Great at Work: The lowest outlet sale Hidden Habits of Top Performers online sale

Great at Work: The lowest outlet sale Hidden Habits of Top Performers online sale

Great at Work: The lowest outlet sale Hidden Habits of Top Performers online sale
Great at Work: The lowest outlet sale Hidden Habits of Top Performers online sale__front

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The Wall Street Journal bestseller—a Financial Times Business Book of the Month and named by The Washington Post as “One of the 11 Leadership Books to Read in 2018”—is “a refreshingly data-based, clearheaded guide” (Publishers Weekly) to individual performance, based on a groundbreaking study.

Why do some people perform better at work than others? This deceptively simple question continues to confound professionals in all sectors of the workforce. Now, after a unique, five-year study of more than 5,000 managers and employees, Morten Hansen reveals the answers in his “Seven Work Smarter Practices” that can be applied by anyone looking to maximize their time and performance.

Each of Hansen’s seven practices is highlighted by inspiring stories from individuals in his comprehensive study. You’ll meet a high school principal who engineered a dramatic turnaround of his failing high school; a rural Indian farmer determined to establish a better way of life for women in his village; and a sushi chef, whose simple preparation has led to his unassuming restaurant being awarded the maximum of three Michelin stars. Hansen also explains how the way Alfred Hitchcock filmed Psycho and the 1911 race to become the first explorer to reach the South Pole both illustrate the use of his seven practices.

Each chapter “is intended to inspire people to be better workers…and improve their own work performance” ( Booklist) with questions and key insights to allow you to assess your own performance and figure out your work strengths, as well as your weaknesses. Once you understand your individual style, there are mini-quizzes, questionnaires, and clear tips to assist you focus on a strategy to become a more productive worker. Extensive, accessible, and friendly, Great at Work will help us “reengineer our work lives, reduce burnout, and improve performance and job satisfaction” ( Psychology Today).

Review

“In an ambitious new study, Morten Hansen illuminates the habits that separate superstars from their peers. This is the definitive guide to working smarter.” —Adam Grant, New York Times  bestselling author of Give and Take, Originals, and Option B (with Sheryl Sandberg)

“The typical book about management or careers requires a heavy dose of faith because you don''t know where the recommendations come from. Morten Hansen brings beautiful data from a massive research project that reveals how stars at work, in dozens of industries, actually do their work. The data and Hansen''s analysis will surprise you, change you, and make you better at work... no leaps of faith required.” —Chip Heath, Professor Stanford Graduate School of Business, and author of three New York Times bestsellers, including Switch

“Some managers and employees are star performers. We’ve always wanted to know why, and now Morten Hansen tells us. It’s not because they work longer or harder than everyone else. It’s because they adopt a ‘growth mindset’ and find ways to work smarter. This magnificent study of over 5,000 employees reveals exactly what these stars do and is a landmark contribution to understanding the roots of professional success.” —Carol Dweck, author of Mindset

"A refreshingly data-based, clearheaded guide…” —Publishers Weekly

"Adds significantly to our understanding of job performance–and satisfaction–in an increasingly competitive workplace....[Hansen''s] findings, bolstered as they are by a massive and statistically rigorous study that included different kinds of for-profit companies, should command the attention of those of us who want to reengineer our work lives, reduce burnout, improve performance and job satisfaction." —Psychology Today 

"Finally, a method and evidence to uncover what it takes to multiply our effectiveness at work. Morten Hansen’s pathbreaking new book is a rare, research-driven "seven habits" for the 21th century. A must read for anyone working to improve themselves or helping others to do so.” Herminia Ibarra, Professor, London Business School and author of Act Like a Leader, Think Like a Leader

"We thought we were great at work until we read this book.  It has led us to re-think how we work and organize our lives.  It is that powerful.  Now, we are beginning to understand and sometimes practice what smart-work actually means." —Stuart Crainer and Des Dearlove, founders, Thinkers50 ()

Great at Work is intended to inspire people to be better workers. Written by a management professor at the University of California, Berkeley, this book differs from other popular management volumes in that it is based on a significant research project that identified the key factors that make better workers….As a research-based study on becoming a better worker, this volume will help readers improve their own work performance.” —Booklist

"In this groundbreaking book, Morten Hansen delivers on the genius of “and:” rigorous and relevant, research-driven and well-written, empirical and empowering, timeless and practical, full of big concepts and useful tips. Hansen''s work is truly distinctive in the genre of professional effectiveness, and a tremendous contribution. This is a book I will read more than once, and reference forever." —Jim Collins, author of Good to Great, co-author of Built to Last and Great by Choice

About the Author

Morten T. Hansen is a management professor at University of California, Berkeley. He is the coauthor (with Jim Collins) of the New York Times bestseller Great by Choice and the author of the highly acclaimed Collaboration and Great at Work. Formerly a professor at Harvard Business School and INSEAD (France), professor Hansen holds a PhD from Stanford Business School, where he was a Fulbright scholar. His academic research has won several prestigious awards, and he is ranked one of the world’s most influential management thinkers by Thinkers50. Morten Hansen was also a manager at the Boston Consulting Group, where he advised corporate clients worldwide. Born and raised in Norway, he lives in San Francisco with his wife and two daughters, and he travels the world to give keynotes and help companies and people become great at work.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Great at Work

ONE

THE SECRETS TO GREAT PERFORMANCE


After nine grueling interviews, I landed my dream job as management consultant at the Boston Consulting Group in London. I’ll never forget how I showed up on my first day, wearing an elegant blue suit bought for the occasion, with Oxford lace-up shoes to match. My girlfriend had given me a sleek, soft briefcase of the sort bankers carried around. As I strode through the front doors of the office in posh Devonshire House, right near Piccadilly, I looked the part, but felt intimidated.

