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Great at Work: How Top Performers Do Less, Work Better, and Achieve More Hardcover – January 30, 2018
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“In an ambitious new study, Morten Hansen illuminates the habits that separate superstars from their peers. This is the definitive guide to working smarter.”—Adam Grant, New York Times bestselling author of Give and Take, Originals, and Option B (with Sheryl Sandberg)
“The typical book about management or careers requires a heavy dose of faith because you don't know where the recommendations come from. Morten Hansen brings beautiful data from a massive research project that reveals how stars at work, in dozens of industries, actually do their work. The data and Hansen's analysis will surprise you, change you, and make you better at work... no leaps of faith required.”—Chip Heath, Professor Stanford Graduate School of Business, and author of three New York Times bestsellers, including Switch
"In this groundbreaking book, Morten Hansen delivers on the genius of “and:” rigorous and relevant, research-driven and well-written, empirical and empowering, timeless and practical, full of big concepts and useful tips. Hansen's work is truly distinctive in the genre of professional effectiveness, and a tremendous contribution. This is a book I will read more than once, and reference forever."—Jim Collins, author of Good to Great, co-author of Built to Last and Great by Choice
“Some managers and employees are star performers. We’ve always wanted to know why, and now Morten Hansen tells us. It’s not because they work longer or harder than everyone else. It’s because they adopt a ‘growth mindset’ and find ways to work smarter. This magnificent study of over 5,000 employees reveals exactly what these stars do and is a landmark contribution to understanding the roots of professional success.”—Carol Dweck, author of Mindset
"A refreshingly data-based, clearheaded guide…”—Publishers Weekly
"Adds significantly to our understanding of job performance–and satisfaction–in an increasingly competitive workplace....[Hansen's] findings, bolstered as they are by a massive and statistically rigorous study that included different kinds of for-profit companies, should command the attention of those of us who want to reengineer our work lives, reduce burnout, improve performance and job satisfaction."—Psychology Today
"Finally, a method and evidence to uncover what it takes to multiply our effectiveness at work. Morten Hansen’s pathbreaking new book is a rare, research-driven "seven habits" for the 21th century. A must read for anyone working to improve themselves or helping others to do so.”—Herminia Ibarra, Professor, London Business School and author of Act Like a Leader, Think Like a Leader
"We thought we were great at work until we read this book. It has led us to re-think how we work and organize our lives. It is that powerful. Now, we are beginning to understand—and sometimes practice—what smart-work actually means."—Stuart Crainer and Des Dearlove, founders, Thinkers50 (www.thinkers50.com)
“Great at Work is intended to inspire people to be better workers. Written by a management professor at the University of California, Berkeley, this book differs from other popular management volumes in that it is based on a significant research project that identified the key factors that make better workers….As a research-based study on becoming a better worker, this volume will help readers improve their own work performance.”—Booklist
About the Author
Morten T. Hansen is a management professor at University of California, Berkeley. He is the coauthor (with Jim Collins) of the New York Times bestseller Great by Choice and the author of the highly acclaimed Collaboration and Great at Work. Formerly a professor at Harvard Business School and INSEAD (France), professor Hansen holds a PhD from Stanford Business School, where he was a Fulbright scholar. His academic research has won several prestigious awards, and he is ranked one of the world’s most influential management thinkers by Thinkers50. Morten Hansen was also a manager at the Boston Consulting Group, where he advised corporate clients worldwide. Born and raised in Norway, he lives in San Francisco with his wife and two daughters, and he travels the world to give keynotes and help companies and people become great at work.
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Redesigning your workflow can also help you be more productive. The example of flipped learning in schools was intriguing. Having students learn their lessons at home by watching videos and then doing the work in class where teachers could help. Makes me wonder how many schools actually practice this method and how successful are they with it.
If you are looking to have that work/life balance, that's the last topic they cover. Too often have I thought about work while at home rather than spending it with my family. We all need that balance regardless if you have kids or significant other or just yourself.
Many topics are covered, but the one that impacted me the most was about limiting the number of projects you take on. Rather than grabbing a dozen lucrative projects that people are shoving in your face, the best approach is to focus only what you can handle. That is that not easy thing to do, but since putting this principle into practice, I have found myself more productive saying "no" than say "yes" when facing multiple opportunities.
1. intuitively correct
2. you never would have thought of it
3. you can use it today to make your life better
Why is that?
Because the three main sections hit the very core of being successful at work and in life:
I. Mastering Your Own Work - you really do need to be competent and if possible, excellent (i.e. consistently better than very good) and using the "10,000 hours to become an expert" is a great way to accomplish. One reason for this is that when you internalize those skills and abilities so that they become hard-wired, you can turn to the next section.
II. Mastering Working with Others - given the complexity of this world, there is very little that you can get done on your own without relying on and working with others. And to do that, you need to be someone that other people want to work with. The difference between your putting a smile on others faces vs. dreading seeing you will spell the difference between great success or great failure.
III. Mastering Your Work-Life - it really is difficult to give your best to your job, when you have to go to divorce mediation in the afternoon, or attend a family therapy session with you drug addicted teenager. At the end of your life don't be someone who too late realizes that everything you thought was important, isn't and everything you thought was unimportant, is. No dying man or woman, wishes he or she spent more time at the office.
One final value add:
If you want to improve company culture, do a pilot program at your company using this as your guide. You may discover it is all you need to create a great corporate culture, because the appreciation and gratitude you employees will feel will translate into:
a. higher performance
Where they distinguish themselves is that Great at Work provides better resources for someone managing a team. If you manage a team start with Great at Work and then look at High Performance Habits.
It gives very clear and practical advise on how to perform better at work and/or how to gradually improve your performance over time. It covers both the issues of keeping focus, keeping motivation up but also collaboration and the work-life balance.
More importantly the conclusions and advice are backed by massive research, surveys and interviews. The amount of research that Morten T. Hansen has put into this book is really impressive and as he says he listened to his own advice too - work smart not hard, do less and obsess.
A must read for anyone who strives to do be a better performer at work.