The Culture Club Book club

Book club | 07.03.2019

Alive at Work – Dan Cable

Our book shelf is always bursting at the seams with the latest reads. So, in the spirit of sharing, we decided to create a book club. Discover Nikki’s lightbulb moments in our book review of Alive at Work by Dan Cable.

What is Alive at Work all about?

Dan Cable’s ‘Alive at Work’ explains the neuroscience behind helping people love what they do. It mixes art with science through a bit of theory and stories from different organisations to explain how businesses and leaders can ignite our seeking systems and tap into our passion, creativity and purpose.

“If we get it right, work becomes an outlet that employees want”

It’s a brilliant book for communicators, leaders, change-makers and anyone who wants to understand how to create a culture where people light up.

Light bulb moments

It’s full of examples of why and how our seeking systems are activated through self-expression, experimentation and purpose. Here were my light bulb moments:

1. Put method behind the madness

I’ve spent years working in comms and engagement, constantly experimenting with interventions that work for people. Putting some science behind the thinking will help focus on the right things to spark real change in how people feel at work – particularly important during change.

2. Make small changes that make big differences

This isn’t about radical change or transformation programmes. Businesses are full of opportunities to make ‘small but consequential nudges’ that ignite our seeking system. Small changes to 1:1s, onboarding and how we support inclusion and change can have a disproportionately positive impact.

3. Be humble and human

In the book, humble and servant leadership is vital in helping people light up at work. But don’t just leave it to leaders. We should all think about how we can serve the people we work with every day. We’re all in it together.

4. Try, experiment and fail

Understand the science and then experiment with what works for you, your people and your organisation. The examples in the book prove that it takes some trying and failing along the way to get it right.

Hide or seek?

Are you set up to hide or seek? We can all help create a culture that helps us feel more alive at work:

  • As individuals: Think about our strengths and how we bring them to our roles. Challenge ourselves to apply our strengths in new ways every week.
  • As leaders: Help people find ways to express themselves authentically.
  • As organisations: Make sure at every opportunity, employee touchpoints are focused on the individual rather than the system.
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