Hacking Work: Breaking Stupid Rules for Smart Results

Hacking Work: Breaking Stupid Rules for Smart Results

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by Bill Jensen
     
 

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Why work harder than you have to? One manager kept his senior execs happy by secretly hacking into the company's database to give them the reports they needed in one third of the time. Hacking is a powerful solution to every stupid procedure, tool, rule, and process we are forced to endure at the office. Benevolent hackers are saving business from itself.

It

Overview

Why work harder than you have to? One manager kept his senior execs happy by secretly hacking into the company's database to give them the reports they needed in one third of the time. Hacking is a powerful solution to every stupid procedure, tool, rule, and process we are forced to endure at the office. Benevolent hackers are saving business from itself.

It would be so much easier to do great work if not for lingering bureaucracies, outdated technologies, and deeply irrational rules and procedures. These things are killing us.

Frustrating? Hell, yes. But take heart-there's an army of heroes coming to the rescue.

Today's top performers are taking matters into their own hands: bypassing sacred structures, using forbidden tools, and ignoring silly corporate edicts. In other words, they are hacking work to increase their efficiency and job satisfaction. Consultant Bill Jensen teamed up with hacker Josh Klein to expose the cheat codes that enable people to work smarter instead of harder. Once employees learn how to hack their work, they accomplish more in less time. They cut through red tape and circumvent stupid rules.

For instance, Elizabeth's bosses wouldn't sign off on her plan to improve customer service. So she made videotapes of customers complaining about what needed fixing and posted them on YouTube. Within days, public outcry forced senior management to reverse its decision.

Hacking Work reveals powerful technological and social hacks and shows readers how to apply them to sidestep bureaucratic boundaries and busywork. It's about making the system work for you, not the other way around, so you can take control of your workload, increase your productivity, and help your company succeed-in spite of itself.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Systems expert Jenson (What is Your Life Work) and Klein, a consultant for U.S. intelligence agencies, who teamed up after they met at the TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) conference, combine their expertise to suggest innovative ways of subverting ineffective corporate business practices in their first collaborative effort. Successful "performers are taking matters into their own hands. They are bypassing sacred structures and breaking all sorts of rules to get things done" (such as instant messaging during a "stupid meeting" to reset the agenda, a "soft hack"). The authors urge employees to contact programmers to secretly reprogram their company computer so that they can bypass established systems in order to introduce improvements; employees should also breach their company's firewall by using readily available tools to increase efficiency. Jenson and Klein have a trendy take on a modern dilemma but their suggested methods could easily be used for less beneficent purposes. A chapter titled "Do No Harm," however, which includes a "10 Commandments" for hackers (Number 4: Never Compromise Other People's Information; Number 6: Pay it Forward), addresses the murky ethics inherent in what they urge the daring employee to do.
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From the Publisher
"The way we're working today sucks. If you've realized that fact, and your organization isn't doing anything about it, Hacking Work will help you achieve your results and not go insane waiting for those around you to wake up."
Cali Ressler and Jody Thompson, cocreators of the Results-Only Work Environment (ROWE) and coauthors of Why Work Sucks and How to Fix It

"Anyone frustrated by burdensome rituals and processes can now take responsibility for their own success. Jensen and Klein irreverently and cleverly show us the power of hacking work and taking responsibility for one's own success. The ideas within Hacking Work will foster the innovation and creativity so badly needed in these times."
Dave Ulrich, professor, Ross School of Business, and coauthor of The Why of Work

"Hacking Work is a refreshing antidote to what passes for business wisdom today. Sure, organizations need structure and processes. But to get your work done, you need this book. It's the perfect manual for long-overdue corporate insurgency. Find a way to hide it on your expense account!"
Thomas H. Davenport, President's Distinguished Professor of IT and Management, Babson College, and coauthor of Analytics at Work

"The time has come to accept that our outdated business precepts are unraveling. Jensen and Klein reveal a new hope: businesses succeeding and innovating in spite of themselves. A brave new world is upon us-we can embrace it and excel or deny it and die."
Jim McCarthy, consultant and former EVP, Strategic Development, CITGO Petroleum

"Hacking Work is a badly needed wake-up call urging executives to remove the manifold limitations standing in the way of true innovation. This book could not be more timely: As our economies move out of recession, it is high time to question and redesign every aspect of doing business that creates obstacles to competitiveness."
Jean-Daniel Gerber, State Secretary, Ministry of the Economy, Switzerland

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780670919505
Publisher:
Portfolio Penguin
Publication date:
10/28/2010

Meet the Author

Bill Jensen is President/CEO of the Jensen Group, a change consulting firm he founded in 1985. He is also an internationally acclaimed speaker and the author of Simplicity: The New Competitive Advantage in a World of More, Better, Faster.

Josh Klein is the quintessential hacker - of social systems, computer networks, consumer hardware, animal behavior, and, most recently, the conference industry. He also speaks, writes, and consults on new and emerging technologies that improve people's lives.

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Hacking Work: Breaking Stupid Rules for Smart Results 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Where r they
RolfDobelli More than 1 year ago
This lively book is not a manual or a how-to guide; it's a rallying cry for the community of "benevolent hackers" and an attitude adjustment for those who want to join. Bill Jensen, CEO of the Jensen Group, and Josh Klein, a skilled hacker, offer an enthusiastic spirit and an all-embracing outlook - at times to make up for being reserved about specificity, so as not to enable bad hackers - that clearly deliver their message: Courage and flexibility matter much more than technical expertise when it comes to changing oppressive work conditions. The authors walk a tightrope: They imply that you can alter software, networks and processes, but they never demonstrate how outright, and they advocate hacking only within ethical limits. Their obvious joy at circumventing restrictive or idiotic corporate practices, and their welcome conversational tone, makes this a tremendously fun read - one that will open some readers' eyes to possibilities they might not have considered. getAbstract suggests this gleeful tome to those who feel that work procedures are dampening their productivity and creativity, and to anyone who likes to tweak the nose of authority.