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The Culture Cycle: How to Shape the Unseen Force that Transforms Performance by James Heskett

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Introduction

An organization’s culture matters a lot. That’s what John Kotter and I concluded from a three-year study of the relationship between corporate culture and performance in the early 1990s. CEOs generally agree, although I’m left wondering whether some of them really believe it or whether it’s something they’ve been conditioned to say when reminded to do so. It’s confirmed by even the best (5-star) investment analysts on Wall Street, a group that we might assume would look only to financial measures in recommending investments. They told us that culture helps corporate performance in higher-performing firms and hurts it in lower-performing firms.1

But if culture is a force, it is an unseen force, most of the time taken for granted. ...

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