You Can Culture is not just a compelling read, it’s also a transformative journey that empowers you to evolve into the leader you aspire to be.

DR. MARSHALL GOLDSMITH, Thinkers50 #1 executive coach and New York Times bestselling author

Coming October 2024.
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The habits in this book will make you a more ethical and effective leader, empowering you to build a thriving culture.

In the pursuit of performance and reputation, it’s tempting to overlook the actual health of your organizational culture. Before long, however, ominous symptoms often emerge—disengagement, division, dysfunction, silence, and destructive behavioral patterns—hindering you from delivering on your mission and strategy and eroding trust with your team, clients, and other crucial stakeholders. But there is a better way.

Having personally endured the devastating effects of growing up in a toxic cult, Tobias Sturesson committed his career to helping large purpose-driven organizations overcome their most daunting culture challenges, motivated by a vision of a world free from destructive workplace culture. On his quest, he made a crucial discovery: that, just like our physical health, achieving a thriving culture requires a change of habits.

Drawing from his extensive experience and in-depth interviews with numerous renowned researchers, experts, and executives from well-known organizations, Tobias has identified the four most crucial and timeless culture-building leadership habits.

You Can Culture is your meticulously researched guide to these habits, laid out in twelve actionable practices. Suitable for managers and executives alike, You Can Culture empowers you to strengthen trust, transform your culture, be a values-based leader, and leave a lasting legacy of positive change.

Praise for You Can Culture

“An actionable guide to overcoming organizational dysfunction and sustaining a thriving culture. A must-read!”

Frank Blake, former CEO, The Home Depot

You Can Culture is not just a compelling read, it’s also a transformative journey that empowers you to evolve into the leader you aspire to be. By taking small, yet significant steps to integrate the habits and practices outlined in this book, you’ll build a thriving culture that drives results and positively impacts both people and the planet.”

Dr. Marshall Goldsmith, Thinkers50 #1 executive coach and New York Times bestselling author of The Earned Life, Triggers, and What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

“In a world facing headwinds of enormous magnitude, this is a necessary book.”

Bertrand Badré, former group CFO and managing director, The World Bank

You Can Culture is a helpful guide for every leader striving to drive change and cultivate a values-based corporate, and a reminder that while cultural health doesn’t come for free, it is well worth the investment.”

Maria Hemberg, former chief legal officer and general counsel, Volvo Cars

“If you’re ready to roll up your sleeves and commit to transforming your workplace culture, this book will be an impactful guide.”

Klaus Moosmayer, chief ethics, risk, and compliance officer, and member of the executive committee, Novartis

You Can Culture is something unusual—raw and deeply personal, as Tobias candidly shares his experiences within toxic environments, with numerous practical examples from organizations of all sizes that are immensely actionable and thoroughly researched.”

Josh Linkner, five-time tech entrepreneur, New York Times bestselling author, and venture capitalist

“It’s a valuable resource for leaders who desire to build trusted and thriving organizations.”

Sandra Sucher, professor of management practice, Harvard Business School; author of The Power of Trust

“Everybody talks about culture, but there’s very little good practical literature on exactly how to do it. If you’re a leader, you MUST culture, and this book is a great guide for your journey.”

ROB CHESNUT, former chief ethics officer and general counsel, Airbnb; author of Intentional Integrity

You Can Culture grabs a reader from the first sentence with a fearless personal revelation, then moves into many pages of well-considered, actionable tactics for improving the performance of your employee culture. And yet, this remarkable book never loses sight of the humanity that cultures represent and the ultimate responsibility of the enterprise to protect it. This book is worth reading, recommending, and reading again.”

STAN SLAP, New York Times bestselling author of Under the Hood: Fire Up and Fine- Tune Your Employee Culture and Bury My Heart at Conference Room B

“Culture profoundly influences every aspect of an organization—whether people collaborate effectively, take ownership of the mission, voice critical concerns, or innovate with their best ideas. In You Can Culture, Tobias Sturesson offers a compelling blend of research-backed strategies, profound personal stories, and actionable advice, empowering leaders to uphold essential values and cultivate thriving cultures that drive sustainable results.”

MEGAN REITZ, adjunct professor of leadership and dialogue, Hult Business School; author of Speak Up; Thinkers50 ranked thinker 2023

“In today’s rapidly changing business landscape, many organizations recognize the vital importance of evolving their culture to align with strategic goals and core values. Yet, many leaders often find it easier to delegate the change challenge to HR to “fix,” instead of taking charge. In You Can Culture, Tobias Sturesson offers a practical guide to change, with actionable steps that every leader can take to foster a thriving culture. By cultivating these timeless leadership habits, you’ll see tangible results . . . and your team and organization will thank you for it!”

SIOBHAN MCHALE, executive general manager: people, culture, and change at DuluxGroup; author of The Insider’s Guide to Culture Change

“Tobias’s passion for fostering healthy organizations is truly inspiring. His profound knowledge is evident as he draws upon personal lessons learned the hard way, and insights from academic and professional communities. Building responsible organizations is hard work, and You Can Culture doesn’t offer shortcuts or quick fixes. Instead, this excellent book serves as a practical guide to achieving lasting impact and genuine change..”

