There are a lot of books out there that take on the task of helping us with “getting things done” in the workplace. That’s because there are millions of potential “doers” out there, and just as many ways that things can go astray, or hit a brick wall, or worse yet, head in reverse.
So we’re looking for answers out there – ways do deal with those times of complexity, frustration, negativity, and resistance.
And sometimes, that “hey, chin up, keep trying, you’ll get there” encouragement just doesn’t cut it.
We need something tangible. Practical. Actionable.
We need workarounds.
I recently got a chance to meet Russell Bishop, business coach and editor (and columnist) at the Huffington Post. He’s been advising and observing companies for over 30 years, and along that journey, he’s figured out a lot of different ways to do those workarounds. And fortunately for us, he’s taken the time to write them down in his new book, “Workarounds That Work: How to Conquer Anything that Stands in Your Way at Work“ (affiliate link, proceeds to the National Park Foundation).
I just finished reading it, and I’m glad I did, because he’s put his finger on something that everyone needs to take heed of.
And that is, it is vitally important how we frame the problem, and then, once we do, realizing that the very first step in solving it is to figure out what we can do right now that requires no one’s permission other than our own.
Because, in Russell’s words, “how we frame the problem IS the problem”.
It was a very interesting and illuminating perspective, and the rest of the book delivers example after example of situations that need the workarounds, and the methods to accomplish them.
Along the way he drops in quite a few of what I call “pearls of wisdom”, things that made me grab for my pen and start underlining (that’s when I always know I picked up a book I’m going to learn from).
I’ll share one in particular that I could very much relate to, concerning the art of listening. Really listening.
“There is an old Buddhist saying that asks “Are you listening, or just preparing to speak“? There is a big difference between conversing with someone who is listening to understand and conversing with someone who is listening to argue”
Bam! Been there. This pearl was a precursor to one of Russell’s excellent workarounds for those people he calls “malicious listeners” (you’ll have to read the book to see what it was).
I didn’t agree with him on a few things – these were strongly presented opinions, and I had a few of my own from a 28-year business career that didn’t quite match up – but that didn’t matter.
What mattered were the many things I had just learned. And will certainly use.
I recommend this book to anyone who needs a few new lessons of their own.