Leaders are often put into a position to provide advice to a staff member. What the leader chooses to say is often a combination of personal experience and company policy. Author and Duke Corporate Education professor Jake Breeden reveals that many of the most revered pieces of conventional wisdom are causing chaos in the workplace. In Tipping Sacred Cows: Kick the Bad Work Habits that Masquerade as Virtues, Breeden provides seven common sacred cows that may be undermining your company’s efforts to create greater success. Tipping Sacred Cows is now available as a Soundview Executive Book Summary.
Breeden has coached thousands of leaders in countries around the world. The benefit of his years spent observing the inner workings of numerous organizations is paired with key research from a number of fields including neuroscience and behavioral economics.
Some of the sacred cows Breeden discusses, such as collaboration, creativity and fairness, are given a facelift that provides needed change. Breeden aids the transformation by providing multiple steps to help executives shift a bad habit into a more effective method. For example, Automatic Collaboration, the common practice of throwing every project out to a team, causes Breeden to advise leaders to ask a question, “Is the outcome worth the cost of this collaboration?” He follows this question with seven steps to turn automatic collaboration into accountable collaboration.
A critical insight is contained in one of the latter chapters of the book. “The more you espouse virtues without questioning them,” Breeden writes, “the harder it gets to see when they’ve become sacred cows.” Tipping Sacred Cows offers a template to help guide executives to identify their company’s sacred cows. Leaders who use Breeden’s seven virtues as a starting point will receive the greatest rewards from the work.