Great at Work - Morten T. Hansen

Great at Work - Morten T. Hansen

See everything you need to know to work less and do more by directing your values and efforts correctly.

To understand more about the way people work and direct their values and efforts, the author Morten Hansen conducted a large study, with more than 5, 000 employees and managers, and was able to develop a theory of how to work intelligently, presented in his book "Great at Work".

Hansen's objective is to disseminate his own perspective on work so that we can achieve a better performance in our professional activities and achieve the long-awaited success.

If you want to know more about this book, keep reading this summary!

About the book "Great at Work"

Written by Morten Hansen, the book "Great at Work" was published on January 9, 2018, by Simon & Schuster.

It is considered a hands-on guide to help you identify your way of working and develop effective strategies to be more productive and stand out in the labor market.

The book has 320 pages and is divided into 3 parts to aid you to master your own work, teamwork, and personal life.

All the content is the result of researches, interviews, and articles from which the author developed 7 practices to work intelligently and achieve professional success, all tested and proven.

About the author Morten T. Hansen

Morten T. Hansen is considered one of the most influential management thinkers. He holds a Ph. D. from Stanford Business School and was a professor at Harvard Business School.

Currently, he lectures and advises companies around the world, besides working as a professor of management at the University of California.

Morten Hansen also wrote, with Jim Collins, the book "Great by Choice".

To whom is this book indicated?

If you are concerned about your productivity at work, or have just graduated and want to stand out, Morten Hansen will teach you to improve your performance at work and in personal life with the book "Great at Work".

Main ideas of the book "Great at Work"

  • We all can learn to do something;
  • Work on valuable things.
  • Having priorities and striving to make them stand out is better than doing everything at the same time;
  • Solving pain and complaints at work is a great way to add value to it;
  • The quality of practice makes perfect;
  • Passion and purpose are two drivers that lead you to the result;
  • Unite your team and provoke debate between different units;
  • Most of the meetings are unproductive;
  • Over-collaboration can be detrimental.

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[Book Summary] Great at Work - Morten T. Hansen

Overview: Mastering your own work

Morten Hansen beings the book "Great at Work" presenting the first 4 practices to guide you:

Do less, but obsessively

When you want to do more tasks at work, you automatically fall into some pitfalls. It is a fact that you perform better when you work more and assume more responsibilities, but there is a better way to do this, by doing less and being obsessed.

This way, you avoid the two main pitfalls, which are: not being able to allocate proper attention to each activity and the high complexity of tasks.

The great lesson of this practice is to eliminate the culture of just doing things for the sake of doing, and to focus on your priorities, making you dedicate yourself to the maximum to make them stand out.

Therefore, the author Morten Hansen proposes some ways to accomplish this:

  • Eliminate unnecessary tasks and focus on priorities;
  • Have clear rules so that you avoid anything that might distract you;
  • Saying "no" is essential to achieve greatness. Explain to your leader that you need to put a lot of effort into your current tasks, and adding new ones can cause degrade your performance.

Redesign your work

According to the studies of Morten Hansen, the first step in redesigning your work is to analyze its real value. That means how much your work benefits other people.

A great way to start this journey is through the most obvious questions to ask in the workplace, and the ability to listen carefully to people's complaints. By doing so, it is possible to identify problems and solve them, creating value for others, as the author explains in the book "Great at Work".

We can do this by creating high-value activities, performing efficiently, and improving the quality of things.

Learn and repeat

One of the great secrets to learn is to repeat, because, as we all know, practice makes perfect.

However, the author Morten Hansen emphasizes the importance of practicing with quality, that is, focusing on how and not how much.

Some tips presented in the book "Great at Work" to help you learn with quality are:

  1. Invest 15 minutes of your day to improve your skills;
  2. Improve your ability through daily micro-behaviors;
  3. Create ways to measure your results;
  4. Ask your teammates for quick and constant feedback (it can be informal);
  5. Create and conduct small experiments, and then implement the ones that worked;
  6. Break your "stagnation points" and get out of your routine.

