Business Book Blog | Rules of Belonging

Cover and blurb

As someone who has long been fascinated by humans, how we interact at work, and how we can make this more fun, whilst delivering great outcomes, this book was something I was excited about digging into. And it did not disappoint. From the first few pages I knew that I was learning, and benefitting from a lifetime of experience.


In a world where we seem to be on a constant search for a better work culture, this book is very relevant. We may have long moved on from the Industrial Age, but Frederick Taylor’s methods of “scientific management” persist in a lot of organisations. What do we have to do to get people to realise that the old “command and control” directive style of management is not conducive to high performing cultures, and engaged employees? Reading this book would be a great start.

The author cuts through the fads that many of us will have lived through, such as printing an organisation’s mission and values on mouse mats, and little cards to put in your wallet, and never to look at again. Pithy gestures are not how you shift a culture, and the author clearly articulates why.

I enjoyed reading about the distinction between “employee engagement”, and “culture”, a distinction missed by many senior leaders.

Don’t read this book if all you are looking for is a quick fix to your culture problems. As the book covers, very well, there is no silver bullet to fixing bad cultures. But if you are looking for a new way of looking at why your culture is suffering, and some insightful suggestions that you could try to improve it, then this is the book for you.


This book is concise, and very approachable. The style is clear and engaging. Particular bonus points go to the inclusion of chapter summaries and questions to ponder over. I could really see the author's coaching background coming through, posing powerful questions, asking us as readers to reflect, and thus learn from what we had just read.

The statements made in the book are well backed up by research, and empirical evidence, giving you the confidence this stuff really works.


Fiona Robertson certainly has the pedigree, and with her vast experience in this field she is clearly an expert on this tricky topic – a topic she simplifies, and provides a clear set of options to follow as you look to improve the system that you work in. You really feel like you are getting a 1 to 1 lesson with someone who knows her beans. She is also not afraid of being controversial. There is even a challenge to the sacred “Hierarchy of Needs”, made famous by Abraham Maslow.


I would recommend this book to other readers, in particular leaders in organisations that are trying to increase business agility whilst knowing that the system needs to change to support it. And those organisations that still cling to Taylor and his outdated management methods.

Reviewed by Fran Cormack, Agile Coach and book lover

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