Friday Book Review! Time, Talent, Energy by Michael C. Mankins & Eric Garton

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“Too many companies are living in yesterday’s world. They are seeking competitive advantage through traditional methods, and they aren’t finding it. And they are missing their main opportunity for boosting performance and outstripping competitors. Let us explain what we mean.”

With these opening words of their new book, Time, Talent, Energy, Bain consultants Michael Mankins and Eric Garton launch a combination manifesto and manual urging companies to stop focusing on acquiring and managing the principal scarce resource of the past — capital — and instead focus on acquiring and managing the scarce resources that truly make a competitive difference today: the time, talent and energy of your best people.

Confronting the Productivity Killer

Unlike capital, which is easier to locate and access than ever before, the authors’ research shows that the time, talent and energy of leaders and employees are becoming more and more scarce. To be successful, the authors write, companies must ensure that their employees are the most productive they can be — that is, that they use their time productively and that they pour their talent and their energy into their work.


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Most productivity books are focused on the individual. However, Mankins and Garton have a different message: “It’s not your employees’ fault that they are not as productive as they could or should be; it’s your organization’s fault.”

Most organizations are undermining their employees’ productivity with roadblocks and obstacles. The authors call these organizational obstacles “organizational drag.” “Organizational drag slows things down, decreasing output and raising costs,” they explain. “Organizational drag saps energy and drains the human spirit. Organizational drag interferes with the most capable executive’s and employee’s efforts, encouraging a ‘What’s the use?’ attitude… It’s time for companies to confront this productivity killer head on.”

The authors’ analysis of the time budgets of 17 large corporations indicates that time is still a scarce resource that is being squandered. Some of the culprits are well known, including a tidal wave of e-communications and meeting time that, according to the study, has skyrocketed. In addition, real collaboration is limited: most meetings, the authors write, are within departments, not between functions or business units.

Unfortunately, there are few controls and few consequences for time-wasting processes…(click here to continue reading)

Friday Book Review! Master Your Time, Master Your Life by Brian Tracy

Image result for brian tracy master your time master your lifeSuccess guru Brian Tracy’s new book is centered on the concept of time. Although each chapter has the word “time” in it, Master Your Time, Master Your Life is not about time management as much as it is about life goals and on what areas to focus your efforts.

The first chapter, for example, is about “Strategic Planning and Goal Setting Time.” Successful people, Tracy writes, are those who plan their strategy and select their goals. “One of the most important types of time is the time you spend thinking, deciding and planning how to achieve the things you really want in life.”

Tracy recommends establishing a personal strategic plan based on four questions:

  • Where am I now in my life? Review your accomplishments, family situation, financial situation, and health and fitness.
  • How did I get to where I am today? Identify the choices and decisions that led to where you are today. Recognize the sources of your successes — and setbacks.
  • Where do I want to go in the future? Imagine a perfect life five years in the future. Get into the details of how it would be different from the present.
  • How can I get from where I am to where I want to be? Identify what you need to be doing today to make that ideal future become a reality.

Some of the chapters, such as “Productive Time” and “Work Time,” involve more conventional time management suggestions.

In the “Work Time” chapter, Tracy dives into how to overcome the “seven major time wasters” at work (telephone, email and text interruptions; unexpected visitors; meetings; fire fighting; procrastination; socializing and idle conversations; and indecision and delay).

In the “Productive Time” chapter, Tracy highlights the three keys to productivity:

  • Clarity. Tracy’s focus here is on a clear understanding of expected results — the production part of productivity. Exactly what will make people see you as dependable and valuable?
  • Focus. Productivity depends on a single-minded focus on the task at hand. Multitasking productivity, writes Tracy, is a myth.
  • Concentration. Being able to concentrate for extended periods of time is a difficult but vital skill, he writes.

To read this review in full, click here. Don’t forget to sign up for our FREE Executive Book Alert newsletter to receive reviews just like this one every month right to your inbox!

 

Friday Book Review! Smarter, Faster, Better by Charles Duhigg

Image result for smarter faster betterNew York Times reporter Charles Duhigg, overwhelmed by deadlines and commitments, sought advice from a friend of a friend: Atul Gawande, best-selling author, surgeon, Harvard professor, advisor to the World Health Organization and entrepreneur. Duhigg wanted to know how he could be as productive as Gawande.

