When Harry Potter’s wizarding ways first captured audiences in 1998, it wasn’t clear how much of a phenomenon it would become. J.K. Rowling soon joined the ranks of Tolkien and Lucas when it came to the fantasy genre. Children, teens, and even parents sped through the series unlike any books before it, waiting with baited breath for the next book release. Many still wonder how and why the series became such a hit; to the fans, it’s no surprise at all.
When people—especially children—read, they are looking to get lost in a world beyond their own. It’s no wonder Potter and the Lord of the Rings trilogy took off, and are still popular today; they have the literary "it" factor, taking readers through incredible fantasy worlds in a way that can’t be done by any other medium, delicately weaving in real life and make-believe worlds that come together in a very relatable way.
The Quincy, Mass., Patriot-Ledger recently quoted teacher Katie McCurdy saying, "I love being able to expose the kids to a world someone else created. It’s a great way to talk about fantasy and their own creative writing. … Harry does magic, but he also deals with the school bully and getting his homework done. There are characters that every kind of person can relate to."
Just as Rowling, Lucas and Tolkien built worlds for their readers, CEOs and managers too have a responsibility to build a world for their employees—although not one of fantasy, of course. The culture and environment in a workplace is almost if not as important as the work itself. Employees who work in an environment with shared values and experiences, feel a bond with their coworkers, and are constantly encouraged and inspired will be more productive and effective. But how does one build that culture?
A good approach involves two steps: first, lay the groundwork for how you want the business culture to develop and where you want it to end up; and second, build...