Nine Lies About Work A Freethinking Leader’s Guide to

Nine Lies About Work A Freethinking Leader’s Guide to the Real World How do you get to what's realYour organization's culture is the key to its success Strategic planning is essential People's competencies should be measured and their weaknesses shored up People crave feedbackThese may sound like basic truths of our work lives today But actually they're lies As strengths guru and bestselling author Marcus Buckingham and Cisco Leadership and Team Intelligence head Ashley Goodall show in this provocative inspiring book there are some big lies distortions faulty assumptions wrong thinking running through our organizational lives Nine lies to be exact They cause dysfunction and frustration and ultimately result in a strange feeling of unreality that pervades our workplacesBut there are those who can get past the lies and discover what's real These are freethinking leaders who recognize the power and beauty of our individual uniueness who know that emergent patterns are valuable than received wisdom and that evidence is powerful than dogma With engaging stories and incisive analysis the authors reveal the essential truths that such freethinking leaders will recognize immediately that it is the strength and cohesiveness of your team not your company's culture that matters most; that we need less focus on top down planning and on giving our people reliable real time intelligence; that rather than trying to align people's goals we should strive to align people's sense of purpose and meaning; that people don't want constant feedback they want helpful attention This is the real world of workIf you embrace each person's uniueness and see this as key for all healthy organizations; if you reject dogma and engage with the real world; if you seek out emergent patterns and put your faith in evidence not philosophy; if you thrill to the power of teams if you do all of these then you are a freethinking leader and this book is for you

10 thoughts on “Nine Lies About Work A Freethinking Leader’s Guide to the Real World

  1. says:

    This is a well written book by an author who has written some other great books First Break All the Rules What the World's Greatest Managers Do Differently is on my favorites listThe following are my notes words in brackets are supposed to have the strikeout effect but there might be a rendering bug They indicate common misconceptions 1 People care which company team they work for Because that's where work actually happens 2 The best plan intelligence wins Because the world moves too fast for plans 3 The best companies cascade goals meaning Because that's what they all share 4 The best people are well rounded spiky Because uniueness is a feature not a bug 5 People need feedback attention Because we all want to be seen for who we are at our best 6 People can reliably rate other people their own experience Because that's all we have 7 People have potential momentum Because we all move through the world differently 8 Work life balance Love in work matters most Because that's what work is really for 9 Leadership is a thing We follow spikes Because spikes bring us certaintyDecisionsInformation used to be shared by individuals and decisions made by leaders Now it’s the opposite Information needs to be shared by leaders with decisions being made by individualsLeadershipIt’s important to get team members the information they need then it is to craft a perfect leadership messageYou can’t manufacture or fake leadership then you fail at authenticity Best companies don’t cascade goals they cascade meaningNot all leaders create leadership in exactly the same way which makes it very hard to be measured He says that the best definition of a leader is someone who people are following It’s easier to measure followers than leadersManagementEveryone should have a one on one every week with their manager as a check in with two uestions asked 1 What are your priorities for this week? 2 How can I help? The check in can be as short as 10 to 15 minutes Every week is important so that you can get into the nitty gritty detailsTurn peoples uniueness into a feature Identify times when people are demonstrating strengths and ask them about it You cannot create excellence by fixing the current problem Find a way to weave what you love into your work People in the same role love different aspects EvaluationsDon’t judge people on their potential but you can evaluate their current momentumFlip evaluations around Instead of trying to grade people on certain attributes of their character and abilities and asking them on a scale of 1 to 5 does this person show excellence You should figure out how to ask about information you understand such as do you regularly go to this person when you need someone to architect a solution Then people aren't guessing on a made up metric but they are accurately informing based on their past decisions

  2. says:

    This book speaks to me on so many levels as someone who worked in an International corporate environment for than 15 years and as someone who has her own business and interacts with privately owned businesses on a daily basis These practices make so much sense to me and I encourage all to read this book both leaders and followers It’s a paradigm shifting book that outlines exactly what we can do to improve our businesses’ performance and the lives of those who work there Businesses who make these changes have just got to be the best places to work They will be the ones that talented individuals will choose to work for The book addresses generally accepted approaches within many companies and the authors heap up the evidence to contradict each of these ie they address the “Nine Lies”Key outtakes for me It’s the team we are a part of not the company we work for that matters The role of the team leader is the most important role in any company So best we pay attention to the uality of our team leaders The people who use the information are in the best position to make sense of it with smaller integrated efforts which are adjusted as a result of the intelligence gathered being the way to go Regular check ins with team members are essential to retaining increasing their engagement We need to set our own goals for them to have any value goals cannot be imposed on us by others Shared meaning and purpose can be cascaded down to create alignment but we need a“ detailed understanding of the purpose of our work and the values we should honour in deciding how to get it done” Leaders need to expound the WHY then the individuals can tussle with the WHAT Excellent performance depends on our working with our strengths daily not on our being well rounded It’s the single most powerful predictor of a team’s productivity High performers leverage their strengths and work out how to increase the impact of what they do where they already have an ability People need to know we genuinely care about them “Positive attention is thirty times powerful than negative attention in creating high performance on a team” “If you want your people to learn pay attention to what’s working for them right now and then build on that” We are not able to objectively assess the performance of an individual by scoring them or their overall potential Rather we should look to understand how a team leader reacts to the team member; how heshe feels We need to discuss human growth and the careers our people aspire to and how we can help them build those careers we can’t’ ignore who they are and their needs “Love in work matters most” ie finding love in what we do is really important and is a critical part of what makes each one of us uniue We then need to bring this strength to our team A leader is only a leader if they have followers “The only determinant of whether anyone is leading is whether anyone is following’” Followership can be measured leadership can’tI just loved these uotes “A leader who embraces a world in which the weird uniueness of each individual is seen not as a flaw to be ground down but as a mess worth engaging with the raw material for all healthy ethical thriving organisations a leader who rejects dogma and instead seeks out evidence”“ leaders cannot be in the control business and must be in the intelligence meaning and empowerment business the outcomes business”I thoroughly enjoyed this book and will reference it going forward It’s well written with many stories to help the reader understand the principles and with detailed research supporting the arguments With many thanks to the authors the publishers Harvard Business Review Press and NetGalley for my free copy to review

  3. says:

    I love how this book stretches our thinking and pushes us past the standard HRTalent Development methods I really really love how it uses logic and research to point out the gaps in the existing approaches But I'm bummed about how they overreact on the solution They get caught up in their rhetoric and throw about the baby with the bathwater Example leadership is hard to define and many of our great leaders didn't have all the traits we would say a good leader has so they say there must not be any way to define leadership at all So read this book to stretch your thinking and then ignore most of the recommendations they have for fixing the holes in the systems

  4. says:

    I am a fan of Marcus Buckingham's work I always have my teams do the strengthsfinder exercise so they are aware of what they love and can use those to go from good to great The book has 9 parts1 People join companies but leave teams The theory is that while people care for the company they join what it stands for culture values etc the biggest part of their experience is their team Yeah kinda true but also true of managers And depending on the role multiple teams really2 Focus on sharing intelligence rather than plans Planning doesn't tell you where to go it helps you understand where you are Goals have to be directionally correct not set in excruciating detail As a leader share as much data as you can let the team build intelligence around it and use it as they see fit Watch and optimize I liked this makes a good case for openness3 Best companies cascade meaning not just goals explaining why is always better than giving people goals to cascade to True story From MBOs to SMART goals to KPIs to BHAGs to the now trendy OKRs they never tell the story of why just the what We obsess over what instead of explain why Cascading meaning can be through culturewhat we stand for rituals or stories 4 Good leaders are spiky not fully well rounded this is a corollary to the strengths theory Strengths are what give you joy make you feel strong rather than just what you are good at Good leaders are really great at a few things and not bad at most others It is the sum of these that matter rather than being good at everything Each of us are uniue hone and cultivate this uniueness partner up with a team that can balance you out rather than trying to do that within an individual 5 People need attention not feedback this one was meh While I buy the fact that positive attention is often the best catalyst to good performance writing off negative feedback entirely renders a disservice to people Radical candor did a better job of capturing this in my mind6 Managers can rate people reliably again this felt like overgeneralization killed the point While the specific leading s would you go to this person for any difficult job? would you promote them now if you can? were concrete tips it didn’t generate any great insight7 People have momentum I liked the articulation of this Momentum a product of mass strengthstraits that individuals have and velocity outcomes delivered thus far as a way to describe performance trajectory rather than potential 8 Love of work matters than work life balance “You’ll never feel proud of your work if you find no joy in it your best work is always joyful work” Find ways to do of what you love and you’ll get better at your job Sounds like new age advice but I uite liked the practical advice around self awareness on the job tracking “red threads” weaving strengths into your daily routine etc9 Leadership is what your followers experience not what you do The currency of leadership is human relationships emotional bonds trust love If you understand who you are at your core and hone that understanding into a few special abilities each of which magnifies your intent your essence your humanity then people are inspired to follow Overall a great read even if you aren’t familiar with Gallup or Marcus’ earlier work The stories are engaging and the uotes are fun

