Developing a healthy workplace for 2017

So many of us make great plans for the new year and commit to numerous resolutions and apparently by blue Monday they are all but lost …..but what about your business what hopes and expectations do you have for your workplace this year ?

Rob Goffee and Gareth Jones have conducted extensive research into the hopes and desires of the workforce and have identified the 6 most essential imperatives for creating an ideal work environment. Their insights come from surveys and interviews of hundreds of executives from all over the world.

Few organisations embody all six attributes of the dream organisation, many are difficult to achieve, and some even conflict with one another. But they nonetheless stand as an agenda for those who wish to create the most productive, most rewarding workplace imaginable.


1. Let people be themselves
2. Unleash the flow of information
3.Magnify people’s strengths
4. Stand for more than shareholder value
5. Show how the daily work makes sense
6. Have rules people can believe in

This list contains no surprises, but implementing the elements is no easy task. Almost all of them require leaders to carefully balance competing interests and to reallocate their time and attention. Companies like Arup, LVMH, Waitrose, and even McDonald’s are doing it to varying degrees. Your challenge is to match—and then to exceed—what they have managed to accomplish.
Why not carry out the simple diagnostic and see how close you are to becoming the best you can be in 2017

Suppose you want to design the best company on earth to work for.
What would it be like?

For three years Goffee and Jones have been investigating this question by asking hundreds of executives in surveys and in seminars all over the world to describe their ideal organisation. This mission arose from their research into the relationship between authenticity and effective leadership. Simply put, people will not follow a leader they feel is inauthentic. But the executives we questioned made it clear that to be authentic, they needed to work for an authentic organisation.

What did they mean? Many of their answers were highly specific, of course. But underlying the differences of circumstance, industry, and individual ambition we found six common imperatives. Together they describe an organisation that operates at its fullest potential by allowing people to do their best work.

They call this “the organisation of your dreams.” In a nutshell, it’s a company where individual differences are nurtured; information is not suppressed or spun; the company adds value to employees, rather than merely extracting it from them; the organisation stands for something meaningful; the work itself is intrinsically rewarding; and there are no stupid rules.

The “Dream Company” Diagnostic

How close is your organisation to the ideal?

To find out, check off each statement that applies. The more check marks you have, the closer you are to the dream.

Let Me Be Myself

  • I’m the same person at home as I am at work
  • I feel comfortable being myself
  • We’re all encouraged to express our differences
  • People who think differently from most do well here
  • Passion is encouraged, even when it leads to conflict
  • More than one type of person fits in here

Tell Me What’s Really Going On

  • We’re all told the whole story
  • Information is not spun
  •  It’s not disloyal to say something negative
  • My manager wants to hear bad news
  • Top executives want to hear bad news
  • Many channels of communication are available to us
  • I feel comfortable signing my name to comments I make

Discover and Magnify My Strengths

  • I am given the chance to develop
  • Every employee is given the chance to develop
  • The best people want to strut their stuff here
  • The weakest performers can see a path to improvement
  • Compensation is fairly distributed throughout the organisation
  • We generate value for ourselves by adding value to others

Make Me Proud I Work Here

  • I know what we stand for
  • I value what we stand for
  • I want to exceed my current duties
  • Profit is not our overriding goal
  • I am accomplishing something worthwhile
  • I like to tell people where I work

Make My Work Meaningful

  • My job is meaningful to me
  • My duties make sense to me
  • My work gives me energy and pleasure
  • I understand how my job fits with everyone else’s
  • Everyone’s job is necessary
  • At work we share a common cause

Don’t Hinder Me with Stupid Rules

  • We keep things simple
  • The rules are clear and apply equally to everyone
  • I know what the rules are for
  • Everyone knows what the rules are for
  • As an organisation, we resist red tape
  • Authority is respected

Rob Goffee is an emeritus professor of organisational behaviour at the London Business School. Gareth Jones is a visiting professor at the IE Business School, in Madrid.

A version of this article appeared in the Harvard Business Review.  A great source of articles on leadership, management and organisational development.