Colin Ellis’ latest book Culture Fix: How to Create a Great Place to Work is the latest offering in a more than thirty year career in the professional and private sector as one of the more forward thinkers on the subject of organizational culture. His talents and ideas are not meant for the boardroom or office alone; they are applicable to any hierarchical organizational structure, like sports teams or non-profits, Culture Fix reflects a great deal of the author’s personality without ever interfering with the book’s aims and this personal quality distinguishes Culture Fix from many other books of this type. This feature of the book’s presentation helps readers of every ilk engage the material in a closer fashion without ever losing sight of its key functions. Making this material more personable for the reader is one of its many masterstrokes.
Another of the book’s core strengths is how seamlessly Ellis weaves his voice into the text. The personal quality of Culture Fix helps convey its ideas to readers with greater ease, I think, than if he maintained an objective stance throughout the book. It is easy to trust his voice; his credentials reinforce this, but Ellis discourses on the subject with such disarming ease that we are drawn into his web. It helps makes potentially complex issues like innovation, collaboration, and vision digestible for readers of any level or type.
He builds the book in such a way that readers can mine it for whatever information they need rather than reading the text from beginning to end. A hypothetical reader who heads an organization and seeks guidance may only have problems connected to vision and, as a result, needs to focus on that particular pillar instead of delving into the other five comprising Ellis’ concept of culture. Other readers may be starting from scratch and need to take the entire book on. It is another of Ellis’ impressive achievements that he has written a book with such utility rather than a narrowly tailored text.
He has the right background to take him seriously, but Ellis doesn’t rely on that alone. He supports Culture Fix with a lot of supporting sources rather than forcing readers to rely on his conclusions alone and the research underlines his ideas and theories. The book brims with a wealth of insights big and small into what drives successful cultures and how to realize such an organizational environment, but it has an air of common sense as well – no one will disagree with central points he makes about the necessity of a healthy culture for organizational and/or commercial success.
It isn’t Ellis’ first writing on the subject, but it could stand as his last. Culture Fix: How to Create a Great Place to Work has an authoritative tone without ever browbeating the reader and the honesty of his approach will inspire confidence in readers and likely prompt them to return to the text whenever needed. It is a down to earth yet intelligent addition to non-fictional literature on the subject.