I yearned to make a mark, so I followed what I thought was a brilliant strategy: I would work crazy hours. I didn’t have much relevant work experience—heck, I didn’t have any. It was my first real job. I was twenty-four years old and had just finished a master’s degree in finance from the London School of Economics. What I lacked in experience I would make up for by staying late in the office. Over the next three years, I worked sixty, seventy, eighty, even ninety hours per week. I drank an endless stream of weak British coffee and survived on a supply of chocolate bars I kept in my top drawer. It got to the point where I knew the names of the cleaning staff who arrived at five in the morning. As you can imagine, my girlfriend soon wanted the briefcase back.

One day, as I struggled through an intense merger and acquisition project, I happened upon some slides created by a teammate (I’ll call her Natalie). Paging through her analysis, I confronted an uncomfortable truth. Natalie’s work was better than mine. Her analysis contained crisper insights, more compelling ideas. Her slides boasted a clean, elegant layout that was more pleasing to the eye and easier to comprehend—which in turn made her analysis even more persuasive. Yet one evening in the office, when I went to look for her, she wasn’t there. I asked a guy sitting near her desk where she was, and he replied that she’d gone home for the night. He explained that Natalie never worked late. She worked from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. No nights, no weekends. That upset me. We were both talented and had the analytical capability required of BCG consultants. She had no more experience in the field than I did. Yet she did better while working less.

Three years later, I left BCG to embark on an academic career. I earned a Ph.D. from Stanford University and went on to become a professor at Harvard Business School. From time to time, I found myself thinking back to what I called the “Natalie Question”: Why had she performed better in fewer hours? She must have carried some secrets explaining her results. I began to wonder about performance in general and decided to focus my research on corporate performance.

Starting in 2002, Jim Collins and I spent nine years working on our book Great by Choice as a sequel to Jim’s Good to Great. Both books offer empirically validated frameworks that account for great performance in companies. That’s nice if you’re leading a business, but what about the rest of us? After we finished the project, I decided to develop a similarly validated framework for individual performance. It was time to discover why Natalie had done better than I, and more generally, to tackle the big question: why do some people perform great at work while others don’t?

Social scientists and management experts explain performance at work by pointing to people’s innate gifts and natural strengths. How often have you heard phrases like “She’s a natural at sales” or “He’s a brilliant engineer”? One influential book titled The War for Talent argues that a company’s ability to recruit and retain talent determines its success. The popular StrengthsFinder approach advocates that you find a job that taps into your natural strengths, and then focus on developing those further. These talent-based explanations are deeply embedded in our perceptions of what makes for success. But are they right?

Some work experts take issue with the talent view. They argue that an individual’s sustained effort is just as critical or even more so in determining success. In one variant of this “work hard” paradigm, people perform because they have grit, persevering against obstacles over the long haul. In another, people maximize efforts by doing more: they take on many assignments and are busy running to lots of meetings. That’s the approach I subscribed to while at BCG, where I put in long hours in an effort to accomplish more. Many people believe that working harder is key to success.

Talent, effort, and also luck undoubtedly explain why some succeed and others don’t, but I wasn’t satisfied with these arguments. They didn’t account for why Natalie performed better than I, nor did they explain the performance differences I had observed between equally hardworking and talented people.

I decided to take a different approach, exploring whether the way some people work—their specific work practices as opposed to the sheer amount of effort they exert—accounts for greatness at work. That led me to explore the idea of “working smart,” whereby people seek to maximize output per hour of work. The phrase “work smarter, not harder” has been thrown around so much that it has become a cliché. Who wants to “work dumb”? But many people do in fact work dumb because they don’t know exactly how to work smart. And I don’t blame them, because it’s hard to obtain solid guidance.

I scanned for existing advice on how to work smarter, and the picture I arrived at was incoherent and overwhelming. Every author seemed to say something different. Prioritize. Delegate. Keep a calendar. Avoid distractions. Set clear goals. Execute better. Influence people. Inspire. Manage up. Manage down. Network. Tap into passion. Find a purpose. The list went on, more than 100 pieces of advice.

So what is really going on? If Natalie worked smarter than I, what exactly did she and other top performers do? What secrets to their great performance do they harbor? I decided to find out. After years of study, what I found surprised me a great deal and shattered conventional wisdom.

THE PERFORMANCE STUDY

In 2011, I launched one of the most comprehensive research projects ever undertaken on individual performance at work. I recruited a team of researchers with expertise in statistical analysis and began generating a framework—a set of hypotheses about which specific behaviors lead to high performance. I considered the scattered findings I had found in more than 200 published academic studies, and I incorporated insights from my previous discussions with hundreds of managers and executives. I also drew on in-depth interviews with 120 professionals and undertook a 300-person survey pilot. In the final step, we tested the emerging framework in a survey study of 5,000 managers and employees.