Passion and purpose

Follow your passion and do what you love to have a fulfilling profession. But, according to the book "Great at Work", there are times when passion alone is not enough, something bigger is needed - the purpose.

When you combine these two sensations, your degree of capacity and energy increases. To develop them, the author suggests:

  • Discover a new role so that your passions and purpose are better used;
  • Your circle of passion can also be expanded by creativity, social interactions, and learning.
  • Add value, meaning, and a social mission to your purpose pyramid.

Overview: Mastering teamwork

In the second part of the book "Great at Work", the author Morten Hansen presents the last 3 practices:

Powerful champions

Most people make use of the good old-fashioned word-of-mouth to expose their ideas and achievements.

Morten Hansen says that people will forget what you said and what you did, but won't forget how you made them feel.

Thus, the best way to spark a feeling in someone is through inspiration and intelligent determination, that is:

  • Provoke intense emotions in people that make them anxious for tomorrow;
  • Connect a strong purpose with daily work;
  • Put yourself in the shoes of your opponents;
  • Mobilize people in your favor.

Fight and Union

Your mission is to increase the performance of your team! So, what's your attitude?

One of the likely actions will be to schedule a series of meetings with the best and brightest people.

It may even be possible to achieve a positive result. But the author Morten T. Hansen brings a much more effective way.

It consists of maximizing union and debate between teams. The most varied talents will make a difference, and a good alignment during this meeting will cause future meetings to be suspended.

The issue of meetings has to be taken very seriously, as many people think they can be unproductive. To face these obstacles and make good decisions, the main tips shared by Hansen in the book "Great at Work" are:

  • Maximize diversity, not talent;
  • Encourage people to say what they want, including the quiet and shy ones;
  • Be an arguer;
  • Ask open-ended questions;
  • Make sure everyone is heard;
  • Confront the "little stars";
  • Improve the goal of the team;
  • Support decisions and don't make politics.

Sins of Collaboration

We have the belief that the more contribution, the better. But it is not like that, because, after all, both scarcity and excess are bad.

That's why we need to find a great point that guarantees true intelligent or disciplined collaboration.

This type of contribution consists of carefully choosing each of the tasks you want to participate or not and following specific rules that contribute to success.

With this, Morten Hansen presents us, in his book "Great at Work", 5 rules for us to achieve an efficient collaboration:

  1. Have a compelling reason for a collaborative proposal;
  2. Have a unique and exciting goal and prioritize it;
  3. The rewards have to be for the results of the collaboration, not for the activities;
  4. Offer all resources for collaboration;
  5. Customize and reinforce confidence boosters.

Overview: Mastering your personal life

In this last part of the book "Great at Work", the author Morten Hansen brings 3 questions, which he answers through the conclusions of his research and the comparison between people who use normal practices and people who use his practice.

Any of us can become great at work and in life, all it takes is concentration and dedication to the 7 practices mentioned, until you master them.

What do other authors say about it?

The author Tim Ferriss says, in the book "The 4-Hour Workweek", you should escape the idea of "living for work". Instead, it should be "work for a living". Tim also says that the most valuable resource in our lives is time, not money. So, it is not worth spending so much time working to earn money without being able to enjoy everything it provides.

In the book "Make Time", the authors Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky, 4 steps to be followed daily to find time to do what is really important. These steps are highlight, focus, energy, and reflection.

Also, they say that when prioritizing a task, you should choose the "highlight" of the day, and run it around an hour. For that, it takes a lot of energy, and it can come through daily exercises, a good diet, and regulated sleep.

Finally, Tamara Myles, author of the book, "The Secret to Peak Productivity", develops the "Peak Productivity Pyramid" system, whose model teaches you how to organize from where you work to what matters most and how to get closer to your life goals.

Okay, but how can I apply this to my life?

During his studies and research, Morten Hansen concluded that in all the 7 practices presented in the book "Great at Work", the people who applied the method proposed did much better than the ones who didn't.

So, there is no reason for you not to apply these practices in your life. So, start now to adopt these new habits, take small steps, and see how much more effective you will be in your work.

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