Why Should Anyone Work Here?

The best part of this book is a short and smart questionaire that you can use in your organization to see how you measure up.  And it has practical advice, like “don’t leave building simple rules to the legal and compliance teams.  They are trained to developed complexity!”.

There are many books about corporate culture, how to make great work environments, how to hire good people.  They tend to have a recipe of what you should do to make things better, and if you follow the recipe success is guaranteed.

This book is different, it defines 6 “organizational attributes” that let people be themselves, be at ease, and be productive.  And it is written bij English consultants, rather than American ones, which means there is more honesty and realism in what might happen when you try to follow their advice.

I would recommend this book very much to anyone who ever tried to come up with a mission statement.  This book provides a much better approach to defining a culture for your organization.  And it might give you inspiration on how to develop a mission statement.  It is also good when you fight complexity in a growing organization.  Or as in my case, where we are growing an organization and have the need for more formal structures without becoming a bureaucracy.

The 6 attributes they discuss are:

  • Let people be themselves
  • Practice radical honesty
  • Magnify people’s strenghts
  • Stand for authenticity (more than shareholder value)
  • Make work meaningful
  • Make simple rules.

Each of these attributes is discussion in a chapter, giving background, questions to measure how you are doing for that aspect, and advice on how to make progress.

See also this review on the Harvard Business Review site.