Duhigg defines productivity as “attempts to figure out the best uses of our energy, intellect and time as we try to seize the most meaningful rewards with the least wasted effort … It’s about getting things done without sacrificing everything we care about along the way.” Gawande replied that he was “running flat out with my various commitments,” confirming to Duhigg that even the most productive people in the world became overbooked. He later discovered, however, that Gawande did not have time for him just then because he was going to a rock concert with his children followed by a mini-vacation with his wife. “There were people out there who knew how to be more productive,” Duhigg writes. “I just had to convince them to share their secrets with me.”

The result of this quest is Duhigg’s newest book, Smarter Faster Better. In this fascinating book, Duhigg uses wide-ranging illustrative narratives backed by scientific studies. The Story of Two Planes In his chapter on how to focus better, for example, Duhigg tells the stories of two flight emergencies. In the first case, the pilots became overwhelmed by sudden alarms (after hours of autopilot flying), and instead of seeing the big picture and making the simple correction required (slightly lowering the nose of the plane), they focused intently on the wrong indicators in front of them. The nose of the plane kept pointing further upwards until the plane stalled and fell in the ocean, killing all 229 aboard.

The pilots, explain Duhigg, had fallen victim to “cognitive tunneling,” which occurs when a suddenly overwhelmed brain compensates by focusing exclusively on whatever stimuli is in front of it, in this case irrelevant gauges and printouts. In the second narrative of the chapter, an engine explodes, severely damaging one of the wings. The damage was so extensive that the pilot could have been easily overwhelmed by all that was going wrong. Yet, by imagining that he was flying a simple Cessna instead of a giant, highly complex Airbus 340, the pilot focused on what he had to do to turn the plane around and land it safely. It was the most damaged Airbus 340 ever to land safely. The key was the “mental model” that the pilot had created in his head by telling himself a story: that he was landing a Cessna. To continue reading, click here.

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How to Unleash Millennials in the Workplace
[FREE EVENT]

Date: Thursday, July 28
Time: 12:00 PM ET
Speaker: Jason Forrest

Register here for free!

The millennial generation is becoming the dominate population inside of corporations. The problem is, companies are struggling on how to maximize their productivity.

In this FREE webinar, How to Unleash Millennials in the Workplace, Jason Forrest will share with us how sales managers can help millennials reach their full potential by developing them into the best versions of themselves.

What You’ll Learn:

  • How to increase retention of millennials.
  • How to drive profitability through millennials with coaching.
  • The management style needed to bring out the best in millennials.

 

Don’t miss our next FREE webinar!

How to Unleash Millennials in the Workplace [FREE EVENT]

Date: Thursday, July 28
Time: 12:00 PM ET
Speaker: Jason Forrest

Register for FREE 

The millennial generation is becoming the dominate population inside of corporations. The problem is, companies are struggling on how to maximize their productivity.

In this FREE webinar, How to Unleash Millennials in the Workplace, Jason Forrest will share with us how sales managers can help millennials reach their full potential by developing them into the best versions of themselves.

What You’ll Learn:

  • How to increase retention of millennials.
  • How to drive profitability through millennials with coaching.
  • The management style needed to bring out the best in millennials.

Review: How to Have a Good Day by Caroline Webb

When someone would tell comedian George Carlin to “have a nice day,” Carlin would react angrily: “What if I don’t want to have a nice day?” Unlike Carlin, most of us would prefer to have nice days, but in our overworked, over-stressed and overbooked lives, it is not always easy. A new book by former McKinsey consultant Caroline Webb promises to come to our rescue. Entitled How to Have a Good Day: Harness the Power of Behavioral Science to Transform Your Working Life, it uses the advances in behavioral science, psychology and neuroscience to help us overcome or mitigate all of the stresses, setbacks and mishaps that create the many bad days or bad moments we endure.

The Essential Sciences

Webb begins her book with a quick look at three scientific advances that are key to understanding how we will be able to create a good day:
• The two-system brain. Our brains run two opposing systems in parallel, she explains. The deliberate system is our conscious thinking, slow and rational. The automatic system is subconscious, fast and instinctive. The deliberate system calculates a 15 percent tip; the automatic system makes us jump back before we are hit by a car.
• The mind-body loop. The mind and body are interconnected in ways we never realized. We knew happiness leads to a smile, but we did not know smiling (no matter how we feel) will make us happier.
• The discover-defend axis. We are constantly moving along an axis, anchored on one end by a defensive outlook, expecting attack at any moment, while anchored on the other end by a discovery mood, seeking out rewarding experiences.

 

Having laid the scientific groundwork,Webb then covers her seven building blocks of a good day:

Priorities: setting the intentional direction of the day.
Productivity: making the most of the hours of the day. Relationships: having positive, productive interactions.
Thinking: making wise choices, being creative and smart. Influence: maximizing the impact of what we say and do.
Resilience: overcoming setbacks and annoyances.
Energy: boosting enthusiasm and enjoyment.

