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A powerful manifesto for CEOs and employees alike: Influential and award-winning business leader Margaret Heffernan reveals how organizations can build ideal workplace cultures and create seismic shifts by making deceptively small changes. By implementing sweeping changes, businesses often think it’s possible to do better, to earn more, and have happier employees. So why does engagement prove so difficult and productivity so elusive? In Beyond Measure, Margaret Heffernan looks back over her decades spent overseeing different organizations and comes to a counterintuitive conclusion: it’s the small shifts that have the greatest impact. Heffernan argues that building the strongest organization can be accelerated by implementing seemingly small changes, such as embracing conflict as a creative catalyst; using every mind on the team; celebrating mistakes; speaking up and listening more; and encouraging time off from work. Packed with incredible anecdotes and startling statistics, Beyond Measure takes us on a fascinating tour across the globe, highlighting disparate businesses and revealing how they’ve managed to change themselves in big ways through incremental shifts. How did the CIA revolutionize their intelligence gathering with one simple question? How did one organization increase their revenue by $15 million by instituting a short coffee break? How can a day-long hackathon change the culture of a company? Told with wry wit and knowing humor, Heffernan proves that it’s often the small changes that make the greatest, most lasting impact.
Foundational introduction to the concept that organizations create major impacts by making small changes.
A powerful manifesto for CEOs and employees alike, this book reveals how organizations can make huge changes with surprisingly small steps. In an age of 'radical' shifts and 'disruption', business leader Margaret Heffernan lays the groundwork for a new kind of thinking, arguing that organizations can create seismic shifts by making deceptively small changes such as using every mind on the team, celebrating mistakes and encouraging time off from work. A popular TED speaker, Heffernan is a wise and witty storyteller who fully engages her reader at every turn. Filled with incredible anecdotes and startling statistics, she takes us on a fascinating tour across the globe, highlighting disparate business and revealing how they've managed to change themselves in big ways through incremental shifts. How did the CIA revolutionize their intelligence gathering with one simple question? How did one organization increase their revenue by 15 million by instituting a short coffee break? How can a day-long hackathon change the culture of a company? Heffernan investigates all these scenarios and comes to the same conclusion: big improvements can come from simply making small changes.
In the 2006 case of the US Government vs Enron, the presiding judge instructed the jurors to take account of the concept of wilful blindness as they reached their verdict about whether the chief executives of the disgraced energy corporation were guilty. It was not enough for the defendants to say that they did not know what was going on; that they had not seen anything. If they failed to observe the corruption which was unfolding before their very eyes, not knowing was no defence. The guilty verdict sent shivers down the spine of the corporate world. In this book, distinguished business woman and writer, Margaret Heffernan, examines the phenomenon of wilful blindness. Drawing on a wide array of sources from psychological studies and social statistics to interviews with the relevant protagonists she examines what it is about human nature which makes us so prone to wilful blindness. Taught from infancy to obey authority, and absorbing the importance of selective vision as a key social skill, humans exacerbate their tendency to become institutionalised by joining organisations which are run by like-minded people. Wilful Blindness looks at how hard-work and the information overload of the modern workplace add to the problem. And examines why whistleblowers and Cassandras are so very rare. Ranging freely through history and from business to science, government to the family, this engaging and anecdotal book will explain why wilful blindness is so dangerous in the globalised, interconnected world in which we live, before suggesting ways in which institutions and individuals can start to combat it. In the tradition of Malcolm Gladwell and Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Margaret Heffernan's thought provoking book will force open our eyes.
An eye-opening, groundbreaking tour of the purpose of work in our lives, showing how work operates in our culture and how you can find your own path to happiness in the workplace. Why do we work? The question seems so simple. But Professor Barry Schwartz proves that the answer is surprising, complex, and urgent. We’ve long been taught that the reason we work is primarily for a paycheck. In fact, we’ve shaped much of the infrastructure of our society to accommodate this belief. Then why are so many people dissatisfied with their work, despite healthy compensation? And why do so many people find immense fulfillment and satisfaction through “menial” jobs? Schwartz explores why so many believe that the goal for working should be to earn money, how we arrived to believe that paying workers more leads to better work, and why this has made our society confused, unhappy, and has established a dangerously misguided system. Through fascinating studies and compelling anecdotes, this book dispels this myth. Schwartz takes us through hospitals and hair salons, auto plants and boardrooms, showing workers in all walks of life, showcasing the trends and patterns that lead to happiness in the workplace. Ultimately, Schwartz proves that the root of what drives us to do good work can rarely be incentivized, and that the cause of bad work is often an attempt to do just that. How did we get to this tangled place? How do we change the way we work? With great insight and wisdom, Schwartz shows us how to take our first steps toward understanding, and empowering us all to find great work.
Five years ago, we met at a panel discussion on leadership and realized that although we had very different career paths, we shared a common spirit and philosophy. We also had the desire to assist others to develop greater confidence, poise, and influence in all areas of their lives. Whether it’s the many workshops and training events that we have authored or led, or our personal experiences in life and in business, we share common lessons that have fueled our collaborative efforts to train, develop and mentor others. After every training event over the years, we have discussed the need to provide a tool that supplements the event and provides a reference and guide beyond the workshop. Very often, we give a 45-minute keynote address, and while we are thrilled at the positive impact that can have, it leaves so much unsaid. This book provides detailed experiences and information that we often have to leave out in our brief appearances. It is now yours to be read at your leisure. Although we provide insights and recommendations on maximizing your presence and impact, there are few things more influential than authenticity. As you read each chapter, we suggest that you internalize the concepts and tips and apply them in a way that works for you individually. We want you to remember at all times that it is important for you to celebrate who you are: in fact, as Oscar Wilde has said: “You may as well like yourself, because everyone else is taken.” Be you... the real you... and, whatever your position, highlight your strengths while leveraging the techniques we share to elevate your personal presence in business and in life! This book is a culmination of many workshops, coaching endeavors, and speeches that we’ve worked on together. The situations we mention are real; the people are real. In some cases, to protect their privacy, we have changed the name. At your disposal are the findings, techniques, and mindsets from the best of both of our experiences.
Get into the best schools. Land your next big promotion. Dress for success. Run faster. Play tougher. Work harder. Keep score. And whatever you do—make sure you win. Competition runs through every aspect of our lives today. From the cubicle to the race track, in business and love, religion and science, what matters now is to be the biggest, fastest, meanest, toughest, richest. The upshot of all these contests? As Margaret Heffernan shows in this eye-opening book, competition regularly backfires, producing an explosion of cheating, corruption, inequality, and risk. The demolition derby of modern life has damaged our ability to work together. But it doesn't have to be this way. CEOs, scientists, engineers, investors, and inventors around the world are pioneering better ways to create great products, build enduring businesses, and grow relationships. Their secret? Generosity. Trust. Time. Theater. From the cranberry bogs of Massachusetts to the classrooms of Singapore and Finland, from tiny start-ups to global engineering firms and beloved American organizations—like Ocean Spray, Eileen Fisher, Gore, and Boston Scientific—Heffernan discovers ways of living and working that foster creativity, spark innovation, reinforce our social fabric, and feel so much better than winning.

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