  5. says:

    Worth reading if you want to be a good manager and avoid falling into the generalization trapI was not taken by the style Not all the lies were truly eye opening but in general I love the battle against de humanizing peopleI know we all believe that what is measured can be managed but with people it is not as easy as organizations want it to be My favorite thoughtForget about someone's potential hard to assess hard to measure focus on the momentum where they are how they grow what's the next step

  6. says:

    According to the book following are the nine of the most prevalent lies about work and the truth behind them1 Myth Company culture impacts employee retention Research shows that employees actually care about the teams they belong to than the companies they work at2 Myth Planning is essential The world moves too fast for plans—a better strategy is to regularly provide teams with the best most up to date information possible3 Myth Goals stimulate better employee performances Instead of having employees set goals companies must galvanize their workforce by having a meaningful purpose and shared values4 Myth The best employees are well rounded Employees who are encouraged to focus on their uniue strengths are effective than those who try to be good at everything5 Myth Constructive feedback is necessary Employees don’t need feedback—they need their team leaders to give them freuent positive attention ask them what strategiesactivities works for them in the currentpast work and there gut feeling about what will work in future 6 Myth Leaders should rate their employees’ performances The only things that human beings can accurately and reliably rate are their own experiences and feelings7 Myth Some employees have potential than others Everyone has the ability to learn and improve8 Myth Work life balance is the key to happiness Rather than trying to balance out jobs they hate with personal time people must learn to focus on the positive aspects of their jobs9 Myth Leadership is a set of predictable traits When it comes to effective leadership there’s no one size fits all strategy

  7. says:

    Where to startReasons to avoid reading the book1 Can be summarised in a page serious readers wishing some take away please wait for book summaries to spout up in the net read from there2 Provides no new insight its a mish mash of few professionals deciding on topics of interest and writing essays with sprinklers of weird real life analogies and examples3 The book has a lot of built in distractions that deviate you from the flow Sudden jargons will sprout to simply validate the origin or the thought and will take up space by the time the jargonized phrase is over you’ve sort of forgotten where you started 4 whatever few interesting original points were made they were over diluted with paras going nowhere5 Silly examples with an attempt to over generalise the functioning of an organisation6 Theories are benchmarked with some one size fit all model organization and the authors go on to refute what's wrong with the theory7 The topics are not cogently delivered

  8. says:

    Felt like all my unspoken angst about people at work were given a voiceEnough strength in the voice too

  9. says:

