Feb 2 2009

Book Short: The Joys of Slinging Hash

Book Short: The Joys of Slinging Hash

Patrick Lencioni’s The Three Signs of a Miserable Job is a good read, as were his last two books, The Five Temptations of a CEO (post, link), and The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive (post, link).  They’re all super short, easy reads (four express train rides on Metro North got the job done), with a single simple message and great examples.  This one is probably my second favorite so far.

This book, which has a downright dreary title, is great.  It points to and proposes a solution to a problem I’ve thought about for a long time, which is how do you create meaning for people in their day to day work when they’re not doing something intrinsically meaningful like curing a disease or feeding the homeless.  His recipe for success is simple:

– Get people to articulate the relevance in their jobs…the meaning they derive out of their work…an understanding of the people whose lives are made better, even in small ways, by what they do every day

– Get people to measure what they do (duh, management 101), IN RELATION TO THE RELEVANCE learnings from the last point (ahh, that’s an interesting twist)

– Get to know your people as people

All of these are things you’d generally read in good books on management, but this book ties them together artfully, simply, and in a good story about a roadside pizza restaurant.  It also stands in stark contrast to the book I reviewed and panned a few days ago by Jerry Porras in that it is nothing but examples from non-celebrities, non-success stories — ordinary people doing ordinary jobs.

Brad has blogged glowingly about Death by Meeting, so I’ll probably make that my next Lencioni read next month, with two more to go after that.