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Über dieses Buch

In the middle of the last decade, businesses have suffered serious harm due to the world-wide economic slowdown/great recession, geopolitical tensions and conflicts, and the very unpredictable nature of our government. In the process of staying the course, many business leaders have made a number of decisions and have taken a number of actions that have done harm to their relationships with their own employees. The resultant psychological contract told employees that their leaders were in it for themselves, for owners and stockholders, for positive reports from Wall Street, for their customer base … for every stakeholder group other than the people who work there. This book offers a road map for creating a more engaged, committed workforce by adopting and maintaining a People-Centric culture.

After describing why commitment and engagement are so important today, the author speaks to how mindsets that reflect an older business reality need to change before any sustainable change in behavior and work culture can occur. This book underscores the role that leaders need to play by embracing 10 Simple Truths that underlie long-term, sustainable business success. Some argue that we may be approaching the next recession, and it is in those down times that businesses will need their people most. Now is the time for leaders to proactively start earning that support and turn their people into their partners rather than just their hired hands.

With a case study that describes a true People-Centric leader and that demonstrates what it takes to lead a culture change, this book is a call to action for leaders everywhere to (a) become a People-Centric leader, (b) earn the right to lead others toward this end, and (c) align their company culture with the mindset and capabilities needed to produce and sustain long-term business success.

If you are not getting the best from your people, read this book with the goal of turning that around. You will find it to be a good blueprint for leaders who attempt to create a more People-Centric culture.



1. Setting the Stage

The introductory chapter is designed to set the stage for this book. I begin with a case example of a leadership team that needed to create a culture change in a workforce for which they had a broken relationship. This problem was of their own creation—and yet they still needed a culture change if the company were to succeed in a winner-take-all government contract competition. I also introduce the notion that it is only with the permission of people that any significant change can occur, and that it was up to this leadership team to see their role in creating and addressing the people-issues they helped to create in order to do this. That is the point—we need to understand the critical role that our people play in our success…and our role as leaders in securing their support now and tomorrow.
Larry Peters

2. Times Are a Changing – And So Is Everything Else

In this chapter, I discuss how changes in the business environment, especially due to the speed of change, can create surprise and risk, and, as a result, demand that businesses become more nimble and adaptable than ever before. I discuss how traditional ways of creating organizations have been aimed at the targets of stability and control, not nimbleness and adaptability. In this context, I talk about how today’s organizations are typically designed, managed, and led in ways that will make adaptability and change more difficult in a world that will reward the adaptable and punish those stuck in the status quo. In this chapter, I introduce the first three Simple Truths.
Larry Peters

3. Our Mindsets: The Answer Has Been Hiding in Plain Sight

This chapter speaks to how old mindsets produce old behaviors and old results in a new world. New ways of thinking about people as partners need to replace older, more traditional human-resource-based viewpoints. I develop the notion that, especially in times of change, businesses need the support of their people to embrace change and adapt quickly; to volunteer their best thinking and commitment. That means that leaders will have to change in order to earn that support by how they think about and treat their people every day. The alternative is to lose support when it is needed most. Two Simple Truths are introduced.
Larry Peters

4. What Does It Mean to Be a Partner?

This chapter introduces and explores the notion of being a partner, someone who regularly acts in ways to support the business, their customers, and each other. Partnership is a different role for people in our businesses—not in a legal sense, but in an attachment sense. Partners act with a mission to contribute and to do so in ways that might go far beyond a traditional understanding of a work role. They make decisions, they act, they speak up, they push back, they add ideas, they contribute creative ways of thinking about old problems, they take risks, and so forth. Partners do what needs to be done. In white water business realities, businesses need partners to respond in real time to the many challenges and opportunities that an increasingly faster changing business reality brings.
Larry Peters

