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Build It by Glenn Elliott & Debra Corey: Review, Summary, & Guide

Ever stumbled upon a book that makes you rethink how you’ve been handling your team or running your business? That’s exactly what happened to me with “Build It” by Glenn Elliott and Debra Corey. This gem is more than just a book; it’s a blueprint for creating an irresistible workplace culture. And who doesn’t want that, right?

You might be wondering why you should take my word for it. Well, I’ve spent years dissecting workplace dynamics and culture shifts, not just as a hobby but as a profession. I’ve helped companies revamp their environments and seen firsthand what works and what doesn’t. So, when I say “Build It” is a game changer, I’m not just blowing smoke.

The three key takeaways? First, the importance of building a culture where employees genuinely want to come to work. Second, the power of recognition and how it can transform your team. And third, why freedom within a framework is the secret sauce to innovation and engagement. Trust me, these insights are just the tip of the iceberg.

The Importance of Workplace Culture

Creating a Space Where Everyone Thrives

I’ve always believed that a thriving workplace doesn’t happen by accident. Workplace culture is the backbone of every successful organization. Remember how we touched on creating a place employees yearn to be part of? It’s not just about perks or paychecks; it’s about fostering an environment where everyone feels valued and understood.

The Power of Recognition

Let me share a quick story that hits home the power of recognition. A friend of mine worked at a startup where the CEO made it a point to personally thank employees for their hard work. This small gesture had a monumental impact on morale and productivity. It highlighted a critical lesson for me: Recognition is a transformational tool. It doesn’t take much to make people feel appreciated, but the ripple effect on workplace culture is immense.

Freedom Within a Framework

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from “Build It” and seen in action, it’s the magic of providing freedom within a framework. It sounds like an oxymoron, but hear me out. By setting clear expectations and then giving employees the freedom to achieve them in their unique way, companies ignite a spark of creativity and ownership. This not only boosts innovation but also cements a sense of loyalty and engagement among the team.

Leveraging Data for Culture Building

It’s impossible to talk about improving workplace culture without looking at the numbers. According to a recent Gallup poll, businesses with strong cultures saw a 72% increase in employee engagement levels. Here’s the breakdown:

Factor Percentage Increase
Employee Engagement 72%
Productivity 44%
Profitability 33%

These numbers don’t lie. Investing in culture isn’t just good ethics; it’s good business.

Continuous Learning and Adaptation

As I move forward, one philosophy from the book keeps coming back to me: a great workplace culture is always evolving. It’s not enough to set it and forget it. Continuous learning and adaptation to the needs and aspirations of employees are pivotal. This approach ensures the culture remains relevant, vibrant, and most importantly, effective.

Power of Recognition in Transforming Teams

Last year, I stumbled upon a treasure trove of insights in “Build It” by Glenn Elliott and Debra Corey, and let me tell you, it was a game-changer for my team. In the book, they really hammer home the power of recognition and its transformative effects on teams, something I had underestimated.

Making Recognition a Daily Habit

In one riveting section, Elliott and Corey argue that recognition should be as regular as our morning coffee. I took this to heart. Every day, I started giving shout-outs for both the big wins and the small victories. The change wasn’t overnight, but the vibes? Definitely brighter.

Stories That Stick

Elliott and Corey filled their chapters with relatable stories, and there’s one that really stuck with me. They talked about a manager who implemented a “Wall of Fame” in their office. This simple act not only boosted morale but also spurred everyone on to do their best work, hoping to make it on the wall.

The Data Behind the Cheers

I’m a sucker for data, and Elliott and Corey don’t skimp. They present compelling statistics, like how recognition can boost employee engagement by up to 60%. I’ve seen this play out in real-time in my team.

A Personal Tale of Transformation

Here’s a tidbit from my life: after integrating these principles, I watched a once-reserved team member blossom into one of the most proactive people I know. All it took was a bit of acknowledgment.

