Review: “Build It” by Glenn Elliott & Debra Corey

By Glenn Elliott & Debra Corey

The title may be very long, but the content is crisp, concise and pragmatic. In thirty years as a trainer, this is the best book I have read. It had the most all round positive response from the business book club too. I normally use a small sticky to mark where I have found useful information. This book looks spikier than a hedgehog with them!

What I really like about this book is that each chapter starts with what the objectives are and the key points to be covered. Setting expectations is something we focus on at the start of all our courses, as it helps create certainty of where you are being led. The chapters end with real life examples of ‘rebel’companies successfully applying the principles.

The reading style is easy with engaging graphics and format. Their Engagement Bridge model™ is straightforward and makes total sense. Each chapter builds up the next block on the bridge to conclude with the total structure. The other aspect I liked was numerous internet links to videos, interviews and research, as well as relevant quotes from successful rebels. My favourite of these was the monkey and the cucumber in relation to pay being a brutal demotivator.

This book arrived the day I released my September article and it was reassuring to find the recommendations of Build It matched my own.

The evidence is that the old way of treating people at work has failed. The global culture is changing rapidly. If you want to become a rebel and join some of the world’s most successful companies, then I commend this book to you.

If I were to share all the insights I took from this book, I would end up re-writing the book! Here are my top five.

  • Employee engagement – The scene is set with this quote from the Harvard Business Review 2014 – 71% of business leaders said employee engagement was critical to the success of businesses, but only 24% of them said their workforces were engaged. I believe that too often people recognise what is important, but do not apply that knowledge. The difference between knowledge and wisdom.
  • Rebelution – This is a term created by the authors to describe those entrepreneurs or companies that are prepared to do something different. This resonated with me, as it is not about fighting what went before, but carving a new path to success. It is also about building your ‘rebel’ army of those you need on your side to have impact.
  • Values – Keep in mind that your values have a critical role to play in delivering against your mission. If they don’t do this, change them. Make sure you embed your values so employees understand and can relate to them. Values have to be front and centre in the design of workspaces, because, if not, you’re missing a trick. Values should ooze off the walls, as employees are reminded of them as they go about their work.

make sure you can articulate the story and vision really clearly and succinctly; you’re going to have to repeat it a couple of hundred times each year’ Bill Collis, President at Foundry.

This endorses the message in our Speaking as a Leader course.

  • Failure – Rebels design roles that have enough freedom for people to fail, because this provides freedom to develop. Making mistakes and learning to fix them is less costly than the hidden cost of preventing growth, development and innovation by too much process.

This resonated with me in the current culture of not letting children fail, which prevents them learning ways to cope with the reality of life. At some time, you will fail or make mistakes. You need the resilience to pick yourself up and carry on.

  • Wellbeing is no longer a ‘nice to do’ for companies; it is a ‘have to do’. It needs an integrated approach. This chapter was a favourite as it is something I feel strongly about and there were some great examples of how to improve wellbeing.

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