Webb offers clear guidelines for each of the building blocks. Thus, for example, the section of the book on productivity includes chapters on single-tasking, planning deliberate down time, overcoming overload and beating procrastination. The chapters related to influence cover getting through their filters, making things happen and conveying confidence. Throughout the book, Webb carefully links the science introduced at the beginning to her directives. Down time increases productivity, for example, not only because a brain needs to rest but also because neuroscientists have discovered that the subconscious brain keeps working even when the conscious brain is at rest.

To read the full review, click here, or -better yet- sign up for our FREE Executive Book Alert newsletter to receive free reviews every month!

Join Us for a Webinar on 5/24: How to Manage Your Time and Accomplish Goals

How to Manage Your Time and Accomplish Goals
Date: Tuesday, May 24th
Time: 12:00 PM ET
Speaker: Chris Bailey

Register Today!

Productivity affects all of us; whether it be at home or in the office, there always seems to be a struggle to make time for all of life’s essential tasks.

In this Soundview Live webinar, How to Manage Your Time and Accomplish Goals, Chris Bailey takes us on his year-long journey to productivity. Through self-experimentation, Bailey offers counterintuitive insights on how to better-manage your time, attention and energy in order to accomplish more and not lose sight of the more meaningful things in life.

What You’ll Learn:

  • how to slow down to work more deliberately
  • how to shrink the unimportant and strive for imperfection
  • how to schedule less time for important tasks
  • the 20 second rule to distract yourself from the inevitable distractions
  • the concept of productive procrastination

Doing the Right Things Right: How the Effective Executive Spends Time

Image of Doing the Right Things RightInspired by Peter Drucker’s groundbreaking book The Effective Executive, Laura Stack details precisely how 21st-century leaders and managers can obtain profitable, productive results by managing the intersection of two critical values: effectiveness and efficiency.

Effectiveness, Stack says in Doing the Right Things Right, is identifying and achieving the best objectives for your organization — doing the right things. Efficiency is accomplishing them with the least amount of time, effort and cost — doing things right. If you’re not clear on both, you’re wasting your time. As Drucker put it, “There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.”

Stack’s 3T Leadership offers 12 practices that will enable executives to be effective and efficient, grouped into three areas where leaders spend their time: Strategic Thinking, Teamwork and Tactics. With her expert advice, Doing the Right Things Right will give you scores of new ideas on how you, your team and your organization can boost productivity.

IN THIS SUMMARY, YOU WILL LEARN:
• The 12 practices to be both effective and efficient.
• The three activities that help you make sense of the 12 practices.
• Why executives have evolved from being bosses to team members in recent decades.
• Strategies to communicate better and motivate your team.
• How to use technology to make you more efficient, rather than letting it overwhelm you.

Click here for the full summary!

Register Today: How to Create a Positively Contagious Work Culture

IF YOU GO:
How to Create a Positively Contagious Work Culture
Date: March 3, 2016
Time: 12:00 PM ET
Speaker: Anese Cavanaugh

You are about to enter a new era of leadership. With more competition, more connectedness, and more opportunities than ever before, this exciting new era demands a workplace culture that is collaborative, productive, energized, and contagious.

In this Soundview Live webinar, How to Create a Positively Contagious Work Culture, Anese Cavanaugh offers helpful transformative tools and exercises for improving collaborations, opening communications, and implementing changes. You’ll discover the best methods for handling the toughest challenges, from hiring and firing to strategizing and organizing.

Soundview Live events are FREE to subscribers. Check out our list of upcoming events!

How to Be Present and Productive When There Is Never Enough Time

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Would you like to be present and connect more effectively, all while being as productive as possible? 5 Gears: How to Be Present and Productive When There Is Never Enough Time introduces you to the five different gears, or mindsets, that carry you through various facets of your day, and teaches you to shift into the right gear at the right time so that you can grow in your relational intelligence and increase your influence.

All too often people go through life without truly connecting and can, as a result, miss out on experiences and relationships that have the power to bring them great joy. By understanding how the five gears work, you can improve your ability to connect with the world around you; explore why some people stay disconnected from the people and events around them and why others always seem to have a deep connection to their friends, family and surroundings; learn how to set triggers and markers that help you shift into the right gears at the right time, which will increase your relational dynamics and make you more productive; create positive change in the dynamics of your relationships; and improve your respect and influence.

5 Gears: How to Be Present and Productive When There Is Never Enough Time is the perfect resource for anyone who wants to live and lead connected.