This book speaks to me on so many levels: as someone who worked in an International corporate environment for more than 15 years and as someone who has my own business and interacts with privately-owned businesses on a daily basis. These practices make so much sense to me and I encourage all to read this book, both leaders and followers. It’s a paradigm-shifting book that outlines exactly what we can do to improve our businesses’ performance and the lives of those who work there. Businesses who make these changes have just got to be the best places to work. They will be the ones that talented individuals will choose to work for.

The book addresses generally accepted approaches within many companies and the authors heap up the evidence to contradict each of these, ie: they address the “Nine Lies”.

Key outtakes for me:

  • It’s the team we are a part of, not the company we work for that matters. The role of the team leader is the most important role in any company. (So best we pay attention to the quality of our team leaders)
  • The people who use the information are in the best position to make sense of it, with smaller, integrated efforts, (which are adjusted as a result of the intelligence gathered) being the way to go. Regular check-ins with team members are essential to retaining (increasing) their engagement
  • We need to set our own goals for them to have any value, goals cannot be imposed on us by others. Shared meaning and purpose can be cascaded down to create alignment but we need a,“ detailed understanding of the purpose of our work and the values we should honour in deciding how to get it done.” Leaders need to expound the WHY, then the individuals can tussle with the WHAT
  • Excellent performance depends on our working with our strengths daily, not on our being well-rounded. It’s the single most powerful predictor of a team’s productivity. High performers leverage their strengths and work out how to increase the impact of what they do where they already have an ability
  • People need to know we genuinely care about them. “Positive attention… is thirty times more powerful than negative attention in creating high performance on a team.” “If you want your people to learn more, pay attention to what’s working for them right now, and then build on that.”
  • We are not able to objectively assess the performance of an individual by scoring them or their overall potential. Rather we should look to understand how a team leader reacts to the team member; how he/she feels.
  • We need to discuss human growth and the careers our people aspire to, and how we can help them build those careers, we can’t’ ignore who they are and their needs
  • “Love-in-work matters most”, ie: finding love in what we do is really important and is a critical part of what makes each one of us unique. We then need to bring this strength to our team
  • A leader is only a leader if they have followers. “The only determinant of whether anyone is leading is whether anyone is following’” Followership can be measured, leadership can’t.

I just loved these quotes:

“A leader who embraces a world in which the weird uniqueness of each individual is seen not as a flaw to be ground down but as a mess worth engaging with, the raw material for all healthy, ethical, thriving organisations: a leader who rejects dogma and instead seeks out evidence…”

Nine Lies About Work by Marcus Buckingham and Ashley Goodall

“… leaders cannot be in the control business and must be in the intelligence, meaning and empowerment business—- the outcomes business.”

Nine Lies About Work by Marcus Buckingham and Ashley Goodall

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and will reference it going forward. It’s well written with many stories to help the reader understand the principles and with detailed research supporting the arguments.

With many thanks to the authors, the publishers, Harvard Business Review Press. and NetGalley for my free copy to review