When employees are satisfied with their contribution to the organization the level of loyalty towards the organization increases too.

It is an ownership culture that will be “the driving force behind growth during good times and … resilience during the bad times” (p. 23).  It creates higher expectations amongst individuals and has been proven to result in better productivity level resources (ideas and enthusiasm), (Southwest Airlines, p. 106).  Leaders need to accept responsibility for “creating [a culture of ownership -] the circumstances that allow people to be successful” (p. 108).  A leader who intends on fostering this sort of environment will need to consider four things according to Tye.  Firstly, the level of “commitment [employees display towards the organizations] values, vision and mission” should be unreserved (p. 115).  Secondly, the level of “engagement all employees have with customers, co-workers and the work itself” needs to be encouraged (p. 117).  Thirdly, employee passion is vital for individuals to feel satisfied in their role and loyal to the organization.  As well as Passion for their work and those they work with (p. 118).  Lastly, “pride in the organization, [their] job and themselves” personally” needs to be rewarded (p. 119).

I really enjoyed All Hands on Deck, and found value in the points that are covered – organizations need individuals to work together.  I would recommend this book to leaders who have the courage to aim big!  Aiming for long term sustainability really is the best solution.  It seems to me that this can be attained at the sacrifice of focus shifting from the bottom line to the people who enable it.  Once this culture of ownership is established greater ROI can be anticipated.  If you would like to read All Hands on Deck by Joe Tye you may like to buy it from here.

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