ANNA ROMBERG, executive vice president of sustainability, legal and compliance, Getinge; cofounder of The Nordic Business Ethics Initiative

“Starting with a personal story that will knock your socks off, Tobias Sturesson integrates his own experience and wisdom with examples from successful organizations and experts to provide an engaging, easy-to-digest, and practical guide to building and maintaining a healthy organizational culture. ”

JIM DETERT, professor of business administration at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business and author of Choosing Courage: The Everyday Guide to Being Brave at Work

“When done right, culture is the most powerful competitive advantage we need to thrive, win, and build unstoppable momentum. In You Can Culture, Tobias provides a vital playbook for heart-based leaders, culture champions, and every one of us who strives to make purposeful decisions and values-led actions. Get this book, it’s the best decision you can make!”

PAUL EPSTEIN, former NFL and NBA executive and bestselling author of Better Decisions Faster and The Power of Playing Offense

You Can Culture is an accessible, yet profound read, filled with compelling stories and eye-opening insights to help any leader lead better.”

BOB LANGERT, retired VP of sustainability, McDonald’s Corporation; author of The Battle to Do Good

“In You Can Culture, Tobias Sturesson offers readers a journey through the real-life experiences of numerous organizational leaders dealing with reputational risk, scandal, and toxic cultures—and via his own personal and compelling story of challenge and redemption—in order to distill a short list of mindsets and everyday practices that can place leaders on a path to building and sustaining healthy, ethical, and effective organizations. This readable book is both practical and inspiring!”

MARY C. GENTILE, professor of ethics, UVA Darden School of Business; author of Giving Voice to Values

“Given the frequent corporate scandals in the news, there is an urgent need for integrity in leadership for any company that seeks to be trusted. Yet, while managing ethics and fostering cultural health are vital, many leaders lack the necessary skills. You Can Culture is a clarion call to care for your culture and offers an immensely practical toolbox to get it done. If you want to keep your company from ending up in the news for the wrong reasons, pick up this book today!”

GUIDO PALAZZO, professor of business ethics at the University of Lausanne

“Cultural health is vital for strategy execution, value alignment, and attracting top talent. Yet many managers lack the tools to shape it effectively. You Can Culture offers a practical guide to developing leadership habits that will transform your team and company culture.”

MELISSA DAIMLER, chief learning officer at Udemy and author of ReCulturing: Design Your Company Culture to Connect with Strategy and Purpose for Lasing Success

“While companies and organizations can indeed be a powerful force for good, achieving true transformation requires leaders to prioritize long-term, concrete actions over mere talk or temporary solutions. In You Can Culture, Tobias Sturesson draws on his harrowing experience in a toxic environment and extensive expertise in helping leaders cultivate thriving cultures to present four evidence-based leadership habits that will not only enhance your organization’s success, but also empower it to become a force for good in the world and promote workplace flourishing. Embrace this invaluable gift!”

E M M A I H R E , head of sustainability, Embracer Group

“The world is teeming with kitschy handbooks and crude recipes for changing organizational culture, as though it were simple and straightforward. We’ve known for decades that leaders who ignore toxic cultures do so at their own peril. But, if you happen to be a leader who understands that shaping and sustaining a healthy culture is critical for your strategy and long-term success, you’re holding one of the best guidebooks (by one of the best guides) you could have.”

RON CARUCCI, managing partner, Navalent; author of To Be Honest

“Tobias’s voice is cogent, informed, passionate, and authentic. This compelling and powerful book can truly make a difference for new and experienced leaders alike.”

STEVEN ROGELBERG, PhD, chancellor’s professor, UNC Charlotte; author of Glad We Met: The Art and Science of One-on-One Meeting

