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Book Review: The Culture Code

Book Review

“The Culture Code is a power business book, but in recent times it’s actually a great book to give insights on corruption, toxic cultures and what it takes to really turn that around. The culture code, on reflecting to police brutality & Black Lives Matter.”


Hi, it’s Ahmed again, it’s been a while since I’ve recorded one of these. So I figured that this is probably as good of a spot as any I’ve been keeping up on my walking every day.


And I’m fortunate to be up here, excuse the funny glasses. I love these glasses. Because one of the benefits of getting older is like, just doing some crazy things. Speaking of crazy things, the last few weeks have been pretty crazy.

And today I want to talk about a book that I’ve been thinking about a lot in the last few weeks. It’s a book called The Culture Code. It’s an amazing book because it helped me grow as a leader significantly, actually recommended it to other business leaders, who, who basically, you know, told me that was one of the best books I’ve ever read about culture about corporations. It’s probably around organizational behavior.

Now, what does culture code have to do with anything else outside of running a business and making money? Well, I think it actually has to do with a lot. And it’s especially relevant to the events going on to these days. We’ve seen Ahmaud Arbery, we’ve seen, you know, George Floyd. And this is a really big problem that we have. And it’s actually, in my opinion, a cultural issue. Because when I was watching, you know, I kind of wish I didn’t watch it, but I’m glad everybody did see it. When I was watching the video around Ahmaud Arbery, it was it was clear to see what kind of culture what kind of mindset the killers had, they obviously felt justified, they felt somehow, you know, in the right. And what’s really messed up is, you know, that was a more overt form of hate and racism.

What was really crazy is watching the video of George Floyd’s death, it was just It was heartbreaking. I mean, one of the reasons I haven’t done videos recently is because I didn’t have words to say. After watching that my first thought was, you know, the culture of the police department needs to be changed. I know everybody’s looking at those three officers, or four officers and they’re blaming them, they want them arrested. I don’t think that’s going enough. going far enough. And I talked about it then is that it’s not going far enough because what I saw in that video was something far more nefarious, it is a culture. It’s like gang culture. Unfortunately, it’s like gang culture where you protect your homies, you protect your boys.

And it wasn’t just like all white police officers going against a black man. It was the racism institutionalized racism from a diverse group of police officers, which is really fucked up. Because that’s when you realize that racism isn’t just one race of people doing it. To another race, it can be institutional, right? It can be institutionalized, which is what we saw play out there was an Asian police officer who was standing there. And, you know, there’s some part of your brain that tells you what’s going on is wrong. But then you train yourself enough, you’ve trained yourself enough to go, “Hey, you know, what I really have to do is protect my buddies. That’s to protect us against them, us against them, us against them”.

And you see this being played out everywhere. You see this in the protests where police are really hunkering down and like going against the protesters, and unfortunately, today’s video is probably gonna piss everybody off because I’m not gonna take the police side and I’m not going to take the protester side. I’ve protested myself so obviously, I feel very strongly about it. But I feel that both the culture code is important for all of us to understand right now.

On the one side, you know, that culture has got to go that culture have us against them has to go. If there is a police, that’s them. That’s the problem, right? Fortunately, I’ve worked with the police in the past, I’ve worked in the hundred third precinct in New York. And it wasn’t “us against them” thing. I worked with some really fine officers who really wanted to protect and serve. And I’ve had, unfortunately, run ins not myself personally, but I had other occupants in my vehicle who got treated very unfairly by the cops because of their race.

So, back to the culture issue. That kind of culture takes time and somebody actually inoculate or put that into these officers heads. And that’s got to change when I saw that and I looked at it. As a leader, I look at that and I go, you know what, just punishing these four officers will do nothing to change the system. So in retrospect, I’m actually really glad that The City of Minneapolis decided to dismantle the police department. My original thought was when I saw that I felt really helpless. And I thought that the only way that you can really realistically change that culture is to fire the chief. I don’t care what race the chief is, I don’t care what all of these other things are. But culture goes top to bottom. And leaders have an extraordinary amount of influence on the culture. So anybody who can fire the rest of the department and say, “This is not cool, this will not be tolerated” they can put their foot down. The leadership has never put their foot down. They’ve always been like, “oh, we’ll support you in whatever they whatever it is that you do. And you know, let’s reinforce the same thing like protect your buddies, fuck everyone else, just protect your buddies, and we’re your buddies”. That’s got to change.

My initial thought was, every time one of these shootings happen every time excessive force happens. It’s not just enough to punish one police officer. their bosses need to be punished The mayor needs to be kicked out. Like it’s a failure of leadership. And that leadership needs to be replaced at the very least. Of course, now there’s the movement for defund the police and you know, dismantling the police, I can kind of understand. But whatever it is that we replace it with.

And this is the part that’s going to piss everyone off. Probably the other side of people off this volatility that we’re seeing right now. You know, it’s understandable, I feel upset. I feel like something needs to be done. But there’s something else that I do know in my years of like, trying to build things. Passion is great. The spark is great, the flame is great. But that flame burning everything down without purpose like as we’ve seen in the Arab Spring, there’s a lot of energy a lot of look at their world right now. It’s worse off than before, what the what the Arab world and many other places really needed as a cultural changes. culture change, so that the same thing doesn’t perpetuate.

I fear that right now we’re protesting, we have a very short attention span, that after we stop protesting, you know, the actual inner culture doesn’t really change. I really hope that’s not the case this time. Because if you look at it, if you look at good leadership, if we refer right back to The Culture Code, it is really hard a dreary, uphill work, uphill battle, to actually change culture. And I hope what comes out of all of this is an actual cultural change in whatever policing that we have in the future, actual cultural change in systemic bias, systemic racism. And it’s not just again, from one race to another, it can happen in every every single form. So I highly recommend checking out the culture code that’s going to help you as a business leader, and I think it’ll give you some very interesting context as to what’s going on now. Thanks.