Book Review - Workarounds That Work: How to Conquer Anything That Stands in Your Way at Work by Russell Bishop
I'll admit I'm a fan of "it's better to ask forgiveness than permission" when it comes to getting things done. It's more important to tear down broken processes than to just follow along because "that's how it's done here." Given that mindset, I had to accept the offer to read and review Workarounds That Work: How to Conquer Anything That Stands in Your Way at Work by Russell Bishop. Bishop offers up various situations and strategies that you can use personally and professionally to circumvent or break down the barriers that hold you back.
Introduction; It All Starts with You; Getting the Right Things Done; Misaligned Leadership and Unclear Direction; How You Frame the Problem Is The Problem; Communication and Action; Accountability and Response-Ability; Breakdowns Between Silos; When Cultures Clash; Death by Decision - Stop Deciding and Start Choosing; Moving Beyond Consensus; Are You a Corporate Firefighter?; When the Best and Brightest Are Wrong; Making the Most of Meetings; The Email Avalanche; When Process Gets in the Way; Overcoming Criticism, Complaints, and Resistance; Multitasking Our Way to Oblivion; Conclusion - Workarounds Get Things Done; Index
Each chapter follows a similar format which makes it easy to frame the content. The situation that presents the roadblock is described, followed by how a particular workaround can get you through or around the issue. The chapter then closes with a number of questions you can ask yourself to analyze the situation and determine how best to implement the workaround put forth.
As an example, take the chapter on being the "corporate firefighter." Many of the fires we end up fighting are issues that have been known for some time, but action has been put off until "later", whether on purpose or by forgetfulness. Then when "later" becomes "now", everything needs to be dropped to respond to the problem. To work around this, implement a weekly review to help get things out of your head and inbox, and onto a master task/to-do list of actions you need to take. This workaround allows you to handle things before they become a crisis, and life starts to work more smoothly.
Another example would be when you work in an area that is overwhelming you with things to do. You can try to work harder and smarter, but that cliche means little. Instead of working yourself into the ground, examine what you're doing with the "Stop, Start, Continue" workaround. Based on your direction, strategy, or goals, ask yourself what you can stop doing, what needs to start being done, and what things you're currently doing that should be continued. This breaks the cycle of doing things because they've always been done, and gets to the root of the problem.
Bishop recognizes that not all workarounds are long-term, nor can every obstacle be resolved by going around it. Sometimes there's only so much you can do as an individual, and the problem needs to be resolved at a higher level. But if you're tired of banging your head against a wall because nothing changes, a read of Workarounds That Work may help you get beyond your frustrations and improve your work and personal life.
Obtained From: Publisher