Six House Rules for the Reputable Firm

One of the key messages throughout my new book The Reputable Firm with Jouni Heinonen is the importance of organization inner realm as a basis for reputable firm. In the book we underline many times the meaning of all organizational members as ambassadors of reputation.

To pinpoint this, we sketched the ideal reputable firm from the inside. We borrowed from my previous book on organizational communication where I described what I called “thoroughbred organization” (Täysverinen organisaatio). We think the concept of thoroughbred organization matches perfectly with our current vision of the inner world of a reputable company. So here are the six house rules for the reputable firm.

1 People in a thoroughbred organization should think of themselves not as victims but as winners, take risks and not just crave security.

In other words, people should engage in genuine collaboration and not just conform to others, create something new instead of just following expected patterns. Instead of focusing on shortcomings, they should focus on what is good.

2 In a thoroughbred organization people are motivated because their work presents a worthy challenge.

People do not fear failure because they are given the chance to succeed within the organization. Challenging the views of others and presenting one’s own opinions is the starting point for the work culture, not an obligation. The culture is communal and social without being bogus or pretentious.

3 In a thoroughbred organization people do not always agree with each other, but more important than agreeing is being in constructive conflict.

Yes, the atmosphere may appear chaotic, as if employees are running around aimlessly, but this impression is just superficial. The apparent disorder conceals an underlying order. Conflicts and disputes are inherently progressive processes. Confrontation is as natural as breathing. The idea of internal and formal crisis management systems is frowned upon.

4 Paradoxically, the conditions for thoroughbred organizations are those of freedom: the guiding star is “do your own thing”.

Things don’t get out of hand because this is considered a privilege that is respected and not as an obligation. People are selfish in the sense that they have a clear need to satisfy their own needs. But they are not self-centered. Self-awareness feeds enthusiasm and desire, which is contagious and is directed at production and services.

5 A thoroughbred management culture does not dictate and demand; instead it is there for guidance and service.

A thoroughbred manager’s most important customer is his subordinate. Savior types looking for disciples are not wanted; instead, work and cooperation relations are based on partnerships.

6 Respect for the abilities of others prevails in the organization, but so does respect towards restrictions.

Problems exist, but no panic. At best work is as liberating as free time, and also as much fun. People’s self-esteem is high, and they appreciate what they are, what they have and what they do. They are proud of their accomplishments, commit themselves to projects and are empowered by the feeling that they can develop both in their work and in their private lives. Life, work and success are all intertwined.

If you want to know more about the The Reputable Firm (Aula & Heinonen, 2015) by Springer, please visit

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: