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Work 2.0: Rewriting the Contract Hardcover – January 8, 2002

4.4 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Now that the economy has tanked, it's time for corporate execs to remind their employees of who's who and what's what, right? Wrong, warns Bill Jensen in Work 2.0, his rousing but practical blueprint for creating the productive workplace of the future. Employees are any company's most important investors, Jensen reminds the forward-thinking leader; how their contributions of time, attention, ideas, knowledge, passion, energy, and social networks are respected and rewarded will determine the success or failure of the company. Think of Work 2.0 as the new contract these employees are wielding, their sophisticated manifesto for how to get a better return on their investment. It's no longer merely about healthy compensation, good benefits, and a foosball table in the corporate café; today's workers care about how easy it is to make a big impact, how much and how fast they can learn, and how efficiently what they provide is utilized. Jensen aims this motivational guide at leaders who want to attract and keep these savvy employee-investors, and teaches them how to embrace the asset revolution, give their employees better control over their own destinies, create and deliver peer-to-peer value, and become the type of extreme leaders capable of excelling in extreme times. The book is peppered with great quotes, useful checklists, and tips from leaders already succeeding under the new contract. --S. Ketchum

From Publishers Weekly

An opening query, expressed almost as a throwaway, shows what this book could have been. Consultant Jensen (Simplicity: The New Competitive Advantage in a World of More, Better, Faster), reflecting on what managers must do today, writes: "Work 2.0 places before you a simple self-assessment question: `As a leader, am I changing enough to demonstrate that I respect and trust the people around me?'" Unfortunately, Jensen never comes close to explaining what a manager needs to do to answer that question affirmatively. Instead, in tilling over ground broken long ago by Warren Bennis, he tells readers that today's workers want meaning as well as money. Then, as the McKinsey consulting firm has already maintained, he explains that there is a war for the best talent. Faintly echoing the writings of Thomas Stewart, he underscores what's now considered a basic truth that intellectual capital is a firm's most important asset and then repeats what Tom Peters has argued since the mid-1990s: if companies don't provide the best environment for employees to thrive, they won't attract the best employees. Managers today want to know what they have to do to be effective, and how they have to do it. Instead, Jensen gives them entire chapters revolving around such statements as "great workplaces respect life's precious assets" and "great workplaces get better results by giving people better control over their own destiny." Agent, Lisa Adams.

Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books; 1st edition (January 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0738205699
  • ISBN-13: 978-0738205694
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.3 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,999,644 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Bill Jensen has researched how we all work for more than a decade. I know: I participated in part of his study ten years ago.
Here's what I've learned both from his two books and his research...
* HIS SKILL is as an aggregator, simplifier, and clarifier.
I laugh at reviews that are obviously searching for the next big thing:
("Nothing new here. So-and-so said that back in...") He openly covers ideas that others cover. But he integrates them all together, and finds the patterns and overlaps between dots that we couldn't otherwise connect.
* HE IS PASSIONATE about respect for the individual.
Work 2.0 and Simplicity are not about *business* success. They are about people issues, and finding more ways for each individual to succeed.
He's holding leaders accountable for employees' time, energy, and
passion that they waste. When he wrote "It is no longer acceptable to say that there's *work* and there's *life* and it's up to employees to balance the two," he was taking a stand for all the thousands of people he's heard from during his research. Again, I was one of those he stood up for.
* HE ASKS tough questions.
Do not buy his books unless you're willing to look in the mirror. While he includes checklists and writes in a very accessible way, he is definitely not about mice-moving-cheese, or fish-throwing, or Five Steps to Eternal Bliss. He's seen our personal foibles and the stupidity in our workplaces, and he tells the truth.
* HE POKES a finger in the eye of those in power, then winks at us.
* HE RESPECTS his readers.
Sure, he gets some things wrong. I don't agree with all his findings or recommendations.
Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
Jensen has done an excellent job of redefining the notion of a "Best Place to Work." Instead of focusing on perqs, he talks about what people really need to do their jobs well. And he does it with the characteristic Jensen writing style: concise, candid, and humorous.
What I particularly like about the book is that Jensen forces people at all levels in a hierarchy to take responsibility for creating effective workplaces. It's not just up to leaders and it's not just up to the people who work with them to recreate a better work environment. He gives advice and concrete tools to both groups. The quick quizzes and mini case-studies in this book are particularly useful. The work on social networks is simplified, but very accessible and practical.
Full disclosure: I had a review copy and I am a colleague of Bill's.
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Format: Hardcover
The dust will settle soon. Wrenching uncertainty may not go away, but we will have progressed. Or will we?
Jensen wants us to stop first, and ask new questions. Like: What returns should we expect for all that we invest into an employer? He states flat out that "for most employees, the more they invest in their company, the more they lose control of their own destiny." He details a new and different covenant. And tells the stories of a few companies who have started.
Just one page (77), his SimplerWork Index, and the instructions on how to use it, are worth the price of the book. When the Index asks us to respond to statements like, "My company is respectful of my time and attention, and is focused on using it wisely and effectively" -- Wow! It stops the platitudes, and energizes new debates about what it means to be in a "great place to work."
What makes Work 2.0 so useful and important is not that Jensen gets everything right. (I'd quibble with a few of his points.) It's that he's taken the conversation about work/life balance and the war for talent to excitingly new places. Get this book! Get lots, and give the other copies to people who need to "get it."
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Format: Hardcover
This sleeper hit will turn out to be one of this year's ten most
important books. Published at the very moment scandals exploded and markets imploded, Jensen saw the need for us to take more control of our own future, and shows us how.
2.0 looks at work, with in-your-face truthtelling. For example, nowhere will the CEO&Guru authors of "Execution" tell you that "the leaders of great workplaces must accept accountability for life's precious assets" (how our time gets spent/wasted every day), or that today's leaders "must be willing to be challenged on, and address, work-level details." Jensen backs up those ideas with examples, and new ways work and have a life too.
Among the ideas and tools I found most helpful:
* A chapter on how to redefine our relationship w/ our employers
* A tool, The SimplerWork Index, that provides completely
new measures for great places to work
* New examples of how to build operations to meet the needs of workers and customers
* An unheard-of-commitment to personal productivity: Corporate commitments to helping each individual, not just the business, get more done with less resources
I believe that this book is ten-best-important because, at the very moment when marketplace and corporate foundations are being shaken, 2.0 asks completely new questions of us, of our relationship with those companies, and of what it takes for us to be our best. It shapes a completely new conversation about work, life, and what we want from each.
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