The one sentence summary
Do less, work hard on fewer things, learn diligently, and debate properly to generate better work and achieve more.
- This is all about how top performers do less, work better and achieve more.
- It is based on a 5-year study of 5,000 managers and employees, so it is thoroughly backed up by statistical analysis.
- This has produced Seven Work Smarter Practices. Working smart is defined as maximising the value of your work by selecting a few activities and applying intense targeted effort.
- Do less, then obsess. Select a tiny set of priorities and make a huge effort in those areas. Those mastering this rank 25 percentage points higher in performance.
- Redesign your work. Focus on creating value, not just reaching pre-set goals.
- Don’t just learn, loop. Eschew mindless repetition in favour of better skills practice (quality learning). A learning loop means measure, feedback, modify, do/redo. This leads to better outcomes than mindless repetition, but you must push through the stall point.
- P-squared. This is passion (what you love) + Purpose (do what contributes). Seeking roles that match your passion with purpose (inner motivation) generates more energy per hour worked.
- Forceful champions. Shrewdly deploy influence tactics to gain the support of others (advocacy).
- Fight and unite. Cut back on wasteful team meetings that go through the motions, and instead promote rigorous debate. The unwelcome alternatives are groupthink, fight and undermine, or plain anarchy.
- The two sins of collaboration: undercollaborating, and overcollaborating. Carefully pick which cross-unit projects to get involved in, and say no to less productive ones (disciplined collaboration).
WHAT’S GOOD ABOUT IT
- Functional fixedness is our inability to solve problems due to our fixation on how work has always been done.
- 69% per cent of people say that their meetings aren’t productive.
- The value of a person’s work = benefits to others x quality x efficiency (not hours worked).
- Are you working on the right things? Concentrate on less fluff, more of the right stuff, and more high value activities.
- Are you doing the things right? Higher quality, faster, cheaper activities.
- “A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention.” Herbert Simon
WHAT YOU HAVE TO WATCH
- Nothing. This is a rigorous survey with clear recommendations.