Should You REWORK Your Approach?

by Lee Buford on April 5, 2010

A couple weeks ago I posted The “Real World” Excuse and Negativity, inspired by an idea from the book REWORK, by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson. Fried and Hansson are the founders of 37signals, a company that produces web-based efficiency tools and systems, and publishes Signal vs. Noise, a weblog that reaches 100,000 readers a day.

The book is packed with over eighty-plus ideas, theories, and philosophies on how to succeed in business and life, all broken down into small chapters that allow for quick reading and reference. A recent Newsweek article does a solid job relating the details of the book and the background and philosophies of its authors. And while I do recommend that you read the book, it is not my intent to “review” the entire book here or argue for or against its merits and worth. 

Instead I have chosen “15 Key Take-Aways” from the book that I feel are applicable and impactful for me, you, and anyone else looking to grow, lead, or serve personally, professionally, or in any non-profit organization:

  1. Ignore the real world. “The real world isn’t a place, it’s an excuse. It’s a justification for not trying. It has nothing to do with you.” [Lose the negativity and pessimism, encourage others and be willing to take shots.]
  2. No time is no excuse. [Stop waiting on the “perfect” time to act…it likely will never come.]
  3. Draw a line in the sand. [Know what you believe and why you’re doing what you’re doing.]
  4. Live it or leave it…Mission statement impossible. [There’s a difference between standing for something and saying you stand for something. Believe it and live it!]
  5. Embrace constraints. – “Constraints are advantages in disguise.” [Start looking at your constraints and “problems” as opportunities. What are you missing or overlooking that could lead to the next success?]
  6. You can’t do everything and do it well. – “Getting to great starts by cutting out stuff that’s merely good.” [Focus on great! Execute achievable tasks and processes. Weed out what’s holding you back.]
  7. Start at the epicenter. – Figure out your epicenter. [What is core to your beliefs or mission? Focus your energy on that!]
  8. Interruption is the enemy of productivity. – Get in the “alone zone.” [Create time and space to be productive…usually time alone.]
  9. Make tiny decisions. – “Big decisions are hard to make and hard to change.” [Make effective smaller decisions along the way with the ultimate outcome in mind. You can reverse or change course with minimal damage.]
  10. Don’t confuse enthusiasm with priority. [Enthusiasm and emotion are often not accurate indicators of true worth or value. Seek to make wise decisions, then execute with enthusiasm once the right decision is made.]
  11. Build an audience. – “An audience returns often, on its own, to see what you have to say.” [Speak, write, blog, and use social media platforms to build an audience who will be ready to listen when you need to get the word out.]
  12. Emulate chefs. – They share everything they know. [Add value, create opportunity, and serve others. What can you do to help someone else today?]
  13. Marketing is not a department. Everything is marketing! “Marketing is something everyone in your company (organization) is doing 24/7/365.” [Calls, emails, Twitter/facebook posts, conversations, visits to your events or services…all marketing opportunities to succeed or fail. What is your “customer’s” lasting impression?]
  14. The best are everywhere. [As is the case with associates and employees, companies, churches, and organizations can/should leverage all available resources. Technology has made it easy to share, connect, and source value across geographies. Are you still thinking “small-town?”]
  15. You don’t create a culture. – It happens. [Many man-hours and resources are devoted to the concept of culture building every day. Instead, focus on encouraging, loving, and supporting people. Encouraging sharing and trust, for example, leads to a culture of sharing and trust.]

There are many other “nuggets” in this book, and you and I will certainly not agree with or support them all. I do think, however, that Fried and Hansson make some great points relative to several areas of extreme importance in the lives and/or careers and professions of all of us. Take a closer look and see what you think.

You might just decide to REWORK a few things.

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