Cultural Transformations


pmwj46-may2016-Poulos-BOOKBook Title:   Cultural Transformations: Lessons of Leadership and Corporate Reinvention
Authors:       John Mattone and Nick Vaidya
Publisher:    Wiley
List Price:     $30.00     Format: Hardcover, 272 pages
Publication Date:   Jan 2016        ISBN: 978-1-119-05592-1
Reviewer:     John Poulos, PMP
Review Date: April 2016



The authors – John Mattone, a leading authority on leadership, talent and culture, and Nick Vaidya, Editor-in-Chief of The CIO Magazine and Managing Director of the CEO Leadership Institute – outline the challenges that form the premise of this book. They include:

  • To stay ahead in a rapidly changing and globalized economy, transformation has become an imperative, yet by some estimates, 75% of transformation initiatives fall short of their goals
  • Culture plays an essential role in creating and sustaining long-term growth and change
  • Leadership is key to creating a strong business culture and driving transformation
  • Companies worldwide are currently facing a massive leadership and corporate culture gap

On this foundation, they proceed to describe an overall framework and guide to developing strong and effective leadership that can shape culture and transformation. A series of interviews with a diverse mix of successful CEOs follows, serving to illustrate the challenges and accomplishment of these leaders, while reinforcing important themes of the case for transforming culture and closing the leadership gap.

Overview of Book’s Structure

The book is structured as follows:

Chapter 1 – Defines culture as comprising five culture building blocks (Capability, Commitment, Alignment, Individual Performance and Team Performance), notes the importance of culture and transformation, and establishes the vital role of leadership in driving this transformation. It also introduces proprietary frameworks, such as the Cultural Value Proposition and the Stealth Cultural Transformation Model, that help understand and apply the authors’ concepts to new situations.

Chapter 2 – Lays out the six critical steps to transforming culture, and emphasizes the central role that the CEO plays in this endeavor. Uses the Wheel of Intelligent Leadership framework, including the “Inner Core” and “Outer Core” traits, to show the richness of attributes and competencies that an outstanding leader should exhibit. It concludes with a roadmap for transformation.

Chapters 3 through 16 – Interviews with 14 accomplished CEOs from different world locations, backgrounds and leadership journeys. Compelling background stories and insights on culture, change, leadership and advice for new leaders.

Chapter 17 – Final thoughts and a call to action. Also makes the case for a proper assessment of the current situation, challenges and opportunities (“prescription before diagnosis is malpractice”).

Appendixes A and B – John Mattone’s 20 Laws of Intelligent Leadership and a Cultural Transformation Readiness Assessment template.


Most readers can relate to the challenges that this book is seeking to address. Corporate culture distinguishes many standout companies, but harnessing the potential of a transformative culture is not a simple undertaking. Complicating the task are the frequent mergers and acquisitions that bring different cultures and leadership models together under the same roof. Identifying and nurturing leaders from the top down is essential to reaping the benefits of such transactions and continuing to build value.


To read entire Book Review (click here)



About the Reviewer

John Poulos, PMP

Chile, USA




John Poulos has over thirty years of experience providing guidance on the effective use of information technology while delivering business-driven, technology-based solutions to a wide range of private and public sector organizations. In his current position as Senior Director of Cloud Services at NTT DATA, he manages strategic projects for NTT DATA/CS leadership, supporting growth and process maturity objectives of the practice. In addition, he delivers infrastructure and IT strategy consulting services to corporate and government clients. In prior positions, John provided IT consulting services across various industries and geographical regions. He managed complex projects for clients in private enterprise, higher education and government. John holds E.E. and Engineering Management degrees from Southern Methodist University, MIT, and The George Washington University. Email address: [email protected]


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