I have written this book around certain assumptions:
Everyone has potential and if that potential is unleashed, everyone can achieve extraordinary things. Because organisations are made up of people, they also have the chance of being extraordinary - if they provide the environment in which people can access their potential.
People seek out employers that provide that environment. Everyone wants to do a great job - to go home at the end of the day and feel satisfied. They want to unleash their potential, to be the best they can be, so they look for the places that will help them do that.
This fits with present-day expectations of work overall. Few companies offer a job for life any more. People move from job to job, seeking the best career path, accepting that change is a constant. People must be robust, strong and flexible and willing to make the most of every situation.
The companies that do best in this new work environment make a different pact. They encourage, support and enable colleagues to do their best work, trusting that the company will gain.
Such companies make no demands about commitment or loyalty; instead, they strive to earn it. They realise that staying in a job because you have to is not a recipe for success, so they provide an environment that is challenging, inspiring and fun, so that people choose to stay.
Change is a constant, and successful people welcome it. Change is not something to do, it is something we need to allow. Huge amounts of energy go into resisting change, regardless of its value - we are creatures of the familiar. Once you stop resisting, change happens all on its own. So the real task of change is to remove the obstacles or barriers that make people wary and risk-averse. All of this is dependent on trust levels. When trust is high, people can be open and change is less of a threat.
Great organisations accept the new order, understanding that people move around more than in the past and that they must vie for the best talent.
The paradox is that where there is a great company culture, people choose to stay; which keeps the expertise and knowledge in-house and builds a highly effective business.
Being an employer of choice means you have to honour this pact. If you want the best people to work with you and build your business, you must:
provide an environment in which colleagues can thrive and shine
support and challenge them to access the best in themselves
set high standards and be rigorous in appraisal
build strong relationships, understanding the talents, strengths and needs of individual people
acknowledge and celebrate success - make work a joy as well as a job
build high trust throughout the company - it is the only way to get the best from people
be a model in your own work - stretch yourself, live the company principles, have fun, work hard and celebrate your success.