Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
The book provides a number of stories which highlight that the history and background have echoings for a long time to come. The fist story is about the importance of community of the duration of people lives. The impact that groupings by age have on future performance in sport, given that a child nearly one year older will be better than people at the other end of the year group physically. That genius is not an individual’s efforts but as a result of the opportunities people had e.g. Bill Gates having access to a computer terminal before most other people etc. The impact of culture in plane crashes where a hierarchical culture endangers lives. How number systems in asia gives them an advantage in maths. How people who herded animals are more aggressive than people who tended fields – animals are easier to steal than a field of potatoes – has impact for generations to come.
The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John C. Maxwell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The book presents the following leadership laws:
- Lid – your level of impact is capped by your leadership abilities, grow leadership grow your potential for impact
- Influence – this is leadership. Management is about processes, entrepreneurship is about finding ideas and pioneering is about being first. Leadership is about influencing others through your character, relationships, knowledge and past success and failures, intuition and experience, plus abilities – certainly not title.
- Learning Process – leaders are learners, every day a small amount. There are no overnight leaders.
- Navigation – to see the bigger picture and to chart a course towards the goal
- Addition – make things better for the people who follow you by valuing others, growing ourselves and relate to others values
- Solid Ground – trust is the bedrock.
- Respect – people follow people stronger then themselves. Natural leadership is a start – one of the greatest pitfalls is relying on this and not growing. Respect others, have courage, success, loyalty and help others.
- Intuition – leaders see everything through a leadership perspective, this intuition is grown over time and is key so that when struggles come along they already see things through leadership.
- Magnetism – people attract people who are similar in age, gender, values, attitude, background, energy, abilities and leadership.
- Connection – leaders connect through openness and sincerity, vision, them (members), belief, direction and hope.
- Inner Circle – no leaders ride alone, it’s about having a great team with variety of skills to complement each other. A strong inner circle means better leadership.
- Empowerment – secure leaders give power to others. Keeping out of other people’s way is tough and insecure people don’t trust others so medle. Strong leaders give credit when things go well and take the blame when they don’t.
- Picture – people do what they see. As a leader you need to model the behaviours you want and you need to build a vivid picture of what you are trying to achieve.
- Buy-In – people buy into the person then the vision. Building personal relations is key to people buying into you.
- Victory – leaders find ways for the team to win, success is important for team morall and without it everything is much tougher.
- Momentum – a team with momentum is unstoppable. So with some victories and growing people builds momentum that means that the team will achieve more and more.
- Priorities – good leaders realise that being busy does not mean accouplishing things. Prioritisation is key – there is just not enough time to do everything.
What are the 20% of tasks which are actually important. If things could be done 80% as well by someone else then delegate.
- Sacrifice – a leader has to give things up to grow. Be that giving up a well performing team to grow a new one or giving up personal time or location.
- Timing – timing is key. The right action at the wrong time gives the wrong result, so does the wrong action at the right time. Getting time and action to work together is critical.
- Explosive Growth – leaders who develop leaders – succeed, grow the top 20%, focus on strengths, treat individuals uniquely, invest time in others and impact people beyond their reach.
- Legacy – everything comes to an end so thinking for legacy and long term success is important. Many leaders don’t grow people in their team and leave a whole when they move on – don’t do this as your work will go to waste.
The Productivity Project: Accomplishing More by Managing Your Time, Attention, and Energy by Chris Bailey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Quite often people think that productivity is about being busy , here the book focuses on what we accouplish. It is easy to get into a “factory” mindset focused on efficiency e.g. how many words did I write, however this is not productivity something such as writing a valuable book is.
To be productive we need three elements
- Prioritise – not all tasks deliver as much value, limit to 3 per day
- Biological Prime Time – work with your body, not against it find when you work best
- Procrastinating – Tasks which are: Boring, Frustrating, Difficult, Unstructured or ambiguous, Lacking meaning, Lacking intrinsic reward – we naturally differ thing which match these criteria, instead we should lean on them e.g. if a task is boring how can we make it interesting?
Sometimes procrastinating is just a symptom that your life just doesn’t match what you’re interested in and … maybe you should do something else.Tim Pychyl
- Meet your future self – Make a vivid picture of you in the future as a real person, then you will less likely defer tasks to them
- The Internet kills productivity – There are too many distractions, disconnect
- Ignore time – manage your energy and attention to become productive not time
- Working less – value space to refocus and recharge not time working even though working longer hours feels more productive it’s not
- Cleaning house – group together low value/low attention tasks
- Zen of productivity – we have to seperate the feeling of productivity from productivity itself, e.g answering emails are easier and give us enjoyment like Netflix, but don’t contribute to the high value items which we should be guarding
- Shrink the unimportant – e.g. answering email feels productive but that does not mean it contributes to your highest value tasks so shrink the tasks which don’t.
- Removing the unimportant – hire a (virtual) assistant to offload tasks
- Emptying your brain – write down tasks so they don’t consume brain power
- Rising up – review a list of “hot spots” e.g. finance, relationship to keep on track
- Making room – having room so your mind can wander is great for problem solving
- Attention hijackers – disable notifications, remote things which distract you
- Mindfulness – focus on doing just one thing
- Refueling – food, exercise and sleep have big impacts. Alcohol takes energy from tomorrow, caffeine from later today.
Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win by Jocko Willink & Leif Babin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The lessons from the book are simple and listed below, however the book is more interesting than these notes because of the stories on which these principles were discovered.Extreme Ownership – fundamentally is about
Extreme Ownership requires leaders to look at an organisation’s problems through the objective lens of reality, without emotional attachment to agendas or plans. It mandates that a leader sets ego aside, accepts responsibility for failure, attack weaknesses and consistently works to build a better and more effective team. Such a leader does not take credit for the team’s success but bestows that honor upon its members. When a leader sets such an example and expects this from junior leaders within the team, the mindset develops into the team’s culture at every level. With Extreme Ownership, junior leaders take charge of their smaller teams and their piece of the mission. Efficiency and effectiveness increases exponentially and high-performance, winning teams are the result.
- Extreme Ownership – By leading and taking responsibility
- No Bad Teams, Only Bad Leaders – Bad leaders blame others and don’t succeed
- Believe in your mission – Truly understand why the mission is important
- Check the Ego – Ego stifles planning, advice, criticism… the worst ego is yours
- Cover and Move – The company wins, not the team. Support and work with others
- Simple – Keep things simple so everyone can understand, if its complex its forgotten
- Prioritise and Execute – If you try to take on everything you’ll fail at everything
- Decentralised Command – Grow leaders with teams of around four to six people
- Plan – Get the lowest levels to plan then brief at high level encouraging interaction
- Leading Up and Down the Chain of Command – Provide more visibility up & down
- Decisiveness amid Uncertainty – You will never have all the info but decide now
- Discipline Equals Freedom – Leadership is a balance, being disciplined gives space