Our strategy tenets and our company values are the foundation of everything we do. We revisit these often to ensure we are living by our word. Even though we are a maturing company of five years, there are fun aspects of startup culture that we adopt.  We know that the future is shaped by the people we hire -- so we spend extra time thinking about how to make Dialexa better, beyond offering free lunches and ping pong tables.

We were motivated to start a Book Club because we found ourselves referring to books we had previously read often. There are so many great books on business, productivity, growth, design and operations so instead of one person benefiting from this knowledge, a Book Club was an opportunity for us to embrace continuous learning and teach each other more.

On a monthly basis, we select a book and a moderator. In March, we read and discussed Creativity, Inc. This month we are reading and discussing Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days.  We set rules of engagement for our Book Club:

  • Read one book per month.
  • You don’t need to read the book to participate/listen to the review.
  • Discuss book together at the end of the month during lunch on discussion date.
  • Leadership team will decide the book for the month.
  • The goal of the book club is to learn and apply new ways of thinking to our organization and grow our leadership capabilities.
  • Join our Slack Channel: #book_clubDownload_Four_Ways_Companies_Innovate_eBook

Our March discussion was lead by our COO, Brad Bush. He created a presentation with some questions related to Dialexa. The goal was to discuss how we could apply what we learned from the book into our company culture. Here is the presentation, followed by a short dialog of how we approached the dialog, so you have an idea of how we structured the discussion.

Brad: Let’s start with candor. I really like that word and it is not one we use at Dialexa a lot.  What does it mean to you?

Sarah: Criticize the idea, not the person.

Brad: How you frame the criticism is important.

Scott: It’s not just the person delivering, the receiver also has to focus on the goal. We are doing this to make things better.

Ben: Do we have environment where I feel safe? How do we indoctrinate them with candor?

Andrew: Timing and relevancy is key. Provide feedback in a timely manner and the receiver has to be open to receiving. How do you do this? You ask when it’s a good time to chat. Be a “better getter” of feedback.

I found the hour long discussion to be super insightful. The Book Club not only allows us to learn about new ideas but also learn from each other and discuss how we can make Dialexa better.

It may not seem like it at first glance, but ideas such as starting this book club are what help us create an innovative culture at the Dialexa office. However, there is much more that goes into becoming an innovative culture.

If you want to learn more about shifting your company culture to become more innovative, download our latest free eBook, The Four Ways Companies Innovate & How to Set Up Your Own Innovation Practice.


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