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Workplace culture and productivity go hand in hand

Thanks to Michael Valocchi from Cognizant I was pointed in the direction of Charles Duhigg’s book, Smarter Faster Better - The Transformative Power of Real Productivity.

Julian Darisse holding the book Smarter, Faster, Better by author Charles Duhigg.

Not only is this book packed full of organizational and behavioural insights, but it also has wonderful real-life illustrations about how people can make decisions which lead to greater outcomes. It underlines the important relationship between workplace culture and productivity.

A few takes:

🏇 Motivation - having the ability to make meaningful choices improves our sense of self-motivation and rewarding initiative reinforces our internal locus of control. Asking “why” we should do something ideally aligns with our internal values.

🗣 Teams - instead of looking to hire only superstars, you can achieve more with a group of average performers if they have a voice within a socially sensitive environment. In a psychologically safe environment people are more willing to offer suggestions on how to improve, because their opinion is respected.

🧘‍♀️ Focus - create a “mental model” of what you expect to happen to put yourself in charge. Envision what you will do when the unexpected occurs and be sensitive to the details that don’t align with your mental model. Charles Duhigg gives two poignant examples using the critical situations of flights AF447 and QF32.

🤝 Managing Others - a commitment culture tends to outperform other management styles in profitability, IPO listings, and tend to be leaner with less middle managers. This type of management style is often more successful due to a sense of trust among workers and managers which entices everyone to work harder and get through the inevitable set backs.

🧠 Decision Making - by training ourselves to think probabilistically we prepare ourselves for different outcomes and develop intuition about what is more or less likely to come true. This is also known as a Bayesian instinct.

💡 Innovation - when strong ideas take root, the competitive (and possibly better) ideas are overcrowded or ignored. When looking to improve on an already strong idea, it’s important to disturb things just enough to spark creativity.

I found this to be a very well-written book and I'll keep my eyes peeled for more from Charles Duhigg and recommendations from Michael Valocchi.


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