To organize the vast array of potential “work smart” factors, I grouped them into categories that scholars regard as important for job performance. We can think of work as consisting of job design characteristics (what a person is supposed to do), skill development (how a person improves), motivational factors (why a person exerts effort), and relational dimensions (with whom and how a person interacts). Once I had settled on these broad categories, I examined factors within each, identifying those that previous research suggested were key. (The research appendix contains details on our methodology.)

With this initial list of factors in hand, my team and I designed a 96-item survey instrument, piloting it with a sample of 300 bosses and employees. We also tracked how many hours people worked each week, and we measured their performance relative to their peers. That way, we could compare the effects of hours worked and our “work smart” factors on performance. We spent months poring over statistical results from the pilot and our notes from in-depth interviews. We winnowed down the number of plausible factors until we arrived at eight main factors. After some more analysis, we discovered that two were similar, so we combined them into one (see the research appendix for further explanation).

In the end, we discovered that seven “work smart” practices seemed to explain a substantial portion of performance. (It always seems to be seven, doesn’t it?) When you work smart, you select a tiny set of priorities and make huge efforts in those chosen areas (what I call the work scope practice). You focus on creating value, not just reaching preset goals (targeting). You eschew mindless repetition in favor of better skills practice (quality learning). You seek roles that match your passion with a strong sense of purpose (inner motivation). You shrewdly deploy influence tactics to gain the support of others (advocacy). You cut back on wasteful team meetings, and make sure that the ones you do attend spark vigorous debate (rigorous teamwork). You carefully pick which cross-unit projects to get involved in, and say no to less productive ones (disciplined collaboration). This is a pretty comprehensive list. The first four relate to mastering your own work, while the remaining three concern mastering working with others.

NOT WHAT WE EXPECTED

These seven practices upend conventional thinking about how you should work. I had thought, for instance, that people who prioritized well would perform well, and they did, but the best performers in our study also did something else. Once they had focused on a few priorities, they obsessed over those tasks to produce quality work. That extreme dedication to their priorities created extraordinary results. Top performers did less and more: less volume of activities, more concentrated effort. This insight overturns much conventional thinking about focusing that urges you to choose a few tasks to prioritize. Choice is only half of the equation—you also need to obsess. This finding led us to reformulate the “work scope” practice and call it “do less, then obsess.”

Our findings also overturned another convention. How many times have you heard, “Do what you love”? Find a role that taps into your passion, and you will be energized and do a better job. Sure enough, we found that people who were highly passionate about their jobs performed better. But we also came across passionate people who didn’t perform well, and people whose passion led them astray (like the poor guy who pursued his passion for graphics design and ended up running down his retirement account and having no job and no income). “Follow your passion,” we found, can be dangerous advice. Our top performers took a different approach: they strove to find roles that contributed value to the organization and society, and then matched passion with that sense of purpose. The matching of passion and purpose, and not passion alone, produced the best results.

Our results overturned yet another typical view, the idea that collaboration is necessarily good and that more is better. Experts advise us to tear down “silos” in organizations, collaborate more, build large professional networks, and use lots of high-tech communication tools to get work done. Well, my research shows that convention to be dead wrong. Top performers collaborate less. They carefully choose which projects and tasks to join and which to flee, and they channel their efforts and resources to excel in the few chosen ones. They discipline their collaboration.

Our study also disputes the popular idea that the path to top performance lies in practicing a skill for 10,000 hours. Our best performers in the workplace did something else, practicing what I call the “learning loop” at work, as we’ll discuss in chapter four.

These and other surprising insights turned out to be critical. The very best people didn’t just work smart in a conventional sense, but pursued more nuanced practices, like doing less and obsessing, and matching purpose with passion. Comparing these seven practices, I realized that they all embodied the idea of selectivity. Whenever they could, top performers carefully selected which priorities, tasks, collaborations, team meetings, committees, analyses, customers, new ideas, steps in a process, and interactions to undertake, and which to neglect or reject. Yet this more nuanced way of working smart wasn’t just about being selective. The very best redesigned their work so that they would create the most value (a term we will define in chapter three) and then they applied intense, targeted efforts in their selected work activities.

Based on these findings, I arrived at a more precise definition of working smart: To work smart means to maximize the value of your work by selecting a few activities and applying intense targeted effort.

TESTING THE NEW THEORY

To test our framework of the seven work-smart practices, my team and I modified our survey instrument and administered it to 5,000 managers and employees across a wide range of jobs and industries in corporate America. We sampled bosses and direct reports in addition to employees, so as not to rely on self-reported data only (see the research appendix for details). We surveyed sales reps, lawyers, trainers, actuaries, brokers, medical doctors, software programmers, engineers, store managers, plant foremen, marketers, human resource people, consultants, nurses, and my personal favorite–a Las Vegas casino dealer. Some of these people occupied senior positions, but most were supervisors, office managers, department heads, or employees in low-level positions. The 5,000 people represented 15 industry sectors and 22 job functions. Almost half (45 percent) were women (two of the seven practices revealed a gender difference). Age groups ranged from millennials to those over 50. Education level varied from those with less than a bachelor’s degree (20 percent of the sample) to people with a master’s degree or higher (22 percent). My aim was to develop, test, and share a smart-work theory that most people could use to improve their individual performance.

