top of page
  • Writer's pictureLars Christensen

Nine lies about work by Marcus Buckingham and Ashley Goodall ~ 4 minutes

I finished this book in January 2021. I recommend this book 7/10.

This book has some really interesting information about organizations and the way they provide feedback. Some good guidance on how to be better at talking performance, how it affects people, and what you should concentrate on.

I think this is a good book if you are a small to mid-size company trying to raise the level of how feedback is provided. You can get your copy of the book here.

My notes and thoughts:

  • 8 questions to figure out people engagement:

    • I'm really enthusiastic about the mission of my company.

    • At work, I clearly understand what is expected of me.

    • In my team, I'm surrounded by people who share my values.

    • I have the chance to use my strengths every day at work.

    • My teammates have my back.

    • I know I will be recognized for my excellent work.

    • I have great confidence in my company's future.

    • In my work, I am always challenged to grow.

  • What we, as team members, want from you, our team leader, is first that you make us feel part of something bigger, that you show us how what we are doing together is important and meaningful; and secondly, that you make us feel that you can see us, and connect to us, and care about us, and challenge us, in a way that recognizes who we are as individuals. We ask you to give us this sense of universality—all of us together—and at the same time to recognize our own uniqueness, to magnify what we all share, and to live up to what is special about each of us. When you come to excel as a leader of a team, it will be because you've successfully integrated these two quite distinct human needs.

  • You should know the answers to the eight questions for your team all the time. There are technologies available to help you do this, but the easier place to start is to ask your team members, one person at a time. Whatever their answers are, you'll always be smarter because of them, and you'll always know you're paying attention to something that matters.

  • So, though you are told that the best plan wins, the reality is quite different. Many plans, particularly those created in large organizations, are overly generalized, quickly obsolete, and frustrating to those asked to execute them. It's far better to coordinate your team's efforts in real-time, relying heavily on the informed, detailed intelligence of each unique team member.

  • Three questions that are mandatory from a leader on one-on-ones:

    • How was your week?

    • What are your priorities this upcoming week?

    • How can I help?

  • Our prevailing assumption is that we need goals because our deficit at work is a deficit of aligned action. We're mistaken. What we face instead is a deficit of meaning, of a clear and detailed understanding of the purpose of our work, and of the values we should honor in deciding how to get it done. Our people don't need to be told what to do; they want to be told why.

  • "You will never feel proud of your work if you find no joy within it; your best work is always joyful work." ~Stevie Wonder.

  • Growth, it turns out, is actually a question not of figuring out how to fain ability where we lack it but figuring out how to increase impact where we already have the ability.

  • The best people are not well-rounded, finding fulfillment in their uniform ability. Quite the opposite, in fact—the best people are spiky, and in their lovingly honed spikiness, they find their biggest contribution their fastest growth, and, ultimately, their greats joy.

  • Define the outcomes you want from your team and its members, and then look at each person's strength signs to figure out how each person can each those outcomes most efficiently, most amazingly, most creatively, and most joyfully. The moment you realize that you're in the outcome business is the moment you turn each person's uniqueness from a bug into a feature.

  • Fit the machine to the pilot, not the other way around.

  • Dalio says about feedback: it is what it is. We must face it with all of our intelligence unfettered, and we can't allow our politeness or our fear of repercussion to prevent us from seeing what is there to be seen, and thereby changing it for the better.

  • People don't need feedback. They need attention, and moreover, attention to what they do the best. And they become more engaged and therefore more productive when we give it to them.

  • If you want your people to learn more, pay attention to what's working for them right now, and then build on that.

  • For team members, nothing is more believable and thus more powerful than you sharing what you saw from her and how it made you feel. Or what it made you think. Or what it caused you to realize. Or how and where you will now rely on her. These are your reactions, and when you share them with specificity and with detail, you aren't judging her or rating her, or fixing her. You are simply reflecting to her the unique "dent" she just makes in the world as seen through one person's eyes—yours.

  • In the world of ratings, the idea that we can always cover for the possibility that any individual data source is bad by getting lots of data from lots of sources and averaging it is wrong and harmful. Adding bad data to a good or the other way around doesn't improve the quality of the data or make up for its inherent shortcomings.

  • Reliable, variable, and valid—these are the signs of good data, and these three concepts will help you intelligently examine the quality of any data put in front of you.

  • It's far better to invest in helping our team leaders do what we need them to, by 1)getting rid of ratings of "potential," 2) teaching team leaders what we know about human growth, and 3) prompting them to discuss careers with their people in terms of momentum—in terms of who each team member is, and in terms of how fast each is moving through the world. This is harder, of course than buying the latest piece of enterprise software and then imploring our people to use it, but it's the right hard thing to do.

  • Neither you nor your life is in balance, nor will you ever be. Instead, you are a unique creature who takes inputs from the world, metabolizes them in some way, produces something useful, and does so in such a way that you can keep doing it; at least you are when you're healthy when you're at your best when you are contributing all that your talents allow you to. When you're flourishing, you are acting on the world and it on you. Your world offers up to you raw material—activities, situations, outcomes—in all parts of your life, and some of this raw material invigorates you and gives you energy. You are at your healthiest when you find this particular kind of raw material, draw it in, allow it to feed you, and use it to contribute something—and when that contribution actually seems to leave you with more energy, not less.

  • Her first is to ensure her team members feel connected to the purpose and future of the company, even though she may not directly define those. Her second is to ensure that her team members, as a group, understand and support one another. And her third is to ensure that her team members, individually, understand what's expected of them and how they can do their best work now and in the future, all while feeling recognized for who they are.

35 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page