Last time, I talked about rethinking your Changes at your job? 6 Ways to Rethink Your Priorities. This time, let’s talk about rethinking your approach to work.
I enjoyed reading the book REWORK, by Jason Fried & David Hansson. The authors are the founders of 37signals which developed Ruby on Rails, the open-source web application framework. This book is about their experiences as to what it took to build their successful business while keeping their company intentionally small.
Of course, this is not a typical how-we-did-it case study, more a manifesto of their vision on working and business. Because of this different path that they have chosen, most of the advice they offer flies in the face of conventional business wisdom. Because of the size of their operation, they have had to rely on doing more with less as well as being very critical of what adds value, not just additional work.
Strategically, every company wants to be more effective and efficient; doing more with less, and keeping their priorities straight. For this, it’s a good book to read and contemplate. While not all their prescriptions will directly translate to your company, their spirit and vision can definitely give you a good starting point assessing your own company’s practices and direction.
I think one of the hardest concepts most companies have to grasp is vision – which is not just a vision statement. A company has to define what it wants to be and that vision should be both aspirational as well as inspirational. REWORK contains a lot of vision, and concrete ways of how they have applied that vision. Does the word “passion” come to mind when you think of your company’s strategy?
REWORK is a fun book to read because it is so passionately in your face. It challenges you to rethink some of the attitudes you bring to work. It contests the conventional wisdom about how to succeed in business and as a business. They are absolutely impudent about common practices in business, many of which they see as not providing results that benefit a company nor move it forward.
Improving performance is about focusing on the few most important areas to make a dramatic impact. And the best measures of success are the ones you develop to show true progress toward your goals, not the measures of other’s success.
Speaking of success, in REWORK failure is not a prerequisite for success. You can learn not to repeat a mistake, though that, by itself, doesn’t show what you should do. When something succeeds, you know it works and you can do it again. Which is great advice – don’t linger on past failures, build on what works.
Priorities and objectives need a certain amount of fluidity to adjust and adapt to changes – whether regulatory, competitive, or in the market. Sometimes the revisions are just that – a change in vision. Take a look at the vision espoused in REWORK and see what you might want to rethink.