We ran our 5,000-person data set through a rigorous statistical method called regression analysis. It turned out that our seven work-smart practices went a long way toward explaining differences in performance. In fact, they accounted for a whopping 66 percent of the variation in performance among the 5,000 people in our dataset. We can compare that to other fields to get an idea of how remarkable this effect is. Smoking will kill you, we’re told, yet smoking only explains 18 percent of variation in people’s average life expectancy in the developed world, according to one study. Having a good salary is considered crucial for building lifelong financial resources, yet income only explains 33 percent of differences in people’s net worth, according to a study of U.S. citizens between ages 18 and 65. The basketball star Stephen Curry is famous for hitting three-point shots twenty-two feet away from the basket, yet he has landed “just” 44 percent of these shots during his professional career. These benchmark numbers from other fields indicate how substantial 66 percent really is in explaining an outcome like individual performance.

By contrast, other factors we tested such as educational background, company tenure, age, gender, and hours worked combined to account for only 10 percent of the differences in performance. Hours worked per week mattered, but as I’ll explain in chapter three, the relationship to performance was more complicated than the simple “work harder” view suggests. The other 24 percent of the difference was unexplained and possibly included factors such as luck or talent.

What Explains Individual Performance?


Results from Analysis of 5,000 People in the Study

*Gender, age, years of education, company tenure

Think about what these results mean. The talent and effort explanations still play a significant role in determining how individuals perform. But the real key to individual performance is the seven “work smarter” practices.

We now have the answer to the “Natalie” question of why some people perform so well, although I will never know what exactly Natalie did to deliver such stellar work. But I know something far more important—a systematic and empirically tested way to lift performance that holds across jobs. By improving on the seven practices, you can boost your performance beyond what it would be if you relied on talent, luck, or the sheer number of hours worked. As the chart below shows, the more a person in our study adopted the seven practices in their work, the better they performed. If you rank in only the 21st percentile in your adoption of the seven practices, your performance is likely to be lackluster—in the bottom 21st percentile (point A in the chart). However, if you crank up your proficiency at these seven practices, jumping to the 90th percentile, your performance is likely to be in the 89th percentile (point B in the chart) according to our predictions. That’s becoming a top performer.

HOW TO WORK AT YOUR BEST

For all that has been written about performance, no book to my knowledge has presented an evidence-based, comprehensive understanding of what enables individuals to perform at the highest level at work. Great at Work fills this gap. It gives you a simple and practical framework that you can use to work at your best. Think of it as a complement to Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, updated to reflect the realities of work today, and backed by an unprecedented statistical analysis.

Each chapter presents a “smart” practice and offers concrete advice for how you can include it in your own work. By using the word “practice,” I want to emphasize that you can incorporate these ideas into your daily work and make them a habit, just like you would other routines, like grabbing that morning coffee, checking your mail, and exercising. You can start small and build up these routines bit by bit, until you master them.

Lifting Individual Performance


The Positive Effect of the Seven Practices Combined on Individual Performance

Note:

These 4,964 data points representing people in our study show a pattern: The inserted line represents a statistical regression prediction of how the seven practices combined affect individual performance. Score low on the seven practices (point A in the chart) and your performance likely will be mediocre. Score high (point B) and your performance likely will be excellent (see the Research Appendix for details).

To inspire and guide you in how to apply these ideas, I tell stories of people from all walks of life who have adopted one or more of these practices and achieved outsize results. You’ll meet Steven Birdsall, a senior manager who found a way to carve out a new business in the software company SAP. You’ll encounter Genevieve Guay, a hotel concierge who infused her work with passion and purpose. I’ll introduce you to Greg Green, a principal who accomplished a dramatic turnaround of his failing high school, with inspiration from an unlikely source. You’ll encounter an emergency room nurse who found a way for her department to save more heart attack patients while doing less work. You’ll meet a consumer products CEO whose unusual approach to team meetings helped him achieve a top 1 percent performance record. You’ll also come across a small business owner, a biotech engineer, a physician, a management consultant, a sushi chef, a salesperson, a factory lineperson, and many others who implemented at least one of the seven practices and boosted their performance. (Throughout the book, we have altered the names and settings for most of the people we interviewed from our dataset.)

HOW YOU CAN LIVE WELL, TOO

You might wonder whether people who work smarter as I’ve defined it are unhappy with their work. Under the old “work hard” paradigm, high achievers tend to become stressed out, even burned out. You work harder and your performance improves, but your quality of life plummets. I know mine did when I was putting in all those hours at BCG. But our study yielded a surprise. The seven “work smarter” practices didn’t just improve performance. They also improved people’s well-being at work. As I show in chapter nine, people in our study who worked smarter experienced better work-life balance, higher job satisfaction, and less burnout.