    Loved the new look at how to managea mixture of uotes and notes8 Things that predict highest performing teams1 I am really enthusiastic about the mission of my company2 At work I clearly understand what is expected of me3 In my team I am surrounded by people who share my values4 I have the chance to use my strengths every day at work5 My teammates have my back6 I know I will be recognized for excellent work7 I have great confidence in my company's future8 In my work I am always challenged to growTo love the little platoon we belong to is the first principle the germ as it were of public affectionpeople love their team than their companyTeams simplify they help us see where to focus and what to do Culture doesn't do this funnily enough because it's too abstract Teams make work realTeams aren't about sameness they are about unlocking what is uniue about each of us in the service of something sharedPlans scope the problem not the solution It's far better to coordinate your team's efforts in real time relying heavily on the formed detailed intelligence in each uniue teammember Instead of cascading goals instead of cascading instructions or actions cascade meaning or purpose The best leaders realize that their people are wise that they do not need to be coerced into alignment through yearly goal setting These leaders strive instead to bring to life for their people through meaning and purpose of their work the missions and contributions and methods that truly matterwhereas cascaded goals are a control mechanism cascaded meaning is a release mechanism Many leaders set about writing out their values and wind up with a list of generic values such as integrity innovation and god forbid teamwork which are about as meaningful as musak and then wonder why the whole exercise didn't make much difference Instead apply some creativitydon't tell them what you value show them What do you actually want them to see and bump into at work?The everyday ness of the feeling that your work plays to your strengths is a vital condition of high performance Somehow on the best teams the team leader is able not only to identify the strengths of each person but also to tweak roles and responsibilities so that team members individually feel that their work calls upon them to exercise their strengths on a daily basisBeyond the obvious point that if all a company did was to become brilliant at failing in and ways faster and faster it would be well a failure The truth is that large success is an aggregation of small successes and that therefore improvement consists of finding out in each trial what works seizing hold of it and figuring out how to make of it Failure by itself doesn't teach us anything about success Just as our deficits by themselves don't teach us anything about our strengths And the moment we begin to get better is the moment something actually works not when it doesn'tThe diverse the team members the weird spikey and idiosyncratic they are the well rounded the team Competencies and all the other normative and deficit focused tools we have don't push in this direction of expressing and harnessing diversity when leaders get together they make ideals These are not abilities to be measured They are values to be shared so we should remove from our competency models the levels of ability the individual evaluations the feedback and all the other things they have become encumbered with We should instead simplify them clarify them recognize them and name them for what they areas a tool of assessment order and control they're worse than uselessThe truth then is that people need attention When you give it to us in a safe and non judgmental environment we will come and stay and play and workduring a challenge Ask for three things that are working In doing that you'r epriming his mind with oxytocin the creativity drug By getting him to think about some specific things that are going right you are deliberately altering his brain chemistry so that he can be open to new solutions and new ways of thinking or acting BTW you can be totally up front with him about what you are doing The evidence suggests the active a participant he is in this the effective the techniue Next go to the past Ask him 'when you had a problem like this in the past what did you do that worked?' think about previous similar issues and solutions Finally turn to the future Ask your team member what do you already know you need to do? what do you already know works in this situation In a sense you're operating under the assumption that he's already made his decision; you're just helping him find it what uestions not why uestions for concrete answers not conjecturedesigning uestion The trick is to invert our line of inuiry Rather than asking whether a person has a given uality we need to ask how we would react to that other person if he or she did Do you go to this person when you need extraordinary results?Do you choose to work with this team member as much as you possibly can?would you promote this person today if you could?do you think this person has a performance problem that you need to address immediately?potential as Pygmalion The careless and unreliable labeling of some folks as hipos and lopos is deeply immoral It explicitly stamps large numbers of people with a 'less than' branding derived not from a measure of current performance but from a rater's hopelessly unreliable rating of a thing that isn't a thing And then this rating of a thing that isn't a thing opens doors for some confers prestige on some blesses some and sets them up for a brighter future all while relegating others to a status less than human How explicitly awful It is also unproductive The maximization machine should make the most of every single human within it not just a rarefied subset This notion that some people have lots of potential while others don't leads us to miss the gloriously weird possibilities lying hidden in each and every team member even the ones who at first blush seem to have little to offer the team's futureThose who reported they spent at least 20% of their time doing things they loved had dramatically lower risk of burnout Each percentage point reduction below this 20% level resulted in a commensurate and almost linear increase in burnout risk weave strengths into workThese characteristics are curiously circumscribed Authenticity is important right up until the point when the leader authentically says that he had no idea what to do which then fractures his vision likewise vulnerability is important until the moment when the leader's comfort with her own flaws causes us to doubt her and uestion whether she is sufficiently inspirationalThe only determinant of whether anyone is leading is whether anyone else is following This might seem like an obvious statement until we recall how easily we overlook its implications followers Their needs their feelings their fears and hopes are strangely absent when we think of leaders as exemplars of strategy execution vision oratory relationships charisma and so on The idea of of leadership is missing the idea of followers It's missing the idea that our subject here is at heart a uestion of a particularly human relationship Namely why anyone would choose to devote his or her energies to and to take risks on behalf of someone else And in that it's missing the entire pointSo the uestion is why do we followwhat makes us voluntarily place some part of our destiny in the hands of another human being?We follow leaders who connect us to a mission we believe in who clarify what's expected of us who surround us with people who define excellence the same way we do who value us for our strengths who know that our teammates will always be there for us who diligently replay our winning plays who challenge us to keep getting better who give us confidence in the future This is not a set of ualities in a leader but rather a set of feelings in a follower Your challenege is to find and refine your own idosyncratic way of creating in your team these 8 emotional outcomes Do this well and you will lead well Interestingly and happily a close study of the real world reveals that these two are linked Your ability to create the outcomes you want in your followers is tied directly to how seriously and intelligently you cultivate your own idiosyncrasy and to what end The deeper and extreme your idiosyncrasy becomes the passionately your followers followFollowers want instead an increasingly vivid picture of the future not another reminder of its inherent uncertainty Your greatest challenge as a leader then is to honor each person's legitimate fear of the unknown and at the same time to turn that fear into spiritedness We your followers like the comfort of where we stand yet know that the flow of events is pulling us inexorably into the unknown So when we find something anything however slight that lessens our uncertainty we cling on for dear life The final characteristic of the best teams is the feeling that for each team member ‘I have great confidence in my company's future’ This confidence in the future it seems is the antidote to our universal uncertainty and it explains why we follow The act of following is a barter We entrust some part of a future to a leader only when we get something in return That something in return is confidence and what gives us confidence in the future is seeing in a leader some great and pronounced level of ability in something we care about We follow people who are really good at something that matters to us We follow the spikes it's as if the spikes give us something to hook onto We're well aware of our own shortcomings and we know that what lies ahead of us in life is unknowable We're aware also that our journey will be easier if we can do it in partnership with others And when we see in others some ability that offsets our own deficits and that removes for us even if only slightly some of the mist of the future then we hold on We don't necessarily follow vision or strategy or execution or relationship building or any of the other leadership things Instead we follow mastery and it doesn't matter how this mastery manifests itself as long as we the followers find it relevantWe follow a leader because he is deep in something and he knows what that something is His knowledge of it and the evidence of his knowledge of it gives us both certainty in the present and confidence in the futureIt is strong not because of the breadth of his abilities but because of the narrowness and their focus and conseuently their distinctiveness and their power This is what drew followers to him by the millions in his life and this is what outlives him and draws us to his cause to this day Leading and following are not abstractions They are human interactions human relationships and their currency is the currency of all human relationships the currency of emotional bonds of trust and of love If you as a leader forget these things and yet master everything that theory world tells you matters you will find yourself alone But if you understand who you are at your core and hone that understanding into a few special abilities each of which refracts and magnifies your intent your essence and your humanity then in the real world we will see you and we will followTruths1 People care which team they're on because that's where work actually happens2 The best intelligence wins because the world moves too fast for plans3 The best companies cascade meaning because people want to know what they all share4 The best people are spikey because uniueness is a feature not a bug5 People need attention because we all want to be seen for who we are at our best6 People can reliably rate their own experience because that's all we have7 People have momentum because we all move through the world differently8 Love in work matters most because that is what work is really for9 We follow spikes because spikes give us certainty

