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Gray Matters: To the Finish Line II

OK, time for my final push to the end of the book — today’s reading. The book begins to accelerate, perhaps giving relatively short shrift to a couple of key lessons — and then ending on a decidedly dissatisfying note. I say that tongue in cheek, but truth be told, I don’t read business books for cliffhangers, you know? Chapter 20 is of particular use during a downturn or slow time within an organization. Addressing withdrawal, Bob and his co-authors offer several pieces of advice:

OK, time for my final push to the end of the book — today’s reading. The book begins to accelerate, perhaps giving relatively short shrift to a couple of key lessons — and then ending on a decidedly dissatisfying note. I say that tongue in cheek, but truth be told, I don’t read business books for cliffhangers, you know?

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Chapter 20 is of particular use during a downturn or slow time within an organization. Addressing withdrawal, Bob and his co-authors offer several pieces of advice:

  • When one team member withdraws, the whole team suffers
  • Our engagement at work is basically an internal matter
  • Our work often defines us, but it doesn’t need to
  • Figure out what you need and make it happen — don’t wait for someone else to do it

Have you ever worked anywhere where someone “checked out”? How did that feel? Also, have you ever “checked out” of your job? What did that mean for your team, your productivity — and your own well-being?

The chapter spirals into ways to remain connected to your work, your colleagues, and others in your industry. As traditional as some of the networking advice offered might be, it was good to revisit, especially since I’d called some people I haven’t talked to for a long time to pick their brains about the industry context for several Fast 50 entries. Here are some of the better connection tips:

  • Do you write down important information about people on the backs of their cards so you’ll remember who they are and what they know?
  • Do you look for opportunities to stay in touch — such as sending people information they will find interesting?
  • Do you monitor information about your industry through the newspaper, Web sites, industry associations and so on?

And I’m giving short shrift to the final chapter that struck me. Chapter 21 focuses on dysfunction. The biggest idea — and challenge — offered is to look at yourself, your team, and how you work together, identify where you’re dysfunctional… and then actually do something about it.

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