What You Do is who you are

What You Do Is Who You Are | Ben Horowitz | William Collins

What You Do Is Who You Are : How to Create Your Business Culture

What You Do Is Who You Are – Financial Times Business Book of the Month 2019

What you say in your workplace hardly matters. Your actions define you and the culture around. What products a company designs and manufactures might define the company and its purpose but what drives them through the cut-throat competition swimmingly is how the leaders are able to maintain the environment. Pointing out what you are not supposed to do, can actually have an adverse effect on the teams. On the contrary, listing out the stuff you’d want people to carry out can improve your culture many folds. It is not the question of ‘how’ but a question of ‘what’.

What You Do Is Who You Are Book Review

 

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So, this was the first book that I read of Ben Horowitz and I am definitely impressed. I had heard of ‘The Hard Thing about Hard Things’ but we all know how our TBR list goes like. He draws on examples from the past and how they are applicable till date. He uses four major examples of Louverture (Haitian Revolution), the Samurais, Shaka Senghor and Genghis Khan.  These four seemingly different examples had one thing in common. They were able to achieve the unexpected simply because of the strong culture they were able to cultivate for themselves.

If you read management books once in a while, you must be aware of the famous phrase, ‘Culture eats strategy for breakfast’ used by Peter Drucker. I used to agree with it, till Horowitz here pointed something so obvious that now I am embarrassed how dumb I had been. Strategy and culture have to be in sync in order to make a company successful. It’s like comparing apples and oranges. Both are necessary in your diet. Facebook’s OG motto of “move fast and break things” would never go well for Airbus and this is why a company has to cultivate its unique culture on the basis of their products and ultimately what their strategy is.

Coming back to the text, Horowitz writes in a no nonsensical manner and I completely dig it. He is a huge hip-hop fan and we can find him quoting the likes of Drake and Chance The Rapper, which I loved. I always like finding lyrics in my books. Also, the comparisons he drew between the ancient cultures to the modern tech start-ups was marvelous. Also, he is hilarious. He is the kind of guy I would love to work with and I really hope I can use some of the stuff that I learnt in the corporate set-up where I am going to step in pretty soon. Also, he mentions how managers and CEOs should behave and I feel like some might be offended with it, BUT THE TRUTH HAS BEEN SPOKEN.

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