Join getAbstract to access the summary!

The Culture Puzzle

Join getAbstract to access the summary!

The Culture Puzzle

Harnessing the Forces That Drive Your Organization’s Success


15 min read
7 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Use stories to explain how “we do things around here” and build the narrative of your corporate culture.

Editorial Rating



  • Analytical
  • Applicable
  • Engaging


Mario Moussa, Derek Newberry and Greg Urban offer an entertaining and instructive look at the importance of organizational culture. They explain that people live in an ocean of inspiring, resonating stories. These tales provide collective insights that allow people to manage the present and plan for the future. This works for modern corporations as it did for communities in the past. The authors explain how to use stories as the building blocks for a narrative that helps employees navigate and contribute to your organization and its goals. They reveal how leaders can draw on shared stories to vividly demonstrate to their people how “we do things around here.”


Develop a sustainable vision of the future based on understanding your company’s culture.

Leaders must take organizational culture into account to create plans for the future their people will embrace and their successors will follow. Otherwise, their vision can end in disastrous failure. Leaders may have the authority to mandate tremendous change, but orders alone don’t inspire people to act effectively.

Consider Pharaoh Akhenaten, who ruled Egypt in the 14th century BCE. He encouraged innovation, including creating a new religion with himself as the “Sun God,” but he did not endear himself to his people. After his death, Tutankhamun, his successor, brought back the old gods. The story of a Pharaoh defeated by his unwillingness to deal with the cultural norms of his day remains pertinent today. 

A modern example is Adam Neumann, who established WeWork. Neumann crafted a vision of an environment he hoped people would find so appealing it would boost their productivity. Investors bought into his vision and valued the company at $47 billion. But after a series of setbacks – somewhat fueled by Neumann’s hubris – the company...

About the Authors

Mario Moussa is the president of Moussa Consulting. Derek Newberry is an affiliated faculty member in the College of Liberal and Professional Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, where Greg Urban is the Arthur Hobson Quinn Professor of Anthropology. Moussa, Newberry and Madeline Boyer co-wrote Committed Teams: Three Steps to Inspiring Passion and Performance.

Comment on this summary

More on this topic