I have met so many people who believe that they must make a tradeoff between achieving at work and enjoying a happy life. They forgo life outside of their jobs and put in huge amounts of hard work—long hours and maximum effort—to become top performers. Millions of people around the world sacrifice this way because they don’t know how to work differently. They don’t know how to work smart. But now there is a clear answer. As our study shows, you can perform exceptionally well and still have plenty of time to do things you love other than work, like being with your family and friends. Being great at work means performing in your job, infusing your work with passion and a strong sense of purpose, and living well, too. How great is that?

Whether you’re about to graduate from college or in the middle of your career, whether you’re worried about keeping your job or simply want to do it better, I invite you to set aside your preconceived ideas about work and explore the work-smart theory I present in this book. We’ll begin with the four practices for mastering your own work, followed by the three practices to help you master working with other people.

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4.7 out of 54.7 out of 5
333 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

Sully
3.0 out of 5 stars
A book that challenged my views in a good way, provided many solid tips on improving personal achievement, with a major caveat.
Reviewed in the United States on February 17, 2018
I thought the author did a good job attempting to support his perspective with data. I think the broad nature of the research in terms of the jobs of the people used in the data set was good "general" information. However, I think the book lacked an understanding... See more
I thought the author did a good job attempting to support his perspective with data. I think the broad nature of the research in terms of the jobs of the people used in the data set was good "general" information. However, I think the book lacked an understanding of the nuance that exists in executive jobs that require an understanding not only of the culture of an organization, but the general culture within a niche industry.

Though I do not doubt the research, this book supports the notion that contrived conflict and emotional manipulation should be practiced and accepted to achieve goals. While these tactics can be successful to "complete an initiative", "get the next job" or "move up the ladder", in the long run my experience indicates these tactics alienate and distract competent and well intentioned staff from superior long term performance. Organizations that reward these tactics lead to internal cultures that lack transparency and reward manipulation. As the manipulators rise to positions of influence their behaviors are repeated and re-enforced by ascending leaders that are mirroring their managers path to the top. To me this is not in the best interest of the organization''s long term interests.

The author seems to equate short and mid term financial performance with success. Even in a commercial organization, success to me is the value the organization and it''s products brings to the customers and markets it serves. Financial success is important for the continued health of the organization, call me naive but for me, long term financial viability often competes with short term market success.

I liked the book because it challenged my vision for the best way to succeed at work in subtle ways.

The notion that all jobs provide the option to enact some of the recommendations will result in poor performance in jobs that require one to focus on many things at once. I''d like to see the author expand on ways for people whose job responsibilities are defined in a manner that does not allow one to "focus" on the important things. As an operations executive that serves many stakeholders, the individual tactics for focusing on high value activities resonated as a slogan but fell short in terms of providing examples relevant to my role in my organization in my industry.

There were many things that I agreed with and a few I disliked and would not encourage in my organization even if the presented data has been interpreted correctly.

I felt there was a subtle bias in the authors perspective based on his history as a management consultant and author. Extrapolating assumptions about top performers without significant (or at least I missed it) adjustments to roles is a generalization that could unintentionally have well meaning people perform in a manner that is inconsistent with their organizations culture - leading to less effective performance.

I shared with my extended management team the fact that I was reading this book. I stopped short of recommending it, because I was concerned that it would be disruptive if they adopted some behaviors that were advocated for and supported with data, but were in conflict with my values.

Second to final, it seems a bit like, a management consultant, product developers myopic perspective on the work of others.

Finally, I must admit this book challenged me in a way few others about effective work habits have. I will continue to ruminate on this book and the authors points. To be clear, I found this book thought provoking and agree with many, perhaps most (90% I would guess) of the observations. It distressed me not because it was inaccurate, but out of fear that it will influence people to adopt the 10% I find objectionable and inaccurate based on my career.

Morten, I''d enjoy discussing this with you at some point, just to see if I misunderstood the parts that I interpreted as inducing artificial levels of stress to promote change. To me, the stress induced should be metered by the value of the opportunity to the organization not to the unit or individual''s definition of success.

Most of all I want to thank you, as a 50+ year old executive - I enjoy a read that challenges my understanding of good management and personal work styles. You sure have made me think!
128 people found this helpful
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Candi Ligutan
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Redesign your process
Reviewed in the United States on April 7, 2018
This was interesting book. I''ve read quite a bit of productivity books but this was still helpful. A lot of books I''ve read mostly focused on mindset. This one focused more on practices. The most notable advice I took from it is, work less then obsess. You minimize the... See more
This was interesting book. I''ve read quite a bit of productivity books but this was still helpful. A lot of books I''ve read mostly focused on mindset. This one focused more on practices. The most notable advice I took from it is, work less then obsess. You minimize the amount of things you work on and then obsess over the one task or topic. I''ve learned from work experiences that it''s better to work on one item at a time vs multiple. They had a studies proving that working longer hours didn''t result in more work done. If only all managers in this world knew this.

Redesigning your workflow can also help you be more productive. The example of flipped learning in schools was intriguing. Having students learn their lessons at home by watching videos and then doing the work in class where teachers could help. Makes me wonder how many schools actually practice this method and how successful are they with it.

