What are you reading right now?
I have always enjoyed Marcus Buckingham’s work. Occasionally, I would open my tattered copy of his book, First Break All the Rules: What the Greatest Managers Do Differently, at a random page and start reading from there. I also read books in clusters; I am currently reading Think Big, Start Small, Move Fast together with Management Lessons from Mayo Clinic because I delight in cross-referencing and getting as many perspectives as I can. In 2019 however, what is getting me excited is the latest work of Marcus Buckingham together with Ashley Goodall, Nine Lies About Work: A Freethinking Leader’s Guide to the Real World. This work resonates with me because it is primarily about actions we can take to improve our world of work. I want to see a world of work that celebrates the unique strengths of people – it saddens me whenever I hear a manager or a head of department says they need to fire someone because that person is not performing. Whenever a manager comes to me to seek advice on the best and fastest way to fire said under-performing person, I would always ask them the same question to start the conversation:
When you hired them, they were the best among the rest, or even the right candidate for the job. What changed?
Oftentimes the themes that emerge from that conversation may include change of job scope or responsibilities, lack of clarity in communicating the actual measurable goals that the person needed to achieve or lack of open communications. The performance of the person suffers perhaps, but more often that not, factors contributing to that do not come from that person alone.
I have always believed that things are not completely right at work, and the processes (and habits and behaviors) are not designed to help us express our unique strengths. At the same time I am optimistic that we can get together and explore better ways to DO work that brings out the best in everyone. The next posts will explore more. In the meantime, you can also check out the work at https://freethinkingleader.org/ .