book covers nine lies about work

A One-Page Summary Of

Nine Lies About Work

A Freethinking Leader's Guide to the Real World

The Main Idea

Why is it that many of the ideas and practices which are pretty much held as universal truths are actually deeply unpopular with and intensely frustrating to the people they are supposed to serve?

The workplace of today is full of systems, processes and tools but for the most part they are deeply flawed and work against the idea that you should have the ability to express what's unique about you in the work you do every day. That's why global worker engagement is at less than 20 percent.

Specifically, there are nine myths or lies which will get pushed at you daily which simply are not true. They aim to satisfy the organization's need for control more than anything else. Replace them with nine truths and prosper.

We came to think of our audience not as the new leader but as the freethinking leader. 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 organizations; a leader who rejects dogma and instead seeks out evidence; who values emergent patterns above received wisdom; who thrills to the power of teams; who puts faith in findings, not philosophy; and above all, a leader who knows that the only way to make the world better tomorrow is to have the courage and the wit to face up to how it really is today. This is for you.
Marcus Buckingham and Ashley Goodall

The Nine Lies and Truths of the Workplace

Lie #1: People care which company they work for.
Truth #1: People care which team they're on.
Because that's where the real world work happens.

Lie #2: The best plan always wins.
Truth #2: The best intelligence wins.
Because the world moves too fast for plans to matter much.

Lie #3: The best companies cascade goals.
Truth #3: The best companies cascade meaning.
Because people want to know what they all share.

Lie #4: The best people are well-rounded.
Truth #4: The best people are spiky.
Because for humans, uniqueness is a feature, not a bug.

Lie #5: People need feedback.
Truth #5: People need attention.
Because we all want to be seen for how we are at our best, not our worst.

Lie #6: People can reliably rate other people.
Truth #6: People can reliably rate their own experience.
Because at the end of the day, that's all we have.

Lie #7: People have potential.
Truth #7: People have momentum.
Because we all move through life differently.

Lie #8: Work-life ballance matters most.
Truth #8: Love-in-work matters most.
Because when you look at it, that's what work is really for.

Lie #9: Leadership is a thing.
Truth #9: We all follow spikes.
Because strangely enough, spikes bring us certainty.

About the Authors

Marcus Buckingham is a global researcher and the author of nine business books including First, Break All the Rules and Now, Discover Your Strengths. He collaborated with Dr. Donald Clifton to create the StandOut strengths assessment which has been completed by more than one million people to date. He worked as a senior vice president at Gallup for 19 years and is currently head of people and performance research at the ADP Research Institute. He also is the founder of his own consulting company. Marcus Buckingham is a graduate of the University of Cambridge. www.marcusbuckingham.com

Ashley Goodall is senior vice president of Leadership and Team Intelligence at Cisco Systems. He worked for fourteen years at Deloitte where he was responsible for leader development and performance management. Ashley Goodall excels at looking at large organizations from the inside. He is a graduate of Columbia University and Oxford University. www.ashleygoodall.com

Summaries.Com Editor's Thoughts

As usual, the book we summarized this week is thought provoking.

Marcus Buckingham is quite widely known in leadership circles for his work with Gallup and his championing of strengths assessments and more. His co-author Ashley Goodall is less widely known, but the points they have written about definitely give food for thought. They say that the workplace of today is not all it seems, and many legacy business systems are not fit for purpose when you take a data-based approach.

I particularly enjoyed their explanations of why performance evaluations are completely ineffective and why we are attracted to leaders who are exceptional in some areas but clearly and obviously flawed in other dimensions.

I also liked their general theme that you shouldn't believe something simply because it's accepted wisdom but should instead face up to reality.

A good read for managers and team leaders or anyone looking to work their way up their corporation.

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