If you are looking to have that work/life balance, that''s the last topic they cover. Too often have I thought about work while at home rather than spending it with my family. We all need that balance regardless if you have kids or significant other or just yourself.
48 people found this helpful
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curtismchale
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Similar to High Performance habits, but Great at Work is better for managers
Reviewed in the United States on April 16, 2018
There is lots of overlap between Great at Work and High Performance Habits. They both take a research approach to figuring out what it is that helps people do awesome work. They both did a bunch of research and are written in an understandable format. Where they... See more
There is lots of overlap between Great at Work and High Performance Habits. They both take a research approach to figuring out what it is that helps people do awesome work. They both did a bunch of research and are written in an understandable format.

Where they distinguish themselves is that Great at Work provides better resources for someone managing a team. If you manage a team start with Great at Work and then look at High Performance Habits.
21 people found this helpful
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Ian Mann
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
” People who work smart select a tiny set of priorities and make huge ...
Reviewed in the United States on May 11, 2018
Do you know anyone who is more successful than you at work, (define success any way you wish,) and doesn’t work nearly as hard as you do? What do they have that you don’t? This is the question that Professor Hansen’s book answers. The usual answer is either that they... See more
Do you know anyone who is more successful than you at work, (define success any way you wish,) and doesn’t work nearly as hard as you do? What do they have that you don’t? This is the question that Professor Hansen’s book answers.
The usual answer is either that they put in more time than you, or they are simply more talented. Hansen’s thorough research has a different answer – the highest performers across industries, age groups, gender, education, and other dimensions, work smarter, not harder.
Of course, no-one wants to work ‘dumb’, but few people work ‘smart’ because there is so little solid guidance on how to work ‘smart’. This book is the solid guidance we have been looking for.
In 2011, Hansen launched one of the most comprehensive research projects ever undertaken on individual performance at work. It was based on in-depth interviews with 120 professionals and a 300-person pilot survey. The framework that emerged was used in a study of 5,000 managers and employees.
“In the end,” Hansen reports, “we discovered that seven “work smart” practices seemed to explain a substantial portion of performance.”
People who work smart select a tiny set of priorities and make huge efforts in those areas. They focus on creating value for the end user, not just reaching pre-set goals. The fact that you get your excellent reports in on time, every time, doesn’t mean they add any value. They only add value, if they are read or considered by the recipients.
Smart working avoids mindless repetition. The famous 10,000 hours of practice won’t improve your management ability. It only works with an activity that has a fixed rule structure. Instead, you need to practice ever better skills.
When work is infused, deliberately and thoughtfully with passion and a worthy purpose, it leads to work that really produces. These practices relate to mastering your own work, and the next set of practices address how to get the most out of working with others.
When working with others, smart work requires the effective use of influence to elicit support. Working efficiently and effectively requires that you avoid time-wasting meetings, and participate only in meetings that spark vigorous debate. The interdepartmental projects you commit to must be exclusively those that are most productive.
I will focus on just two practices that were found to be foundational – “Do less, then obsess”, and “P-Squared”.
As you no doubt know, people who prioritise well, perform well, but Hansen’s research revealed that these people do something else as well. They obsess over those chosen tasks to produce quality work. They had a smaller volume of activities and are able to exert more concentrated effort.
If you rank as a middle level performer (in the 50th percentile,) and then change to choosing a few key priorities, and channel a tremendous amount of effort into doing exceptional work in those areas, your performance will leap into that of the 75th percentile of achievers. This particular practice affects performance more than any other of the 6 practices in this book.
The need for narrowing your activities is to avoid the “complexity trap” and the mental exertion that is wasted on a wider spread of your attention.
To do anything exceptionally well requires great effort on a focused area. Alfred Hitchcock required more than seventy shots to perfect the shower scene in the movie ‘Psycho’. James Dyson created 5,000 prototypes of his famous vacuum cleaner.
This book is very practical. It deals for example, with the common problems real people have in real workplaces where they are not in total control. How do you say “no” to your manager? Hansen suggests that you make clear that you’re not trying to slack off. You’re prioritising because you want to excel in a few key areas that will add most value. And no, it is just not possible to give the attention necessary to excel in all areas: so which area is preferable?
700 years ago, a European Friar and philosopher William of Ockham, formulated a principle known as ‘Occam’s razor’. According to this principle one pares activities and explanations down to their simplest form, but no more simple. Do you really need all those steps or intermediaries in the production of goods or services? What can you eliminate that will not affect the desired outcome?
There are few parts of your responsibility where you will find nothing to eliminate. Now you can “obsess” about what remains to perfect it - and keep perfecting it.
A second fundamental is the issue of passion and purpose. This not the simplistic view that you should “just harness your power to your passion.”
Following your passion is not the one key to success, it also leads to poverty, as so many have found out the hard way. Ignoring your passion isn’t great either, as anyone working at something they don’t feel for, knows well.
The solution uncovered in Hansen’s research is to match passion with purpose, something available to almost everyone, almost everywhere.
To clarify these terms, Hansen explains: “Passion is ‘do what you love,’ while purpose is ‘do what contributes.’ Purpose asks, ‘What can I give the world?’ Passion asks, ‘What can the world give me?’”
The statistical analysis of 5,000 people shows that people who match passion with purpose perform much better, on average, than those who lack either purpose or passion or both - by 18 points!
When you love what you do, you work with vigour. And if you also feel that you’re helping other people—that they need you and depend on your contribution—your motivation to excel becomes that much more intense.
What the research shows, is that nearly everyone can achieve this match, and that there are no truly special workplaces. “We found that nearly every industry or occupation boasted at least some people who reported lots of passion and purpose.”
That only certain industries and jobs allow for passion and purpose is a myth. Hansen found might not hear much about passionate truck drivers or shop attendants or call centre employees, but the data indicates that they are there. Passion comes in various forms.
You can find passion for your work because you love achieving and your work allows you to achieve; or be creative; or be with people you like; or learn and grow; or do what you do best every day.
A strong sense of purpose only comes from activities that don’t harm anyone—customers, suppliers, your manager, your organization, employees, the community, or the environment.
In a 2009 study of zookeepers, researchers found that some saw cleaning cages and feeding animals as a filthy, meritless job, while others saw it as a moral duty to protect and provide proper care for the animals. Same job, different feelings of purpose. One can find purpose anywhere.
People with both passion and purpose are more energized, and accomplish more in each hour of work. The challenge is to find both in the context in which you operate.
To work smart means to maximize the value of your work by selecting a few activities, and applying intense targeted effort.
This book offers a sound method for increasing your effectiveness at work. It is well worth reading very carefully; it holds value way beyond what is contained in this short piece.
Readability Light ---+- Serious
Insights High +---- Low
Practical High +---- Low

