Let us start by saying that we had a big debate about whether this book was a playbook, a toolkit or a practical guide. Everyone at work got involved and there were several weeks of discussion and debate. Settling on Playbook wasn’t that tricky, we wanted to make something that people could sift through, pull out the bits they needed, action them quickly and discard the rest. People are busy and we don’t want the book to sit on a shelf, we want it to help people to act.

The word Rebel was more contentious. Poll after poll showed it divided people, polarized them. Whatever format we use it in, however we constructed the title almost as many people loved it as didn’t.

The worry was that it could turn off people who don’t think of themselves as rebels, who want to play it safer, who want to follow (maybe) rather than lead.

But it's not time to play safe.

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Where are the Rebels?

“The Rebel Playbook for Employee Engagement” is a book is for line workers, managers, leaders, HR practitioners, founders and CEOs. It’s for you, reading this blog right now.

The Playbook is for anyone who feels it is time to make the world a better place to work.

It’s a book for for CEOs to give to their HR people – a permission slip, if you will. to do what feels right. To…

  • Go beyond transactional HR
  • Take more risks and aim for bigger rewards
  • Join the top table to get involved in making the bottom line better

It’s a handbook to show CEOs what their HR department could help them achieve.

And it’s for HR Directors to give to their CEOs and boards, as an illustration (because it seems like we still need one) of what people can do for an organization and of the strategic role that HR could have in helping an organization to be its best.

This isn’t a book about creating a happy place to work and it isn’t a book about how to create a culture that people love either.

Both of those things sound nice and worthy but they are outputs, they are not the goal. Instead this is a book about how to create a company where people care deeply enough to make the company successful and in doing that very model become happy, fulfilled and love their jobs as a result.


What this book is not. 

This is categorically not a book about best practice. Too often, best practice is used to defend “how we’ve always done it” or “how other people do it.” (Plus, we have plenty of that here already.) This isn’t a one-and-done checklist to solve all your problems right away.

In the fast paced economy that we live in, context is everything so what is right for our business might not be right for yours, just like what is right for Amazon isn't right for Apple. Rather than a book of best practice, what we’ve tried to create here is a book of practical ideas and a framework to help you work out what is best for you. And to borrow a leadership principle from Amazon, I’m a big fan of “bias for action,” so if you’re not sure where to start or how to start then I urge you:

Start somewhere, roll the dice if you have to. 

Don't be scared.

And finally, it’s not a book of easy answers. There aren’t fairies at the end of the garden, there is no 12-week plan, and there is no easy five-step process to employee engagement.

But I urge you. Start today, and do this for the rest of your career.

Find more stories like this one in "The Rebel Playbook" 


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