Bury My Heart at Conference Room B was written by Stan Slap, of slap (company). Though a “New York Times Bestseller”, I hadn’t heard of this book or known of Stan’s work. I loved this book. I actually listened to it through Audible. I had the fortune of meeting Stan a couple weeks ago and talking about the concepts that are conveyed in the book and delivered through their services.
Stan gave me a copy of the book (thanks Stan) which I’ll refer back to many times but my method of choice for business books in to listen to them while I walk to meetings. Having spent an hour or so talking with Stan, this was particularly interesting to listen to because Stan’s humor comes across nicely throughout his reading.
The premise is simple – the companies that will win – really win – allow their managers (which trickle’s down to employees) to bring their values to work with them and live these values at work. The result is that everyone commits to what is important to themselves and the team as a whole. These values can be anything – the important thing is that they are recognized and respected. They might include creativity, accountability, family or others. Stan uses great use cases throughout the book. I’ve seen this happen, first hand, in a few companies.
I think that this value approach is what allowed the San Francisco Giants to win the World Series. They were a team. They had an agreed upon core purpose. The manager, Boche, became a leader because he brought the players along to this core purpose. It went a level higher, also. The executive staff had a core purpose that the management themselves bought into. The result is that the executive team, the management and the Giants employees all had their own values that they were living at work.
One result of this might have been unexpected – extreme fan (customer) loyalty. Sure, it’s easy to have raving fans when you’re kicking butt but the fans were raging before it looked like they would make the playoffs, and they continue to rage. The SF Giants (Virgin America might be right up there with them) spent more time thanking their fans than any other brand I can think of. Advertisements were built around their fans. Programs were built around their fans. Special days were built around their fans.
Back to the book. I think this book is for anyone (everyone) in any company at any size. It’s for executive, managers, and employees. It includes messages that I’ve heard during conversations with Tony Hsieh and Seth Godin. It’s for everyone. Do yourself a favor and read it. Stan is working on a follow-up book about building fiercely loyal Employee Cultures and is under contract with Penguin for a book on Customer Culture.