How to build a happy sandpit is a book based on the research that Colin J Browne conducted on various organizations and through holding interviews with various leaders of South African based companies. Browne uses the analogy of a sandpit to describe a workplace situation. In an ideal situation, children are all supposed to have fun playing in the sandpit but that is hardly ever universally achieved. There is always an individual or group of individuals in a sandpit that can spoil everyone’s fun through the behaviour they display. In pretty much the same way organizations may exhibit dysfunctions as a result of undesirable behaviour or attitudes of an individual or group of individuals. How to Build a Happy Sandpit is about the role of leaders in organizations play to achieve acceptable performance in organizations they lead. In answering the question ‘ Is managing culture really a leader’s most important role? Browne says “My response would have to be in an ideal world, the answer would be no. It would not be the most important role of leadership. It would be the only role” If indeed “ Culture eats strategy for breakfast”  as Peter Drucker points out, leaders should be mindful of cultures of their organizations to determine if they contribute towards a “Happy Sandpit”.The best-crafted strategies may fall flat if there is no culture of engaged and motivated employees and it all starts with a much-overlooked process of determining culture fit between people that get recruited and the organization they wish to work for.

Extract from the book

The underlying concept of this book is that employees in a business are like children in a sandpit. If you have a group of children who play well together, they’ll build sandcastles. They may build very elaborate ones. One will run off to the tap and fetch a bucket of water and they’ll build a moat. They’ll have such a good time doing it that they’ll want to do it again tomorrow. In the meantime, you can sit at the adults’ table and have a cup of coffee with the other adults. You must supervise the sandpit, but you don’t have to get involved yourself. But you put one little bugger into that sandpit who won’t share the bucket and spade, or who thinks it’s okay to kick sand in someone else’s face, and someone is going to start crying. When someone starts crying, you’re off the adults’ table and you’re back to managing the sandpit. The Happy Sandpit is a metaphor for organisational culture and this book is a collection of insights, stories and lessons that came out of face-to-face interviews with more than 60 South African business leaders on how they’ve built Happy Sandpits of their own. Whether you’re in charge of a business, a division of a business or a department within a division of a business, these lessons are essential in helping you create better teams to produce better results.