A BIAS FOR ACTION (How Effective Managers Harness Their Willpower, Achieve Results, and Stop Wasting Time)
By Heike Bruch & Sumantra Ghoshal
Published By: Harvard Business School Press
212 Pages, Hardcover
Does your job seem like an endless “to-do” list that never gets you-or your company-anywhere? You know what you’re supposed to focus on: cutting costs, improving efficiency, encouraging innovation. So why do critical goals consistently get eclipsed by fighting fires, answering e-mails, and other routine “busywork”?
In this surprising and frame-changing book, management experts Heike Bruch and Sumantra Ghoshal argue that while the usual suspects overwhelming workloads, tight budgets, and unsupportive bosses-play a role in managerial ineffectiveness, most of the blame lies in how managers approach their jobs. Based on a ten-year study of managerial behavior in industries from banking to software to airlines to consulting, A Bias for Action reveals that only 10 percent of managers work purposefully to get important work done. The other 90 percent squander their potential by procrastinating, detaching from their work, or spinning their wheels in a flurry of “active non-action.”
Bruch and Ghoshal show that the most effective managers succeed not because they possess unique characteristics or excel at motivating others-but because they harness personal willpower through a potent combination of energy and focus. This willpower is what helps productive managers achieve their goals in spite of the inevitable barriers, setbacks, and distractions that are a mainstay of managerial life.
Through stirring real-life stories, A Bias for Action reveals a range of strategies for harnessing willpower to improve both individual and organizational performance, including how to
· Define, visualize, and protect individual goals
· Replace counterproductive behaviors with tasks-related behaviors
· Manage negative emotions and stress
· Overcome common obstacles such as conflicting demands and bureaucraticred tape
· Move from simply motivating others to fostering willpower in others
· Create a culture that enables positive, purposeful, organizational action
Upending conventional thinking about the requirements for effective leadership, this book will help CEOs and frontline managers alike to stop simply doing things-and start getting things done.