Book Review: You Can't Plant a Tree in Space

Emma De Vita reviews the new book by Neil Hope and Dominic Will, which questions the idea that staff must leave their humanity at the door

You Can't Plant a Tree in Space
You Can't Plant a Tree in Space

A catchy title, but does this book, by the entrepreneurs Neil Hope and Dominic Will, live up to its subtitle - Create the conditions for you and your organisation to thrive? Perhaps. If you're looking for a deep, meaningful and personal exploration of what it means to be a leader, it probably won't let you down.

Hope and Will are co-founders of Home Fundraising, Europe's largest professional door-to-door fundraising company, and they have an acute awareness of the exigencies of front-line charity life. They also have real knowledge of how to start an organisation from scratch and grow it successfully.

Their approach centres on the "values universe model" and its concomitant "unifying principles". It's about recognising that "the majority of people feel they need to leave their humanity at the door" when they get to work. But why should they leave the richest part of themselves on the doorstep? By recognising that colleagues have personal needs and that life at work can go some way to meeting them, managers and leaders can tap into this resource and create an organisation that hums with vitality, meaning and togetherness.

Emma De Vita is books editor of Management Today

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