*Ian Mann of Gateways consults internationally on leadership and strategy and is the author of the recently released ‘Executive Update.
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Natalie Remsen
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
While a majority of the tips given in this book are easily applicable, one that is not is refusing your ...
Reviewed in the United States on February 28, 2018
Morten Hansen’s educational and compelling new book, “Great at Work,” provides readers with a new perspective on “great performance” in the workplace. The attractiveness of this book is that it presented an evidence-based, comprehensive understanding. In creating the... See more
Morten Hansen’s educational and compelling new book, “Great at Work,” provides readers with a new perspective on “great performance” in the workplace. The attractiveness of this book is that it presented an evidence-based, comprehensive understanding. In creating the survey discussed in this book, Morten considered the findings of over 200 published academic studies relating to working smarter. Throughout the book, Morten provides results from a regression analysis performance study of 5,000 people. The 5,000 people represented 15 industry sectors and 22 job functions with a balanced ratio of gender, age and education level. The results are presented within three main parts – mastering your own work, mastering working with others and mastering work-life balance.

Morten had a sophisticated literature review; he not only talked about his own books in the field, but also the works of other authors. Within the book, he referenced The War for Talent, On the Mend, Drive, Peak, Contagious, Power, and 7 Habits of Highly Effective People to name a few. Even Oprah Winfrey made the cut, when Morten talked about her commencement address to Stanford’s graduating class of 2008.

In what could have been a dry, instructional, lecture style novel, Morten Hansen has created a composition of tips to help employees work smarter (not harder) and achieve more. By enhancing the reading with scenarios in multiple work settings, he has allowed any individual the ability to relate to these different situations and develop ways to use the strategies in their own daily work lives.

Morten presented strategies for measuring and maximizing value, the art of deliberate practice, and matching purpose and passion. Morten mentioned that more activities does not equal more value and provided an equation for measuring value. This equation states that the value of a person’s work equals the benefits to others multiplied by the quality of the work multiplied by the efficiency. Another idea he presented was deliberate practice which involves doing a new skill, getting feedback, and making the necessary changes based on the feedback provided. Morten challenged the accepted idea to “follow your passion”. Morten tested the idea and concluded that one had to match his or her passion with purpose to be truly effective at work.

While a majority of the tips given in this book are easily applicable, one that is not is refusing your boss. Although, Morten does mention the difficulty of this task and how it should be exercised with caution, there are many factors to consider before applying this tip. Firstly, the employee must fully understand the goals of the team and his or her role. If the employee does not have this understanding, he or she will not be able to give proper reasoning for refusing his or her manager. Secondly, he or she must understand the culture of the company that he or she is working for. If the culture in the company encourages employee involvement with changing processes, then refusing to take on a new project would not be frowned upon. Conversely, if the culture of the company does not encourage employee involvement then the refusal might not be accepted.