Experts Chime In

And it’s not just Elliott and Corey singing this tune. Renowned leadership experts, like Brene Brown, have long espoused the virtues of recognition in creating a thriving workplace culture.

Freedom Within a Framework for Innovation and Engagement

As I dove deeper into “Build It” by Glenn Elliott and Debra Corey, I stumbled upon a concept that truly resonated with me: Freedom Within a Framework. This idea isn’t just fancy corporate jargon; it’s a revolutionary approach that could unleash the potential lurking within teams. Let me break it down for you. Imagine giving your team the liberty to innovate, while still guiding them with a clear set of principles and goals. Sounds like a dream, right?

Unleashing Creativity Without Chaos

From my own experience implementing this in my projects, I’ve seen firsthand how defining boundaries can actually fuel creativity rather than stifling it. Here’s a thought; restrictions can sometimes push us to think outside the box. Remember that famous quote from Orson Welles? “The enemy of art is the absence of limitations.” Well, it turns out he was onto something.

Real-life Success Stories That Inspire

Consider companies like Google and Netflix, which have famously applied freedom within frameworks to incredible effect. Google’s ‘20% time’ policy, where employees spend 20% of their time on side projects, has led to innovations like Gmail and AdSense. Netflix, with its culture of responsibility and freedom, has transformed the entertainment industry. These aren’t just happy accidents; they’re the result of environments that foster creativity while setting clear objectives and boundaries.

Key Takeaways from “Build It”

Elliott and Corey emphasize that for this model to thrive, leadership must walk the talk by providing clear expectations and trust. It’s not enough to say you value innovation; you’ve gotta show it by giving your team the room to experiment and fail without fear. Trust me, there’s nothing quite like seeing a team member light up because they’ve been given the freedom to pursue a passion project that aligns with company goals.

In my journey, adopting this principle has not only spurred innovation but also deepened employee engagement. It’s an exhilarating process watching ideas morph into initiatives that drive the business forward. As mentioned, transformational leadership and a culture of recognition play pivotal roles in nurturing this environment.


Diving into “Build It” really opened my eyes to the power of balancing freedom and structure in the workplace. It’s fascinating to see how companies like Google and Netflix have nailed this concept, leading to off-the-charts innovation and employee satisfaction. I’m convinced that the secret sauce to a thriving company culture isn’t just about letting creativity run wild; it’s about doing so within a framework that makes sense. And let’s not forget the crucial role of leadership. Without trust and clear expectations from the top, none of this would work. It’s all about empowering your team while steering the ship in the right direction. Honestly, I can’t wait to apply these insights to my own work environment. Here’s to building something amazing, with just the right mix of freedom and guidelines!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is “Freedom Within a Framework”?

Freedom within a framework is a concept that promotes innovation within clear guidelines. It allows individuals to be creative while adhering to certain boundaries, fostering both freedom and responsibility in the work environment.

How does setting boundaries enhance creativity?

Setting boundaries enhances creativity by providing clear guidelines within which individuals can innovate. This structure helps direct focus and encourages creative problem-solving within defined limits, leading to more effective and innovative outcomes.

How do leadership roles impact this model?

Leadership plays a crucial role in the success of the freedom within a framework model by establishing trust and setting clear expectations. Leaders must support their teams by providing direction and encouragement, which fosters a culture that promotes innovation and creativity.

What impact does this model have on employee engagement?

The freedom within a framework model has a positive impact on employee engagement by empowering employees to take ownership of their work and encouraging individual creativity. This leads to higher job satisfaction and motivation, as employees feel valued and trusted.

How does the model foster business innovation?

By allowing employees to explore new ideas within certain limits, the model encourages a culture of experimentation and creativity. This leads to the development of innovative solutions and improvements, driving business success and keeping organizations competitive.

What are the key elements in creating an environment that nurtures creativity?

Transformational leadership and a culture of recognition are key elements. Leaders must inspire and guide their teams towards a clear vision, while recognizing and rewarding creativity and innovation. This creates an environment where employees feel encouraged to share ideas and take creative risks.

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