Where did you get the idea for the book?
Well, the book itself is a “readable” and useable” version of my doctorate dissertation. But I wrote it with two purposes. 1. As a form of marketing for myself and my work. 2. As a handbook for people who worked in small organizations so they could make change on their own. I took all the stats and “proving” metrics out and tried to put the text into a handbook format. The key to the book is that the chapters stand on their own. You can pull out the chapter on Casting and give it to the HR department and they will be able to use the ideas without having read the entire book. My thought here was that the statistics show that of the books purchased in the US each year, only 10% are non-fiction. And of those, only 10% ever get read past the first chapter. So, I wanted to create something that people could process in bites to make them more likely to finish and see value.
What are the major themes of the book?
Corporate Culture. Specifically developing a service-oriented culture. An organization’s corporate culture is a living, breathing entity. It is your most valuable asset and your most neglected. It is the reason most companies fail after the founder leaves and why most companies collapse when the market around them changes and they cannot adapt or evolve.
Why do you think it’s important to talk about creating culture?
As I stated earlier, corporate culture is a living, breathing entity of your company or organization. It exists whether you acknowledge it or not. Ultimately, your corporate culture’s values are the culmination of the individual values of the people who work for your organization. This is why I firmly believe that you hire people who fit your culture and let technical expertise and experience take a back seat. My favorite line from any book (not called the Bible) is the opening line to Jim Collins Good to Great. “Good is the enemy of great.” The only way to actualize and do anything with this statement in your organization is through the care and nurture of your corporate culture.
What do you hope to accomplish with this book?
Selfishly, my main motivation was to use it as an introduction into my thought process. I wanted companies or organizations to be able to pick it up and after reading, know what they would get if they hired me,. But my other main motivation was for small business. As a small business owner myself (still in retail) I could never afford to hire me to help with my culture. You can read this book and share it with your company and take control and make a difference on your own. I know of several small firms who have bought the book for all of their employees (maybe 25 total) and then worked together to build the culture they dreamed following the principles in the book. That in and of itself is the most gratifying thing that could ever come of this book.
How did you get involved in writing?
Well, first of all, I do not consider myself a writer. The Hudsons are talkers. We believe in the principle “why take two minutes to say something when you can take 10!” So, you can understand that writing was a real challenge for me. I do think of myself as someone who has some creative, principles concepts for business and organizations. If you read the book, you will find that in the first lines, I actually wrote the book as a result of being fired from a consulting project and because I realized I was an egomaniac. (I know that saying a man is an egomaniac may be a little redundant, but bear with me.) I had good ideas, but I kept them to myself. I thought that if I shared my thoughts, then who would hire me as a consultant? Immature, to say the least. If I am going to be a servant leader in life, then I need to share what I know and do so willingly. My writing really stems from my desire to serve, I see it as a service. The principle of servant leadership is something God is teaching me.
How do you find time to write?
This was tough. Since I was ADD before we knew what to call it; it is very hard for me to be still and write. I first thought I would wait for inspiration and then put it on paper. That takes forever for someone like me. The secret for me was to make it a job. I took time from my consulting and spent the days working solely on the book. It was by far the most difficult thing I have ever done.
What did you enjoy most about the writing process?
This is a tough one as well. Since I am a talker by nature, I do not draw as much joy from writing as most people. But I will tell you that when you watch someone read something you wrote and see the reaction on their face as they are reading, it is a very moving experience. I am envious of people who have such control over the pen to move emotions.
What was the most difficult aspect of the writing process?
Editing. The most humbling experience you can have in life is to pour your heart out into a book and then give it to an editor. Many times I would sit with them while they read then watch their reactions. They cross out a couple of lines and I would say, “Why did you do that?” And they say, “Because it is not necessary.” And I say, “Yes, but it’s funny.” And then they pause and look at me and say, “No, it’s not.” They would say it with such a dead pan expression too, that it really shakes your confidence in yourself.
What would you say to someone who wants to become a published author?
Well, I think there are three kinds of authors out there – those that are like me who write to serve and those that are truly gifted and write to inspire and those that are doing it for the money. I can tell you that if you are the last type (and probably the first type) you will be self publishing. It is so hard. You will get a true “Edison” experience. (You know the guy who invented the light bulb but failed so many times first?) Belief in yourself is important, but listen to your editor. And if you self-publish, use an editor. A good editor knows what works and what connects. They were a big benefit to me. I write the way I speak, and that is not always a good thing!
You can also find Matt at his blog: 3RD Degree Shower Burn
Here are the blogs featuring Culturrific!