Based on rigorous and extensive research on happiness in the workplace, Jessica Pryce-Jones and her associates at iOpener (an Oxford-based consultancy) identified what she characterizes as “Ten Top tips for work goals.” She discusses each of them in her book Happiness at Work: Maximizing Your Psychological Capital for Success, recently published by Wiley-Blackwell.
Here they are, supplemented by a few brief comments by me.
1. Make sure your goals are realistic and appropriate for you.
Comment: This presupposes you know who you are what you really want.
2. Ensure you have the right personal resources.
Comment: Fitness should be high on the list but seldom is.
3. Develop appropriate strategies for accessing other resources you also need.
Comment: For example, identify those who can provide the best (i.e. both knowledgeable and candid) advice, who have the best network of contacts, and who are both willing and able to be your “evangelists.”
4. Make your goals concrete rather than abstract.
Comment: Focus on specifically what you will do and set deadlines, rather on what you will think about, discuss with others, etc.
5. Eliminate distractions.
Comment: Distractions are most attractive when we must complete a difficult and/or unpleasant task. Much of what peak performers do involves what others would rather not do.
6. Make a consistent effort.
Comment: Be a Bunsen burner, not a sparkler.
7. Find the right environment in which to achieve your goals.
Comment: To paraphrase Teresa Amabile, know what you really enjoy doing and then locate where, with whom, and under what conditions you can do it.
8. Make certain that you do not have conflicting goals.
Comment: I highly recommend that career goals be thoroughly discussed with members of the immediate family so that (a) they understand what the goals are and (b) they are thus better prepared to support efforts to achieve them.
9. Keep in mind that time, energy, and effort must be invested to achieve the meaningful happiness you seek.
Comment: Also keep in mind advice from Tony Schwartz that effective management of energy is most important. Sufficient sleep, relaxation, and exercise are needed to renew it.
10. The journey toward each goal is often more important than achieving it.
Comment: I agree that the process is best viewed as a “journey” and for many “pilgrims,” its greatest value is derived from what they learn about themselves en route.
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I highly recommend Pryce-Jones’s book as well as Arlene Johnson’s Success Mapping: Achieve What You Want…Right Now!, Simon Sinek’s Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, and The Why of Work: How Great Leaders Build Abundant Organizations That Win, co-authored by Dave Ulrich and Wendy Ulrich.
- Here is an excerpt from an article written by Thomas Davenport for the Harvard Business Review blog. To read the complete article, check out other articles and resources, and/or sign up for a free subscription to Harvard Business Review’s Daily Alerts, please click here.
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(Larry Prusak, Brook Manville, and I are at work on a book on judgment and how to cultivate it as an organizational, not just individual, strength. Over the next few months, we’ll each be authoring posts in this blog to test-drive ideas and invite input as the research progresses.)
I’ve been mulling over a column by The Wall Street Journal‘s Peggy Noonan since it came out last month. Entitled “Youth Has Outlived Its Usefulness,” it was about good judgment, and who has it. The premise of the piece, ever so gently chiding our current President, was that our nation is in bad need of wise policy, and isn’t likely to get it from youthful politicians.
What is needed, Ms. Noonan suggests, is more “adult supervision,” a phrase she uses jokingly and yet with deep conviction. She worries that the Obama administration lacks for experienced, elder counselors — or, in her words, “old and august … wise and weathered … bruised and battered veterans of life who’ve absorbed its facts and lived to tell the tale.”
The article’s nostalgic yearnings for the likes of a Harold MacMillan (the wizened Prime Minister who guided the young Jack Kennedy during the Cuban missile crisis) aren’t limited to the political sphere. Noonan goes on to lament the lack of grey hair in the ranks of hospital administrators, publishing enterprises, and other important public and commercial institutions.
As someone who spends some of his professional time providing executive coaching for younger men and women, I have no interest in denying the value that an old hand can provide to a less experienced leader. And I don’t worry about the concern sometimes expressed that a young leader might become overly reliant on a Rasputin-like elder — too callow or lazy to exercise independent thought. But I wonder if by casting the critical feature of a “trusted advisor” as age, or even long experience, we run the danger of mistaking what truly valuable advisors bring to the table.
Even Noonan acknowledges that older, more experienced men in advisory roles haven’t always resulted in good judgment. In the Vietnam era, the United States was led into one disastrous military and political decision after another by such counselors (as chronicled in the film The Fog of War [click here], Noonan, gracefully backpedalling in mid-argument, notes that while it is wrong to conclude that we should “Never listen to wise men,” we should have learned: “Wise men can be wrong, listen close and weigh all data.”
Building good judgment in an organization is not as simple as giving our youngest leaders silver-haired counselors. It’s the result of drawing on a much broader base of learning for all decisions — from people up, down, and sideways in the organization; from people outside the organization, including customers, competitors, rivals, and partners; and from other sources of data. And therefore, it’s a question of developing cultures and processes that enable that kind of multi-dimensional learning and allow collective wisdom to emerge.
