Why Should Anyone Work Here? – Goffee & Jones

The one sentence summary: Successful company cultures need honesty and meaning, allowing people to be themselves and do work that makes sense.


  • In the past, businesses made people conform to the organization’s needs. That doesn’t work any more.
  • Leaders need to attract the right people, keep them and inspire them to do their best work.
  • The authors propose six attributes of a healthy company culture:

Difference: Let people be themselves

Radical honesty: Let people know what’s really going on

Extra value: Magnify people’s strengths

Authenticity: Stand for something more than just shareholder value

Meaning: Make the work make sense

Simple rules: Make the rules clear and apply equally to everyone

  • What makes work meaningless?
  1. Scale (companies too big)
  2. Division of labour (silos and lack of connection between people and tasks)
  3. Time lags (big gaps between doing things and their eventual outcome)
  • Connection, community, and cause lead to good morale and effort.
  • Rule creep and complexity in companies actually lead to value loss. Trusting people to do the right thing works best.
  • The best leaders are almost invisible: “A leader whose existence is unknown to his subordinates is really the most brilliant one.” Zhang Ruimin, CEO of Chinese company Haier


  • There are a set of diagnostic tools and questions to work out whether the culture is healthy.
  • Don’t make promises that you can’t keep.
  • Don’t try too much.
  • Ipartheid is the dominance of white, male, well-educated technology managers in Silicon Valley.
  • HiPos are high potential employees.
  • NEETs are young people Not in employment, education or training.
  • The average length of share ownership is now just 22 seconds, so most shareholder value is taken on the fly by those not properly involved.

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