Far from the average business book, Culture Code Champions gives readers a firsthand and real-life account of how Bill Higgs created a high-performance team culture at Mustang Engineering. It’s a cultural blueprint that helped Bill build Mustang into a multi-billion-dollar enterprise and begs the question of leaders in every industry, “What is your current company culture costing you?”
The conversation around company culture isn’t a new one, but like any major project, Bill Higgs noticed some scope creep; something was getting off track. For years now, “company culture” in modern parlance is an outward-facing practice. It’s become something performative that leaders have to say/do to seem relevant, employees seek as a perk, and clients and investors check off their lists for peace of mind. It’s more style than substance, and leaders are paying a more dire price than they realize.
Based on the principles and common-sense practices that helped build Bill’s company, Mustang Engineering, into a multi-billion dollar success story, Culture Code Champions recounts how Bill and his co-founders achieved a level of success that only six out of every million startups accomplish, then zooms out to prescribe a way forward that can be easily mapped onto any organization at nearly any starting point.
“The company changed the lives of its people, their families, the vendors and clients they served, and the communities where they lived. This resulted from creating an energetic, positive work environment that spirals people’s attitudes upward,” Bill said of the culture he built. It’s far from one-size fits all though, he advises, “As you read this book, think about how you could tweak what we did to match your organization. It has to be authentic and needs to come from the heart, or it will not become a habit and your people will not perpetuate it for your sake or theirs.”
There is value to be found by anyone who picks up Culture Code Champions. Whether you’re the CEO of a global Fortune 500 organization, an HR professional tasked with building a culture, a founder of your own business, an aspiring entrepreneur, or the leader of a scout troop, a church group, and any other organization or community group, this book is for you.
Shortly after it’s release, Culture Code Champions achieved #1 Bestseller on Amazon in the categories of Workplace Behavior, Business Conflict Resolution & Mediation, and Workplace Culture.
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“This is one of the most important books you will read on devel- oping leadership skills through a focus on culture. I’ve studied the best coaches and teams in college sports and the winners have a tight-knit, branded culture they can rally around. The culture of continuous improvement and taking care of each other allows the team to perform in an extraordinary manner under intense pressure. We have many serious challenges in today’s world. This book provides a plan and path to achievement by being inclusive and making heroes of others.”
“I’ve had the privilege to work with the millennial and Gen X generations for my entire career, and building a strong culture has been paramount in my success. Higgs’ leadership formula for building dynamic teams will help you attract and keep all generations including the Gen Z folks who are just entering the workforce. By implementing the habits he provides, you will sell and perform better than your competition. Higgs’ energy is infectious… tap into it. Make this the business book your team reads together and implements!”
“When you think about making heroes as described in Culture Code Champions, it might seem corny in the moment, but this is a very real human desire. Who doesn’t want to be an Olympic gold medalist, a world-famous artist, or a revered business leader? These are meaningful accomplishments individually, but the real power is realized when a team of people collectively achieve a common goal. As people we want to not only be suc- cessful individually, but also to be part of something bigger than ourselves, part of a successful team so that those feelings of success and exhilaration that you get with achievement can be shared and appreciated with other people. That’s where the culture of making heroes comes in. It’s about getting every person on the broadest team you can imagine to be focused on doing every- thing they can do to make those around them a hero every day. When you create this culture, the power of positive momentum is unstoppable!" “I had the good fortune to feel what it was like to work in this type of culture as a Mustanger for over seventeen years. I was part of a work family that believed in the talents of the people and created a culture that truly believed that, together, we could do anything. The real differentiator was the making heroes culture. Now, as the founder and CEO of a new business, my team is working to create that same culture and build the next $1 billion company filled with heroes using Bill’s blueprint.”
“I love reading books about people that actually make things happen ... especially around culture and values. Everyone has a culture ... it is how you get things done. Culture Code Champions is about creating a culture that positively changes people’s lives. I have found that business success is all about people and creating an environment of trust and respect where folks want to do their very best every day. As we grew from a local to a national brand, our culture was twice as important as our strategy in maintaining our teams and delivering quality. This book is written by a man that makes it happen ... be it in the military, leading in the Boy Scouts, or in the field of business. In our world today, the truths in this book are needed now more than ever.”
“Creating a great working environment invigorates people because they are working together as a team. In Culture Code Champions, Higgs correctly notes that people will have more energy, engage with their family, and help in the community because they enjoy their job. He was exposed to a strong culture as a young person in scouting and expanded that knowledge through experiences at West Point and in the US Army. I’ve watched Higgs continuously work to connect people and help them become overachievers. This book will help you do the same.”
“Culture Code Champions provides a clear and concise formula to create a culture that delivers world-class team dynamics in any organization. We used these techniques to break down silos at NASA after the Columbia disaster as we undertook better com- munication, cross-training, and pushed the idea that we needed to make each other successful. Problem solving is always more about people than technology and Higgs shows how to win the hearts and minds of the team members to get better performance. I was confident in our team three years later when I gave the ‘go for launch’ command at the Kennedy Space Center. I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants to lead teams.”
“Culture Code Champions outlines exceptional tactics to build a world-class culture that is scalable and nimble enough to fit any size organization. I have used these leadership principles in both the US Air Force and multiple Fortune 100 companies ... your people will be happy, more productive and drive success. Hiring right, putting your people first and building a rock-solid culture seems basic. However, when leading large teams of people, it can become complex very quickly. Take notes in the margins and put this knowledge to work!”
“I am not a Mustanger. Or maybe I am. I was Bill’s ‘client,’ before Mustang started. As a young project supervisor for ARCO, we connected on several key ideas—all of which have made my success—and all of which you will get from this book. Here are a few examples and questions Bill answers: Be ruthlessly selfish about attracting the best talent: The best teams are made up of the best people—how do you attract them? How do you retain them in both up and down markets? The best player plays: The best projects and company for- mations occur right at the intersection of clients, contractors, and supplier/vendors. How best to integrate them and break down the silos? The upside down organizational chart: When Bill’s Mustang team was doing the topsides engineering for Atlantis in an overheated market (2002–2006), it was easy to see that we needed the very best from my BP team, Mustang, and all of our critical suppliers. The best are always hard to recruit and retain—they are all essentially ‘volunteers’— they can work anywhere they want. How do you make your business or project the one that everyone wants to join? “Whether you are building a company or a project team, you will find something you can put to immediate use on every page in Culture Code Champions.”