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The Optimistic Workplace: Creating an Environment That Energizes Everyone
     

The Optimistic Workplace: Creating an Environment That Energizes Everyone

5.0 1
by Shawn Murphy, Dorie Clark (Foreword by)
 

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When it comes to work these days, we’re expected to do more with less—but is this nose-to-the-grindstone philosophy the best way to run a business? Alarmingly low employee engagement numbers indicate otherwise.

So, if pushing everyone harder isn’t the path to productivity, what is? Supported by the latest

Overview

When it comes to work these days, we’re expected to do more with less—but is this nose-to-the-grindstone philosophy the best way to run a business? Alarmingly low employee engagement numbers indicate otherwise.

So, if pushing everyone harder isn’t the path to productivity, what is? Supported by the latest research, this eye-opening book argues that our best work is the product of a positive environment. That’s good news for you as a manager. While you can’t personally transform the corporate culture, you can influence the workplace climate and create meaningful and lasting change.

Advocating a steward model of management, The Optimistic Workplace reveals how to:

Explore personal and organizational purpose—and align them for astonishing results • Overcome resistance and skepticism • Build camaraderie and deepen loyalty • Increase intrinsic motivation • Help your team find meaning in their work • Identify goals collaboratively and track progress • And more

Examples from companies large and small demonstrate how this people-centric focus ignites employee potential, increases innovation, and catapults the organization to new levels of performance. Far from being a wish-upon-a-star discussion of workplace happiness, this book presents an array of surprisingly simple strategies as well as practical 30-, 60-, and 90-day plans designed to focus your actions and make employee optimism not just a worthy goal—but a real and measurable result.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“…setting aside the quasi-military concept of command and control, Murphy sets traditional motivational and management theory on its ear.” --Library Journal

“…about the importance of infusing purpose into work and creating a positive work environment…This book is indispensable for any leader.” --Actionable Books

“...path-breaking beliefs and simple techniques to help leaders at all levels positively shift not only how people perform but also how they feel while at work.” --Realizing Leadership

“The book features a plethora of insights, based on psychological research, which demonstrate that happy employees are also more productive.” --Small Business Trends

Library Journal
★ 10/01/2015
Eschewing the "m" word (manager) in favor of "coach," "mentor," "leader," "guide," and "steward," and setting aside the quasi-military concept of command and control, Murphy sets traditional motivational and management theory on its ear. A consultant with decades of experience, the author is solidly in the camp of practitioners emphasizing the human side of organizations as a reliable path to higher motivation and greater innovation; this emphasis, he says, also means bottom-line benefits in enhanced productivity and profits. Urging departure from time-honored but ineffective financial motivators, Murphy advocates overlaying traditional management skills with the subtleties of stewardship behaviors, citing examples from businesses such as Luck Companies and Menlo Innovations. He convincingly argues for values-based leadership that taps into employees' desire to make a difference and to connect through work to some existential higher purpose—a powerful mindset for motivating the entire workforce and one expected by the younger contingent. This thesis echoes Neel Doshi and Lindsay McGregor in Primed To Perform, as does the focus on skills a leader must develop in order to move toward a positive environment aligning personal goals with organizational priorities. VERDICT Including the appendix's 12-week actionable plan for transitioning to an optimistic workplace, progressive managers will find this fascinating book an insightful basis for reexamining heirloom beliefs and evolving toward enlightened practices.—Elizabeth Wood, Bowling Green State Univ. Libs., OH

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780814436196
Publisher:
AMACOM
Publication date:
10/28/2015
Pages:
240
Sales rank:
868,897
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Related Subjects

Read an Excerpt

INTRODUCTION

Studs Terkel's classic 1972 book Working opens with a drab,

sullen note that still seems too familiar today: “This book, being

about work, is, by its very nature, about violence—to the spirit as well

as to the body.” For centuries, workers have endured treatment that

belittles their pride and robs the artistry from their craft. All the while

“the man,” sticking it to his employees, kept a greedy eye on profits

while ignoring working conditions. People were merely a means to a

profitable end.

