Company Habits

8 Habits of Companies You Wish You Worked For

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

There is convincing evidence that organizations that focus on creating engaging workplaces put themselves in a position to flourish. Over the last 14 months, we have visited more than 50 of such workplace pioneers. They show us how to engage employees and, therefore, thrive as an organization—time and time again.

To see and get to this Promised Land, we should clear our minds of the old management paradigms. The old management paradigms that continue to focus on command-and-control structures in a time that demands a radically different approach. It is time to fill in an entirely new canvas—a canvas focused on unleashing the full potential of employees and therefore liberating organizations of sky high levels of employee disengagement

1. From Profit to Purpose and Values 

Finding purpose, or meaning in work gives energy, passion, and motivation to get out of bed in the morning. An inspiring mission can overcome bureaucracy, silos, and egos, and it helps to unleash the full potential of the organization. With a clear and inspiring mission comes a set of common values, behaviors, and skills that we value in our fellow colleagues.

How to get there? 

2. From Hierarchical Pyramids to a Network of Teams 

Tear down the familiar hierarchical pyramid and let the changing nature of the work impact the structure of roles and teams in a fluid way. Allow individuals to gather and work as members of multiple teams with multiple contexts, and they will go far beyond the disingenuous “dotted line” nonsense of traditional organizations. Welcome a network of teams.

How to get there? 

3. From Directive Leadership to Supportive Leadership 

Stop pushing decisions down the chain of command as it neglects the wisdom of the crowd and disengages those who are closest to the customer. The most inspiring leaders craft a mission, walk the talk, and inspire to act. Authority is no longer linked to hierarchical positions, but by the ability to lead by example and by building and guiding teams that flourish.

How to get there? 

4. From Predict and Plan to Experiment and Adapt 

Long-term, strategic business planning and budgeting are all based on the outdated belief that we can predict the future. Let go of your extensive predictions and start embracing experimentation in your daily work. Experiment, learn, and adapt. And don’t be afraid to fail, it is an important part of the process.


How to get there? 

5. From Rules and Control to Freedom and Trust 

Get rid of the old-fashioned command-and-control structures, allow people to work autonomously, and trust that they will act in the company’s best interest. This freedom, however, is not a one way street. A high degree of freedom should come hand-in-hand with a high degree of responsibility.

How to get there? 

6. From Centralized Authority to Distributed Authority 

Aim to distribute authority to individuals and teams in order to be able to adapt constantly to the rapidly changing business environment. Trust your people to make the right decisions. Be aware that with the responsibility of decision making comes the accountability for the result.

How to get there? 

7. From Secrecy to Radical Transparency 

Avoid secrecy by applying an “open by default” policy and an “ask me anything” mentality. Make data available in real-time, and provide people with the right information on the right moment in order to increase decision making speed and accuracy. Don’t be shy and leverage the power of technology.

How to get there? 

8. From Job Descriptions to Talents and Mastery 

Make better use of the diversity of skills and talents that are present within your organization. Get rid of the job descriptions that are obsolete from the moment they are crafted. Let people work on things they like and which best fit their interest, talents, and strengths. Doing what you are good at increases motivation and engagement.

How to get there? 

  • Let people choose their own tasks and responsibilities. Let them sculpt and tailor their job. 
  • Design the organization around a talent model allowing people to grow.
About the Author
Joost Minnaar and Pim de Morree, known as “The Corporate Rebels” to their readers, are on a mission to make work more fun. They quit their frustrating jobs to find a solution to a widespread problem: 87 percent of employees are disengaged at work. They travel the world and learn from workplace pioneers by checking off their renowned Bucket List. They share their findings and everything they learn about the unique workplaces they visit on their blog and through keynotes and workshops around the world. They also support organizations to become more progressive, inspiring workplaces. Contact the Corporate Rebels through their website ( or on Twitter at @corp_rebels.
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