5. Balance Matters

This chapter points out the importance of valuing all key stakeholders to a business. When leaders make one stakeholder group the only one they value, they often deliver results that serve that group well, but also often create undesired consequences involving other stakeholder groups. In this chapter, I underscore why the workforce has been traditionally undervalued as a stakeholder group and the consequences of that in terms of engagement and responsiveness in times of change. Undervalued people never become partners! Further, while I argue that a balanced stakeholder perspective is essential, I also introduce a “Circle of Growth®” argument that suggests a reasonable order to serving all stakeholders: people → customers → business. This notion provides a starting point for creating the kind of business where people are able and willing to serve their customers, who in turn deliver the business and financial results that all business leaders wish to produce. There are two Simple Truths covered in this chapter.
Larry Peters

6. Corporate Culture: It Takes More Than Donuts!

This chapter is about embedding People-Centric approaches into the company culture. It is the basis for long-term success, because in a white water world, we need to rely on our people in real time to address the issues and take advantage of the opportunities they encounter. I discuss how one key value needs to be held dear—adaptability. Organizations need to replace slow, numbing, begrudging change, with fast, engaging, and willing change, and this needs to become part of the culture. We cannot expect people to act in ways that support the business unless and until it is “how we do things around here.” This chapter covers two Simple Truths.
Larry Peters

7. Leading Culture Change: Moving from Here to There

This chapter is about leading change, specifically about principles and practices that support successful culture change. I have spent significant time in my career supporting leaders in their efforts to change their cultures. In this chapter, I describe my “top 10” list of change principles and practices that I’ve found invaluable. This is the most tactical chapter in the book—with the goal of providing a handrail for leaders who have the courage to attempt to create a People-Centric culture in their business.
Larry Peters

8. Leading Self and Others to a More People-Centric Being

Having supportive partners is not a given for people in leadership positions. We have to earn partners and that depends on how we show up as leaders. I argue that earning partners requires us to act with the highest level of respect, but in a broader and more comprehensive way. The R-E-S-P-E-C-T Model of leadership is both a goal and a path. It calls for building Relationships, Engaging people, Supporting growth and development, providing meaningful work to foster Pride of accomplishment, Empowering people, Caring about and for our people, and Thanking them for their contributions. In the second part of this chapter, I speak about what it takes to earn the right to lead others toward a more People-Centric viewpoint. Here I address the power and importance of being a People-Centric leader, and thus, modeling the way for others.
Larry Peters

9. Growing the Next Generation of People-Centric Leaders

In this chapter, I extend the conversation about being a People-Centric leader to helping others become more People-Centric in their leadership. I focus this chapter on why a leader should and how a leader can grow more leaders. I argue that being a role model is critical, but not enough. We also need to be intentional in helping others develop, starting with helping them understand the value of a People-Centric approach (i.e., developing a People-Centric mindset) and then supporting their development at a local level. I focus here on what leaders can do to incorporate key principles of adult learning (experience, feedback, and reflection) and three methods for impacting development (training, experience, and coaching).
Larry Peters

10. Leading a Culture Change Revolution: Your Leadership Challenge

This chapter speaks to and challenges readers who are ready to move forward…to bring a People-Centric model into their business and into their cultures. The last part of this chapter is a brief summary of key points from this book, with the goal of bringing the content together. This chapter ends with a call to action. There is one Simple Truth covered in this chapter:
Simple Truth #10: Your leadership Matters
Larry Peters

11. Corporate Culture and People-Centric Leadership at Beryl: An Interview with Paul Spiegelman

In the final chapter, I exemplify the main messages in this book by taking a look at a remarkable company, Beryl, and its founder and leader, Paul Spiegelman. Beryl is a call center, yes a call center, but as a business, and with and because of their culture, has been given a Best Place to Work Award nine times in the past two decades. This reflects their strong People-Centric culture, led by a true People-Centric leader. In the interview, Paul shares how he thinks about leadership, culture, their intersection, and creating changes in both how we lead and in our culture. I end this chapter, and the book, connecting the dots between Paul’s experience and viewpoint and the main messages in this book.
Larry Peters


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