On April 1, the Minnesota Twins opened the 2013 baseball season. The day’s high temperature was 33 degrees. Not a great way to start, but as is always true on opening day, everywhere, there are high hopes for a winning year.

The Twins have already won one 2013 accolade. They were named one of the nation’s top workplaces in Workplace Dynamic’s annual survey.

(Workplace Dynamics surveyed 872 organizations with more than 1,000 employees and polled more than one million workers to determine the top 150.)

It’s interesting that a sports franchise made the list of best workplaces. But to me it is more interesting that 22 other Minnesota companies also made the list. Minnesota has just fewer than 2% of the nation’s population. Yet if Workplace Dynamics got it right, it has about 15% of the nation’s best workplaces.

So what’s different about the Land of 10,000 Lakes? I don’t claim to know, but there are other indicators that something here is indeed different. For example, the 5% Club – companies that give 5% of pretax income to community causes – began here, and nearly half of its members are here.

Another example: A couple of years ago, some colleagues and I had lunch with an author, on tour promoting a whistle-blowing book on bad corporate behavior. The author had been a high executive with a major company. He was asked how he, personally, used his influence to convince the CEO to change things. The question took him aback, as if he had never considered the fact that he could talk back to the CEO. In turn, his response took us aback, because we didn’t know any Minnesota corporate CEOs who would not want straight talk from their senior executives.

I’d be interested in studying a handful of states, to determine if the attitudes and behaviors of CEOs, other top executives, and employee communications managers truly do vary sharply by geography. And if so, why?

Any takers? Anyone want to co-author a study developing data from your community?

Meanwhile, Play Ball!


David J. Therkelsen, MBA, APR, Fellow PRSA, is an educator at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.

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Heidy Modarelli handles Growth & Marketing for IPR. She has previously written for Entrepreneur, TechCrunch, The Next Web, and VentureBeat.
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