  10. says:

    This book may be called a research to find out the reason behind Global worker engagement is weak with less than 20 percent of workers reporting that they are fully engaged at work The ADPRI’s Global Study of Engagement The observation was that “the technological advances and management strategies that worked to propel productivity in the past have been fully implemented and are no longer contributing to productivity From The Leader’s Guide to Corporate Culture Harvard Business Review January–February 2018 Authors of the book conducted survey at Cisco’s office in Krakow Poland on basis of following aspects can be broadly divided into 'We' and 'Me' aspectsWe Aspects1 I am really enthusiastic about the mission of my company3 In my team I am surrounded by people who share my values5 My teammates have my back support7 I have great confidence in my company’s futureMe Aspects2 At work I clearly understand what is expected of me4 I have the chance to use my strengths every day at work6 I know I will be recognized for excellent work8 In my work I am always challenged to growOn basis of detailed interview authors propose 9 lies and 9 truths Few are given belowLIE People care which company they work forTRUTH People care which team they’re on LIE The best plan winsTRUTH The best intelligence wins Because the world moves too fast for plansLIE The best companies cascade goalsTRUTH The best companies cascade meaning LIE People need feedbackTRUTH People need attention LIE Work life balance matters mostTRUTH Love in work matters most Because that’s what work is really forIt is uite difficult to make a synopsis of the book however few takeaways could be In the real world each high performer is uniue and distinct and excels precisely because thatperson has understood his or her uniueness and cultivated it intelligently Growth it turns out is actually a uestion not of figuring out how to gain ability where we lack itbut of figuring out how to increase impact where we already have ability than striving for balance between work and life—love in work matters most Your greatest challenge as a leader then is to honour each person’s legitimate fear of the unknownand at the same time to turn that fear into spiritednessWorkers who say they are on a team are 23 times likely to be Fully Engaged than those who say they are notHigher engagement causes higher performance

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