Customer Reviews: Getting It Done: How to Lead When You're Not in Charge
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Whenever I meet with bright, motivated business people who want to improve the world, they always complain about others in their organizations who will not cooperate in a change process. Get those reluctant people on board the progress train, and the more positive future will soon arrive. Almost never do these complainers realize that their own habits, perspective, and behavior are contributing to delaying the progress by making others oppose the initiative.
Getting It Done is a wonderful book for helping each of us see ourselves as part of the problem and part of the solution in situations when many people must cooperate. That's a first in my experience.
The book builds on that valuable perspective by suggesting what skills we each need to improve, and how we can implement a process that will lead to genuine, effective progress. That is very critical, because most improvements occur because someone has designed an effective process to ease their implementation. In new areas, by definition, there is seldom such a process. My suggestion is that you try this one if you have no other.
I also liked the way the authors went on to generalize about how lateral leadership (influencing peers) provides lessons for when you are the boss. The same lessons apply here as well. Influencing people through genuine involvement leads to both better solutions and to better implementation.
If you only read and learn to apply one book this year, Getting It Done should be that book. My reasoning is simple. If you cannot help those you work with to make successful collaborations, you and everyone around you will always operate at a low level of effectiveness. Also, your work day will be filled with stress, conflict, pressure, too much to do, and worry. That's not the way you want to live. Getting It Done can help you develop the skills to get the benefits of how all of us know and can do more than any one of us. When you are able to get that benefit from being in an enterprise, life becomes very interesting, rewarding, and meaningful. You will also feel good about living closer to your potential as a person.
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on June 17, 2002
Somebody told me once: "Never talk about a problem without giving a solution". After reading this book, I think it should be: "without inviting others to improve a solution you have drafted".
The ideas presented in this book do a great deal to improve communication and gain support. I have reread some of my old memos, and now understand why people did not like them, even if they clearly explained the situation and proposed a solution. I used not to invite people to think with me.
I have applied many of the topics to my every day life, specially at work, and it's given results. I mostly try to invite others to participate in the process, and remember that all ideas can be improved.
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on July 31, 2003
When searching online for a book on leadership, this book's title,"Getting It Done. How to Lead When You're Not in Charge", immediately grabbed my attention. It seemed perfect for what I needed a little help on. I am sure I am not alone. Everyone at one point in their life is forced into a group situation, whether it is in school, work or everyday life, where they are assigned a problem in which the group needs to accomplish together. However, before a group can solve the problem assigned, it needs to conquer the problems within the group. One of the problems that I have found to exist within every group I have been in is how to reach solutions and successfully work with others when no one knows exactly who is in charge. Everyone needs to individually take on responsibility and contribute, but it works best when you know exactly what you should focus on and the right questions to ask your group members to obtain the best results. This book does an excellent job in first of all, mapping out the problems that groups face and then going into detail by explaining the route group members should take to maximize success. Fisher and Sharp have five basic elements that groups can follow to get things done. By following these five easy steps it will give you a clear focus of how to put it all together and create a successful way to complete the tasks assigned within your group. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants a little extra help to maximize their group's potential. It is very easy to read and the information and suggestions that the authors provide will be remembered and used every time I am placed in a group situation again.
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on March 18, 2002
This book gave me more than I spected whenI bought it.
I was looking for some guidelines on good teamwork behavior, and I didn't got just that but far more usefull insight on plain work.
Reagarding working with others, the best part is the Feedbck chapter. You'll never give advice to a team mate in the same way after you had read this book. Everybody know someone that "takes advice the wron way", well you'll learn that maybe you and everybo else are giving advice in the wrong way.
Besides this particulary well covered subject, the author explains very usefull techniques to improove not only group workin but personal efficiency. All of this is ilustrated with down to earth examples and exercises.
I read the first edition almost one year ago, and I keep going back to it as if it was reference book, and in some way it is
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on July 9, 1998
This book is great! I have bought copies for several of my friends who are in dysfunctional companies. The chapter on "Purpose" is worth the price alone. You need to know your own purpose before you can come to understand the purpose of your organization. The authors provide excellent guidance in how to broach issues within an organization, how to nuture ideas without getting them squashed. How to move ideas and projects along in a team environment. I recommend this book to anyone who is trying to implement change and stay sane while doing it.
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on July 2, 1998
Well organized, easy to read. This little handbook offers lots of ideas for how to influence (for the better) the way your team works together. How to get past the pointless meetings and reactive in-fighting among group members -- how to set goals and keep the group on track in acheiving them. The chapter on giving and receiving good feedback (separating appreciation, coaching & evaluation) was especially helpful. And all this oriented toward when you're not even the one in charge.
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on February 20, 2007
Overall this book covers a topic we all understand, but maybe dont implement or think too much about. So - from that standpoint, its a good book to review basic team "best practises".

Specifically though, I found the chapter on Goal setting to be excellent. Being someone who is heavily into goal setting and mission statements, I still found information that was new to me. I would recommend this book, just based on that chapter.

In Conclusion - if this is the only Negotiation/Team Building book you'll read this year, then I would pass for something like "Getting to Yes" by the same Author. This is a great polish book once you've delved into other team building books.
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on December 21, 2009
I picked up this book in 1999 at the Tampa Airport bookstore. It's a gem and a classic.

For me, the key of the book was the statement that thinking and doing are two sides of the same coin -- that you can Think only so far before you have to Do, then collect Data from Doing, Diagnose the Data, set the Direction, determine what to Do Next, then Do It, again. And the converse logic is also true -- you cannot Do successfully without also Thinking. This approach is cycling up into the clouds of theory and thinking then coming down to earth to put the theory into practice and testing by observation and experiment. (The 4Ds)

Their conceptualization is original but the ideas are not. It is the key to science. The oft-quoted statement by Nobel Physicist Richard Feynman "It doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn't matter how smart you are. If it doesn't agree with experiment, it's wrong. "

This conceptualization is also the foundation of Agile Programming methodologies, which requires one the think, do some planning, then implement, then do some more thinking and planning then more Doing (implementation).

Interestingly, the book itself is written in the 4D style, where the authors first present Data of the problem, then present possible Diagnoses of the potential causes, then they discuss the Directions one should take given the differing Diagnoses, then they tell you what you should Do Next. Of course, it is then up to you to Do it, and start the 4D cycle again -- Continuous Improvement -- these ideas feed directly into W Edward Deming's 14 Points from Out of Crisis.

In short, a fascinating and seminal work at many levels.
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on September 9, 2007
I recently bought this book from Amazon and really liked it. The book breaks down the leadership process and helps the reader to achieve the goals individually and then 'laterally' lead his/her team to achieve the same. Simple advice coupled with relevant examples make it easy to read and implement. Highly recommended for anyone working in a team environment.
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on December 30, 2013
This was a really good, to the point book with a lot of really good advice. It only took about 4 hours to read the whole book and I still use it as a reference when I need advice on certain situations.
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