July 14, 2019

10 Big Ideas About Work From 6 Months of Steph’s Business Bookshelf (part 1)


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Each week on Steph’s Business Bookshelf I share the three big ideas I’ve taken from the business and non-fiction books I’ve been reading. As we’re now 6 months into our literary adventure, I wanted to share my ten favourite big ideas from over 60 that have featured on the podcast – all with a theme of work.

Whilst not all of these books are specifically about work, I’ve pulled out some of my favourite lessons that will help you work smarter, think bigger and team better.

1. Checklists help save lives and money better than humans (from Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande)

As life and work becomes more complex and complicated, mistakes are inevitable. Teams working in the most high-stress, high-risk environments (think military teams, flight crews and surgical teams) are getting smart by outsourcing some of the thinking required in critical scenarios through the use of checklists.

Apply it: Avoid both decision-making fatigue and mitigate the risk of bad decisions when under stress with some simple checklists / decision trees you pull out when required. Also use your calendar/day planner as a checklist for your day with all your critical tasks plotted.

2. Talent is not required (from Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins)

Endurance sports are not about physical talent, or even fitness, but dedication and consistency that allow people to mentally persist through challenging situations.

Apply it: you don’t need to be an ultra-marathon runner to practice this approach (luckily) – find ways to regularly push through discomfort, challenge yourself and find someone stronger to compete against.

3. Work should be fun (from Shoe Dog by Phil Knight)

This became a litmus test for Phil as he tried out several careers on the road to creating Nike and is ultimately why he chose not to be an accountant or a lecturer – the work wasn’t fun.

Apply it: define your idea of ‘fun’ at work. Is this being met the majority of the time?

If not, what can you change about the situation to bring more fun?

4. Smile (from How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie)

As one of the most basic human behaviours, it’s absence can often cause issues. Particularly on first impressions when a stranger is working out whether you pose a threat or not. It’s amazing how many interactions could be improved with the addition of a smile.

Apply it: smile.

5. Focus on the system, not the goal (from Atomic Habits by James Clear)

Whatever you want to achieve, it’s the things you do every day/week that will add up to momentum towards your goal or desired outcome. Therefore, you need to turn the journey into the process and shift to more medium/long term thinking. This can be done by defining success as consistency of execution of the process.

Apply it: look at your calendar/to do list from the last week. If that week repeated itself over the next year, would you reach the outcomes you want to in 12 month’s time?

Find out more big ideas from the Top 10 Business and Non-fiction books on the next Episode of Steph’s Business Bookshelf.

Music By:  Blank Template Song bySkygaze

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