Morten defies convention by providing a new perspective profound beliefs from the learnings within the chapter. A person doesn’t have to change his or her life by any modern standard, but this appreciably readable book is not in the business of following the status quo. Not only does this book elucidate the keys for top work performance, it provides a new perspective which could change one’s approach in all fields of life and maintain a positive work life balance.
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Brian K. Seitz
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Actionable is what this book is about
Reviewed in the United States on April 17, 2019
I''ve read may so-called business improvement books. Many have great insights but little actionable ideas. Morten''s book not only gives you the theory, but the case studies AND details on how to implement. No its not a step by step. I would be suspect of something like... See more
I''ve read may so-called business improvement books. Many have great insights but little actionable ideas. Morten''s book not only gives you the theory, but the case studies AND details on how to implement. No its not a step by step. I would be suspect of something like that as each company''s culture is different. What he provides is a series if you will of menu items and the recipe behind each of what great performers do and how they do it. I''m halfway reading the book for the third time; only this time I''ve been implementing selected items to implement in my organization and have been getting the results he''s documented at other organizations. If there was a 6th Star I would have assigned it to this book.
3 people found this helpful
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MLeland
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Save time.....read the summary
Reviewed in the United States on May 31, 2019
As I was reading this long-winded book, I kept thinking that this would''ve made for a better short article than an actual book. Sure enough, on page 208 the author''s epilogue is a great 7-page summary. Don''t waste your time on the first 207 pages…..the examples to support... See more
As I was reading this long-winded book, I kept thinking that this would''ve made for a better short article than an actual book. Sure enough, on page 208 the author''s epilogue is a great 7-page summary. Don''t waste your time on the first 207 pages…..the examples to support the author''s study are tedious, repetitious and boring.
8 people found this helpful
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Lucia
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Do less = outperform?
Reviewed in the United States on February 25, 2020
You know when you read a book and there are really only a few concepts that stick with you? Well it’s been probably 6 months since I read this book and I remember liking it even if it’s slightly dry. These are they concepts: 1. Do less then obsess. This is the idea that... See more
You know when you read a book and there are really only a few concepts that stick with you? Well it’s been probably 6 months since I read this book and I remember liking it even if it’s slightly dry. These are they concepts: 1. Do less then obsess. This is the idea that you select fewer projects or areas of focus but truly drill down on what you do own and therefore outperform. 2 There are creative and simple ways to manipulate a meeting to get more group feedback and btw meetings should be 30 minutes, not an hour. They have a tendency to expand to fit the space allotted. 3. Don’t volunteer- there are two types of work activities: ones that are basically housekeeping and ones that propel you forward and are career developing. Anything that falls into the first category should be avoided and anything that requires a volunteer does not fall into the second category . If you find these tidbits worthwhile, you should read the book to learn more.
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Top reviews from other countries

Tom
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Good
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 8, 2018
This book is not anything I can get excited about but it is very useful and contains some great stories and tips to improve yourself. It is much easier to read than the coveted 7 habits of highly effective people but just lacks that little something special that most fans...See more
This book is not anything I can get excited about but it is very useful and contains some great stories and tips to improve yourself. It is much easier to read than the coveted 7 habits of highly effective people but just lacks that little something special that most fans of self improvement books seek.
3 people found this helpful
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Paul
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
One of the most useful books on productivity
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 4, 2021
Hansen’s 7 practices are a God-send and a game changer for me. The practices can be implemented immediately. The examples are illuminating and the book is easy to read.
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icemanbob
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Fantastic addition to the management library
Reviewed in Canada on August 26, 2018
I''m not much of a reader but I was having trouble with my career thinking and being too busy all the time without getting much done. I was recommended many of the typical consulting books (some of which are indeed good), but most I felt were superficial. Then someone...See more
I''m not much of a reader but I was having trouble with my career thinking and being too busy all the time without getting much done. I was recommended many of the typical consulting books (some of which are indeed good), but most I felt were superficial. Then someone mentioned Greg McKeown''s ''essentialism'' which I read and absolutely loved. On a podcast, Greg mentioned this book recently and especially emphasized the "do less, then obsess" principle from ''Great at Work'' which I also love. In short, this book has been an equal, to me, in terms of potential for self-improvement. The way I see it, perhaps selfishly, is that I need to ''fix'' myself before I can really improve all of my work practises. This books treatment - through a scientific and rigorous manner - of self-improvement is a refreshingly new take on many old paradigms that are misdirected or simply not true. As a consultant myself, I''m certain that following these principles will get me that much farther. To close, one of my favourite chapters deals with passion. I''ve generally lacked passion for anything for years and it has been a major stumbling block for me in my career. I was skeptical of this chapter, but as I progressed through everything there really holds true for me. Including the fact that I don''t need to be passionate about a topic or a particular field in order to be passionate about what I do. For example I can be passionate about making other''s lives easier and that''s something you can do in any job. I''d highly recommend this book to any working professional, but at the same time I want to keep it a secret otherwise I feel like the bar might go up and I''ll be that much farther behind! 5 stars
2 people found this helpful
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Ian Berry
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Good yet not great
Reviewed in Australia on July 13, 2018
The author says this book is a compliment to ''The seven habits of highly effective people'' and I would agree yet my context would be that I regard Covey''s 8th habit as a better book than the 7 habits. The four mastering your own work practices of this book are great and...See more
The author says this book is a compliment to ''The seven habits of highly effective people'' and I would agree yet my context would be that I regard Covey''s 8th habit as a better book than the 7 habits. The four mastering your own work practices of this book are great and include references to ''deliberate practice'' yet not ''deep work'' or other works of substance in this genre. The three mastering working with others I found confusing as descriptors and I had to work hard to get to the substance. About 45% of this book is research appendix, bibliography etc etc. This book for me is too perscriptive, I prefer more how I could apply proven principles e.g deliberate practice, radical candor, essentialism, the last two of which are not referenced in the book
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Kindle Customer
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Great information on how to work better
Reviewed in Australia on February 24, 2018
Good ideas with practical advice although a bit heavy in parts. This is a book that will take more than one read. It is more like a reference in some ways. Well worth the read and clearly the authors have done their homework. Now I just have to implement it.....
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