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Tom Davenport holds the President’s Chair in Information Technology and Management at Babson College. His most recent books are Competing on Analytics: The New Science of Winning and Analytics at Work.
Brook Manville consults to socially-minded enterprises on matters of strategy and organizational development. He is author (with Josiah Ober) of A Company of Citizens: What the World’s First Democracy Teaches Leaders About Creating Great Organizations.
William Cohen is especially well-qualified to discuss leadership, given his background that includes graduating from the United States Military Academy at West Point, being the first of Peter Drucker’s students to earn a Ph.D. degree in business, rising to the rank of major general in the U.S. Air Force Reserve, serving as president of two universities, writing several books (notably The Art of the Leader, A Class with Drucker, and Drucker on Leadership) and serving now as president of the Institute of Leader Arts.
In this volume, he identifies and discusses what he characterizes as The Eight Universal Laws of Heroic Leadership in Part One, The Eight Basic Influence Tools in Part Two, and then The Eight Competencies of Heroic Leadership in Part Three. He devotes a separate chapter to each of the 24. None is a head-snapping revelation, nor does Cohen make any such claim. They offer great value, however, when he cites correlations and implications between and among them. Throughout his lively and eloquent narrative, he inserts dozens of real-world examples of heroic leadership both on the battlefield and in the business world.
Those who pursue what Jim Collins calls BHAGs (i.e. Big Hairy Audacious Goals) require great leadership by men or women who maintain absolute integrity, know their stuff, make their expectations crystal clear, demonstrate their own commitment to the given enterprise, expect positive results and ultimate success, meanwhile take care of those entrusted to their care, put duty before self, and “get out in front” – and stay there — to show the way.
Cohen wrote this book for those who aspire to be great leaders in all domains of human experience: in the business world, in the military, and in public service, to be sure, but also in the classroom and on the playing field. The information, observations, caveats, and suggestions he offers comprise what could be described as a leader’s “tool box.” His advice includes inspiring others to motivating themselves, communicating more effectively, strengthening teamwork, increasing engagement (as opposed to passive involvement), and of special importance, helping others to become more effective leaders.
It is also clear to me that he believes that heroic qualities can be developed in almost anyone, and, that there are many different forms of heroism. For example, speaking to power. Great leaders insist on it. It should also be noted that, in The Divine Comedy, Dante reserved the last (and worst) ring in hell for those who, in a moral crisis, preserve their neutrality. Many of those who read this book will not “learn” how to become an heroic leader by completing checklists of aphorisms to consider or tasks to complete; rather, Cohen will help them to discover the potential capabilities they already possess…and will help them, also, to develop those capabilities in ways and to an extent they may now consider unattainable.
Current Business Best-Selling Books – We’ve Presented many of these at the First Friday Book Synopsis
Here’s the updated Hardcover Business Best Sellers, published by the NY Times, September 2, 2010. I have written before that this is the best-seller list that I pay most attention to. It is updated only once a month.
Karl Krayer and I present 24 books a year at the monthly First Friday Book Synopsis. Karl presented the #1 book, Delivering Happiness, just yesterday at the September First Friday Book Synopsis. I have presented #2, The Big Short, for a private client, and #3, #5, #7, #8, #12, and #13 at earlier First Friday Book Synopsis gatherings. Karl presented #11 at an earlier gathering. Some of these books have lingered for quite a while: I presented The 4-Hour Workweek in March, 2008; Outliers in January, 2009; Superfreakonomics last December. Karl presented Strengths-Based Leadership in March, 2009.
Some of these do not quite fit our own “selection criteria” (which is subjective, and is our own…). But, yes, there are a couple of new books we need to take a look at, and consider for future gatherings..