This is not Terkel’s tome continued. This is my shot across the bow

against the archaic beliefs still squandering people’s hopes, ideas,

humanity, and access to meaningful work. I’m not the first to fire, but

one of many emboldened by the belief that work can be a source of

fulfillment, joy, and happiness. Business leaders like Menlo Innova-

tion’s Rich Sheridan, Luck Companies’ Mark Fernandes and Charlie

Luck, Zingerman’s Ari Weinzweig, and Barry-Wehmiller’s Bob Chap-

man are uniting balance sheets and people-centric business philo-

sophies to astonishing results. They are infusing a different heart and

soul into their companies and rewriting the rule book of what business

success looks like and what it means. For these leaders, success is

also defined by how employees experience the workday in their

organization. These leaders and many others are featured in this

book as examples of what human-centered businesses look like

on the inside.

I don’t like the term manager. In a conversation with CEO Bob Chap-

man at Barry-Wehmiller, he asked me to promise I wouldn’t use the

word in this book. I nearly fulfilled my promise. The role of manager is

long associated with command and control, a better-than attitude that

is hauntingly recounted by Terkel. We don’t have time or room for this

type of manager anymore. Work is personal, and it needs to be a con-

tribution to people’s lives. And it’s not managers who make that hap-

pen. Now I know this might be alarming, especially given that this book

is written for those of you pushed and pulled in the middle layer of a

hierarchy. I’m not advocating that the work of those once-labeled

managers go away. I’m advocating that you fulfill a higher calling than

looking over the shoulders of your employees to see that they get their

work done.

The higher calling that I’m whispering not so quietly into your ear is

to create an environment that positions people to do their best work

and also become better human beings. I know that some of you will find

this book supporting what you’re already doing. In short, you’re not

commanding anyone. You’re coming alongside people and learning how

best to support them. I believe you’ll find the elements of an optimistic

workplace to be a good addition to your leadership repertoire and philo-

sophy. Whenever I told friends and strangers the idea behind the opti-

mistic workplace, I heard the same response: “We need that where I

work.” Even without explaining the nuance in what I’m writing about, this

response told me one thing: We long to feel good about our work. In his

brilliant way of writing, Studs Terkel explained over 40 years ago what

people wanted from their work efforts: “It is about a search, too, for

daily meaning as well as daily bread, for recognition as well as cash, for

astonishment rather than torpor; in short for a sort of life rather than a

Monday through Friday sort of dying. . . . To be remembered was the

wish, spoken and unspoken, of the heroes and heroines of this book.”

When we show up at work we want to be seen, as Pat Christen, CEO

of the nonprofit HopeLab, told me. If you think about it, we all want our

work-time investment to matter. You hold the key to this. Instead of

work robbing your employees’ souls of something good each day, you

can play a positive part that helps them live up to their potential.

Throughout this book are ideas to help optimism emerge in the work-

place that are plucked from the companies featured in it, from my con-

sulting work, and from what research is uncovering in terms of positive

workplaces.

This book is about modeling the expectations necessary to contribute

to the emergence of optimism in the work environment. It’s not

about being or becoming an optimist. Optimistic workplaces need di-

versity in perspective and in people from all backgrounds and inclina-

tions. What unites them is a workplace mood that gives hope that

good things are possible from applying one’s experiences to ulti-

mately help the organization create value for its customers.

Meet the Author

SHAWN MURPHY is an independent consultant with 20 years’ experience working with organizations to create workplace optimism. He is the co-founder and CEO of Switch & Shift (switchandshift.com), an advocacy and consultancy focused on the human side of business.

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The Optimistic Workplace: Creating an Environment That Energizes Everyone 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Michael_Lee_Stallard More than 1 year ago
Shawn Murphy's vision for the optimistic workplace is what so many organizations today need. The combination of advice, research and engaging stories from companies such as Aetna, HopeLab, Market Basket, Menlo Innovations and others makes this book a must read for leaders and those who aspire to lead.