Summary of The Critical Few

Looking for the book?
We have the summary! Get the key insights in just 10 minutes.

The Critical Few book summary

Editorial Rating



  • Analytical
  • Innovative
  • Applicable


If your company’s efforts to shift its culture have fallen short, strategic adviser Jon Katzenbach offers a solution. He and co-authors Gretchen Anderson and James Thomas provide a blueprint for seamlessly aligning your culture with your business goals. Traditional culture change plans often fail because they’re off-target and overly complex. To avoid stumbling, focus on three critical emotional aspects of culture: “traits, keystone behaviors and authentic informal leaders.” Katzenbach’s formula derives from more than 40 years in consulting. His insights prove a valuable resource for guiding your organization through its journey of transformation.

About the Authors

Jon Katzenbach is founder of the Katzenbach Center at Strategy&, the strategy consulting arm of PwC, and has advised companies worldwide for more than 45 years. James Thomas is a partner with PwC’s Strategy& and leads the Katzenbach Center in the Middle East. Gretchen Anderson is a director at the Katzenbach Center.


Culture determines an organization’s potential.

Company’s typically strive toward the goals of satisfying customers, offering exceptional products and services, making money, and having a positive impact on society. But those objectives often fade as time passes. Leaders and employees lower their expectations and lose sight of how culture influences prosperity. Boards fire their CEOs when companies fall short of financial expectations, though the underlying problem often proves to be failure to provide sufficient structure, direction and motivation for the workforce.

Within a company, people’s collective actions, emotions and values define the culture. Culture establishes suitable behaviors and norms. Do leaders expect meetings to begin promptly at your company? Can employees have a snack or check their phones during presentations? Company culture is often difficult to define, but provides an unofficial framework for acceptable ways of conducting business.

Organizational operations normally function with these components:

  • “Business strategy” – Consensual agreement on how to...

Comment on this summary

More on this topic

By the same authors

Mastering Collaboration
Connection Culture
A CEO Only Does Three Things
The Economics of Higher Purpose
Accountable Leaders
The Science of Dream Teams
The Conscience Code

Related Channels