Here’s the list:
|1||DELIVERING HAPPINESS, by Tony Hsieh. (Grand Central, $23.99.) Lessons from business (pizza place, worm farm, Zappos) and life. (†)||1|
|2||THE BIG SHORT, by Michael Lewis. (Norton, $27.95.) The people who saw the real estate crash coming and made billions from their foresight.||2|
|3||OUTLIERS, by Malcolm Gladwell. (Little, Brown, $27.99.) Why some people succeed — it has to do with luck and opportunities as well as talent — from the author of “Blink” and “The Tipping Point.”||3|
|4||THE MENTOR LEADER, by Tony Dungy. (Tyndale House, $24.99.) The former head coach of the Indianapolis Colts football team offers tips for helping to inspire growth. (†)|
|5||SWITCH, by Chip Heath and Dan Heath. (Broadway Business, $26.) How everyday people can effect transformative change at work and in life. (†)||4|
|6*||THE TOTAL MONEY MAKEOVER, by Dave Ramsey (Thomas Nelson, $24.99.) Debt reduction and fiscal fitness for families, by the radio talk-show host. (†)||6|
|7||THE 4-HOUR WORKWEEK, by Timothy Ferriss. (Crown, $22.) Reconstructing your life so that it’s not all about work. (†)||5|
|8||DRIVE, by Daniel H. Pink. (Riverhead, $26.95.) What really motivates people is the quest for autonomy, mastery and purpose, not external rewards.||7|
|9||IT’S NOT JUST WHO YOU KNOW, by Tommy Spaulding. (Broadway, $23.) Secrets for engaging colleagues and contacts in lasting, genuine relationships. (†)|
|10||BURY MY HEART AT CONFERENCE ROOM B, by Stan Slap. (Portfolio Penguin, $25.95.) The power of emotional commitment in managers and how to achieve it. (†)|
|11||STRENGTHS BASED LEADERSHIP, by Tom Rath and Barry Conchie. (Gallup, $24.95.) Three keys to being a more effective leader. (†)||13|
|12*||REWORK, by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson. (Crown Business, $22.) Counterintuitive rules for small-business success, like “Ignore the details early on” and “Good enough is fine.” (†)||9|
|13||SUPERFREAKONOMICS, by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner. (Morrow/HarperCollins, $29.99.) A scholar and a journalist apply economic thinking to everything: the sequel.||11|
|14||THE FACEBOOK EFFECT, by David Kirkpatrick. (Simon & Schuster, $26.) The origin of Facebook.||15|
|15||DOING BOTH, by Inder Sidhu (FT Press, $24.99.) They strategy of “both-and’ is far more productive than the limiting “either-or” approach. (†)||8|
The Robber Barons of old at least left something tangible in their wake — a coal mine, a railroad, banks. This man leaves nothing. He creates nothing. He builds nothing. He runs nothing. And in his wake lies nothing but a blizzard of paper to cover the pain. Oh, if he said, “I know how to run your business better than you,” that would be something worth talking about. But he’s not saying that. He’s saying, “I’m going to kill you because at this particular moment in time, you’re worth more dead than alive.”
God save us if we vote to take his paltry few dollars and run. God save this country if that is truly the wave of the future. We will then have become a nation that makes nothing but hamburgers, creates nothing but lawyers, and sells nothing but tax shelters.
• Andrew Jorgenson, played by Gregory Peck, Fictional CEO of New England Wire and Cable, Other People’s Money (read the full text and and listen to the speech at the terrific AmericanRhetoric.com site here. Watch the speech on youtube here).
I don’t make anything? I’m makin’ you money. And lest we forget, that’s the only reason any of you became stockholders in the first place. You wanna make money! You don’t care if they manufacture wire and cable, fried chicken, or grow tangerines! You wanna make money! I’m the only friend you’ve got. I’m makin’ you money.
• From the response by Lawrence Garfield, played by Danny DeVito, the fictional head of Garfield Investments, from the same movie. Full text of speech here. Watch the speech on youtube here).
Here’s the issue: “traders” (making money by trading things) vs. “builders” (real assets in the real economy).
In The Great Reset by Richard Florida, the list of thoughts to ponder is long. This is one that I can’t quite get out of my head. (by the way, I am sure many others have made this point – I just happened to have it jump out at me in Florida’s book).
For most of us, we tend to think of work as doing something tangible – almost physical. Although, admittedly I have not worked with my hands for a living since my short stints at a service station, and at a tennis center (in my junior high school days, when I checked the oil and put air in the tires, as I put in the gasoline, at Self Texaco in Harlingen, TX; and taught tennis one summer at a park/tennis center in Abilene, TX). Today, I get paid for speaking – actually for reading, pondering, preparing, and speaking. I suppose I am one of those “knowledge workers” that we all read so much about.
But Florida is talking about a more basic problem. He is talking about the outsized role of “finance” — finance disconnected from its earlier, far more constructive purpose. Here are a few paragraphs from the book:
The role of finance changed from being, in the words of William Black, a “servant” of the economy to a “predator.” Instead of supporting the real wealth producing parts of the economy, (the finance sector) has become a parasite on them.
We’re witnessing a replay of the age-old conflict between “traders” and “builders,” as Geoff Beattie, the head of Woodbridge, dubs it. Traders make money off, well, trading things. They create little or no real wealth, because they do not engage in productivity; they profit through trading. Builders, on the other hand, focus on investing in real assets in the real economy…
The landscape today is littered with instant tycoons who made their fortunes on tiny upticks in the stock market or by trading shares in other people’ debt.
For far too many of these traders, the only productivity was profit and their only customers were themselves.
I raise this to make this point: builders need to take their preeminent position back from the traders for the economy of the future to flourish.
I think Mr. Florida is correct. When more people work in the “real economy,” and when more people invest in investments in the “real economy,” the economy will be healthier than when people work in, and invest in, only the “fantasy economy.”
“Fantasy” – that’s what much of the finance sector sold and practiced in recent years. And this “fantasy economy” created the bubbles that crashed. And we now know how that turned out.