The Four Culture-Building Habits of Values-Driven Leaders
Habit 1: Get Humble
The Habit at a Glance
As leaders, we will, at times, realize that we have acted in conflict with our mission or values, become a part of hindering behavioral patterns, or begun to accept a lack of cultural health. When these issues are hidden, disregarded, or not dealt with consistently and urgently, there is a risk of breaking trust and impairing our ability to fulfill the mission, build a thriving workplace, and have a responsible impact. However, by embracing vulnerability, taking ownership, and actively working to repair broken trust, we can avoid pitfalls and transform our cultural health.
Practice 1: Embrace Vulnerability
To avoid willful blindness and the effects of a lack of cultural health, we shouldn’t assume that our culture is healthy; instead, openly admit that we are vulnerable and have the potential to veer off course from our mission and values, even with good intentions. Embracing vulnerability and admitting our challenges and mistakes strengthens trust and a culture of learning.
Practice 2: Take Ownership
Culture is always cocreated. To transform our cultural health, we must stop blaming others and recognize how we, as leaders, have contributed to the cultural challenges at hand. When we take ownership, focus on what we can control or influence, and begin to change the behaviors we model, encourage, or condone, we can inspire change and build trust and commitment with the people we lead.
Practice 3: Repair Broken Trust
When we’ve failed to act in line with our mission and values, overlooked cultural challenges, or caused harm, we need to repair broken trust and our cultural health by (1) acknowledging the harm we’ve contributed to and offering a sincere apology, (2) explaining what went wrong, and (3) clarifying how we will act differently in the future. Even if the fault is not directly ours, addressing the issue is our responsibility.
Habit 2: Get Clear
The Habit at a Glance
Many values statements are vague, disconnected from the mission, and seldom prioritized or consistently adhered to, leading to a lack of integrity and clarity around cultural priorities and hindering strategy execution. To build and sustain cultural health, we must clarify our most important values, celebrate the right behaviors, and deal with unhelpful or destructive behavior.
Practice 4: Make Values Matter
To make our values matter and shape our culture, we must be clear on what we are unwilling to compromise and identify behaviors crucial for delivering on our mission and strategy. This necessitates an ongoing process of reflection, leading by example even when it becomes costly, and contextualizing our values to ensure their relevance in the daily work lives of our team members.
Practice 5: Celebrate the Right Behaviors
We get what we celebrate. By actively and consistently recognizing and celebrating behaviors that align with our mission and values, we bolster employee engagement and help align our culture with our strategic objectives and most important values. It requires a creative approach, a dedicated focus on the culture we aspire to build, and a sincere investment in understanding and valuing our team members.
Practice 6: Deal with Unhelpful or Destructive Behavior
Unchecked unhelpful or destructive behavior, especially when demonstrated by high performers, tends to spread. To cultivate cultural health, we must give caring, humble, and direct feedback and be consistent and transparent in dealing with unhelpful or destructive behavior. We must pledge to only communicate values we are truly committed to adhere to even when it gets costly.
Habit 3: Get Listening
The Habit at a Glance
When team members don’t speak up or their voices go unheard, we lose critical insight into dilemmas, concerns, and opportunities for learning, improvement, and growth. As leaders, we often overestimate our listening ability and underestimate how hard it can be to give feedback or raise concerns. To break the silence, transform our cultural health, and avoid pitfalls, we must get listening by soliciting feedback, creating conditions for brave conversations, and exercising voicing our values.
Practice 7: Solicit Feedback and Break the Silence
Recognizing that speaking up is often much more challenging than we assume, we must actively solicit feedback to break the silence, asking people where, not if, we fall short of our mission and values. It starts by understanding how our power might silence others and how internal objections prevent people from speaking up.
Practice 8: Create Conditions for Brave Conversations
Why do some team members remain silent during crucial discussions? It’s easy to assume they have nothing to say, but that is often inaccurate. Adopting a meeting designer mindset and creating the right conditions for brave conversations ensures that more voices are heard. It increases psychological safety, minimizes gossip and misunderstandings, and strengthens cultural health and alignment.
Practice 9: Exercise Voicing Values
Providing opportunities for both ourselves and our team members to practice courage, articulating our values, and expressing concerns effectively fosters an environment where everyone can advocate for values and safeguard our cultural health, even when the pressure is on.
Habit 4: Get Integrity
The Habit at a Glance
Too often there’s conflict between the values we claim and the signals we send. We might, for example, say we want teamwork but incentivize only individual performance. To avoid mixed signals, we must ensure that the stories we tell, the rituals we design, and the processes and incentives we set embody our mission and values and sustain our cultural health.
Practice 10: Share Stories That Embody Mission and Values
The stories we share can authentically embody our mission, reinforce our values, and strengthen our culture or be ineffective and even become instruments of manipulation. To improve our cultural health, we need to embrace the role of storytellers, lead by example, rethink the stories we tell, and consider the methods we employ to tell them.
Practice 11: Design Culture-Building Rituals
Every team engages in rituals where relationships are built, stories are told, priorities are set, and decisions are made. These rituals greatly impact the health of our teams and the quality of our pro- fessional relationships. To sustain cultural health, we must design culture-building rituals that foster connection and ongoing conversations about our mission, values, and behaviors.
Practice 12: Rethink Incentives and Processes for Cultural Health
Too often, there’s a dissonance between the values we claim and the signals we send through our incentives and processes. To gain integ- rity, we must ensure that our incentives and processes don’t foster dangerous tensions but instead help sustain cultural health over time. It requires committed effort and continuous adjustments.

Meet Tobias Sturesson

Having grown up in a religious cult and later confronted its toxic culture, Tobias Sturesson evolved into a prominent advocate for the vital importance of cultural health for organizational success and human flourishing. His advice is sought-after by leaders facing their most daunting culture challenges, whether navigating rapid growth or dealing with the fallout of a highly publicized scandal.

As the cofounder of Heart Management, a culture change agency with a vision of a world free from destructive workplace culture, he has designed high-impact culture and leadership programs and trained thousands in values-driven leadership globally. His clients include many purpose-driven large corporations and organizations. Tobias hosts the top-ranked Leading Transformational Change podcast, featuring biweekly conversations with renowned researchers, executives, and experts on culture, management, and ethics.

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