How to Become the Best Place to Work

Q&A with Daniel F. Prosser, author of Thirteeners: Why only 13 percent of companies successfully execute their strategy and how yours can become one of them.

By Steve LeBeau

Originally from Minnesota, Daniel Prosser lived in Texas for many years and recently sold two companies he owned there. Now back in Minnesota, Prosser has a book designed to enable companies to become more functional and successful. His research was based on years of survey results for “best workplace” contests nationwide, which were filled out by employees. He wanted to find out what made the difference between the best places and the also-rans.

MNBIZ: What did you learn?
The companies that are not best places to work are failing to connect with their employees. They’re failing to create the connectedness that is really the source of employee engagement.

MNBIZ: And the best companies?
PROSSER: These companies have a relational value system. It’s one of co-creation, connectedness and cooperation. Employees feel connected to something bigger. The not best companies are focused on individual values and the transaction. Those become the 87% of companies that fail to execute their strategy.

MNBIZ: What about family-owned businesses? Or the ones where people say “It’s like one big family?”
PROSSER: Well, most families are dysfunctional. Don’t you think? Family businesses don’t hold people accountable very well, so people aren’t going to be responsible for getting the job done.

MNBIZ: What can they do about it?
PROSSER: They need to change to a transformative value system, and transformation is not an event. It’s a process. You go through this process into a promise-based management system.

MNBIZ: What’s that?
PROSSER: Promise-based management is an accountability system in which people make promises, publish them so that everybody knows what promises everybody made. When the promise is fulfilled, measure it and use that measurement as a feedback system for making the next one. The perspective of the company changes, because instead of reacting to things that happened in the past, they become reoriented toward the future they want to become.