5 reasons why Kristen Hadeed’s “Permission To Screw Up” is a must read for anyone that thinks they understand work culture (Blog #41)

Happy people


Because it will put you on the right track as it’s more than likely that your understanding of what work culture is, is nowhere near right.

If you’ve been following me for a while now you’d know that one of my main reasons for my whole work culture crusade is because throughout my 10 years and 9 jobs I’ve encountered very few people out there that, one, know what work culture is and, two, have any understanding on what actually makes a good work culture.

Like I’ve said in my past blog posts, you’ll hear you managers mention it, but it will almost always be spoken about in a very broad context. Like, “Work culture is very important” or “There are work culture issues here.” That’s it. That’s where it will stop, with this assumption that as a manager if you’re providing your people with a free lunch here and there then you’ve got it covered. WRONG!

It comes down to a lot more than that and the best thing about this book is that’s exactly what it covers, what it comes down to. It really gets into the finer detail of what was involved in developing a work culture that made Hadeed’s company thrive and stand out from the rest.

There are so many reasons why I think this book is a must read, but today I’ll sum it up in 5 main reasons for you.

Reason 1 – It proves all those people wrong that believe the work culture in their company can’t be better than what it currently is because… of the type of business, type of industry, size of the company, nature of the people or work, because what they do just isn’t glamorous enough, whatever excuse they have, etc.


Because Hadeed’s company called “Student Maid” is a CLEANING COMPANY! Do I need to say anything more?

As she mentioned herself in the book, they don’t do anything glamorous. We’re talking about scrubbing toilets for god sakes. And she was dealing with an industry where the turnover rate was over 70%. But with the right strategies and techniques in place she turned that around for her company simply by continuing to push the status quo and asking “Why” when things didn’t feel right. The key being when they didn’t feel right. Because if it didn’t feel right then they weren’t right. And not stopping until it felt right. No matter how much effort or trial and error it took. No matter what the people around her, including experts, said to her.

Which leads me to Reason 2.

Reason 2 – Developing an effective work culture doesn’t happen by ticking off a HR checklist. It’s based on how you and those around you feel and really tapping into that.

A great example that Hadeed talks about is how her hiring process, that initially started with a strict checklist, later became overpowered by the gut feeling she got about the person she was hiring. Other examples include when work that initially seemed like a great opportunity to pass up was later rejected by her because of the way it made Hadeed and her team of employees feel. Because of the effect it had on their work culture. It simple wasn’t worth it, no matter how much money the company would make. And as she highlights later in her book, work culture needed to be protected above anything else, if her company was going to have a future – another bit about the book I love.


Because it shows exactly how important her people were and are to her.

Reason 3 – Hadeed points out, very clearly, what the no. 1 focus for every company should be – It’s people!!! HELLO!

As mentioned in the book “A company is only as good as the people it hires.” But it’s not only this, Hadeed made sure that if someone was going to work for her, then she made it her mission that when the time came for them to pursue other opportunities, they’d leave the company a better person. I’m talking about leadership skills, organisational skills, team building skills, character building, you name it. She made it her mission that this was not just a cleaning job, but a place they could be proud to say they worked at and as a result be proud of the person they’d become.

Reason 4 – There’s an excellent foreword by Simon Sinek that highlights trying to be a perfectionist is nothing but a short-term strategy for both the person trying to maintain that image and the company’s work culture.

It creates a toxic environment.


Because when you’re “perfect” you simply don’t make mistakes. Responsibility never gets taken and blame gets passed on. As a result, teams breakdown as everyone is trying to take care of their own butt and prove how perfect they are.

And guess what happens if someone has a great idea or information that others don’t have?

They’re not going to share it, are they?

As the focus here is making sure you look good not the team. Managers included!!

Reason 5 – Hadeed shares what techniques made a positive difference to her work culture. And this kind of stuff I find is rare, especially coming from someone that fully believes in the difference work culture can make and made it a priority to build it, maintain it and protect it.

She really pushes the norms here and goes against what some experts advised her on, which I love. She talks about employees providing performance reviews for their manager (Bring it on! I can’t tell you how much I agree with this one and I’ll provide an example of what I would’ve said to one of my mangers given the opportunity. Get ready for that blog post).

She also talks openly about asking her employees where they see themselves in two years’ time and asking them to be completely honest no matter what the answer is. Allowing to get a good picture of what they want out of their role as well and what she needs to prepare herself for down the track. She’s even gone as far as to ask her employees what their ideal job description would be and tried to cater to it as much as possible. A true display of leaderships from beginning to end.

Blog tip #41 – Do yourself a favour and read this book NOW! It will change your whole prospective on what work culture actually is and the difference that it can make to your life and those working with you.

In the meantime, if you have any questions regarding the book or would like to discuss it in more detail feel free to message me. I’m more than happy to get into it in more detail.

If you’ve had a chance to look at it already, let me know what you thought. What did you get out of it?

If you have any friends or colleagues that would benefit from this blog post – please share it!

Let me share with you all the things I wish someone told me 10 years ago about the corporate world – subscribe to 10 Years and 9 Jobs TODAY and get your FREE 7-Day Mini Course – Work Culture Issues: The things that will do your head in daily and the reasons behind it. What companies will never speak to you about!

I’ll see you next week.


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