A while back, I read a great business book called Rework. At the time, I had business ideas floating in my head, but I basically conformed to the way business was conducted as the norm and thought that to be successful, I would need to adhere to these practices. Then I saw this book at Barnes & Noble and decided to buy it. I read it in one night because deep down inside I agreed with every single thing that its author, 37 Signals, wrote in this book. It is a book about rewiring your business approach to simpler, more effective business practices. Here are some of the things that I thought make total sense to me and that every business manager should at least look at to see if it is a more effective strategy than the ones that they are implementing right now:
1. Meetings Are Toxic
This is a part of the book that I have been saying ever since I entered the business world. Now, before I go into why I agree with this way of thinking, I admit that some meetings are critical. Project meetings, deadline meetings or any other collection of thoughts that might help or be integral to the success of the business are things that should happen.
What should not happen are meetings that are a waste of time for the meeting conductor, the staff or the company. Raise your hand, if you have been through hundreds of these types of pointless meetings. Usually they just turn into bitching sessions and finger pointing and nothing gets done. Get rid of them. They are useless. They are also costly. Lets do the math:
Let’s say you want to have a meeting, just for the sake of having a meeting and showing to your staff that you are so powerful that you can call them away from their work and conduct a meeting. Let’s also say that this meeting will call ten of your staff to attend and this meeting will take 2 hours.
Every person that attends this meeting is going to lose 2 hours of production. Multiple this by 10. Of course, don’t forget yourself, Mr. Meeting Gatherer. That is eleven brains that will lose two hours of productivity. 2 x 11 = 22 hours. This means that the company just lost 22 hours of productivity, just for the sake of having a pointless meeting.
My advice is to limit the number of meetings to just the critical ones. This strategy will make your company a more efficient and happier place, because you are empowering your staff to do their jobs, more work will get done and the culture will improve within your company.
2. Build 1/2 a product, not a half-assed product
There are many businesses that try to be everything to everyone. Rework mentions that if you are a small business that is trying to create 10 products/services that are equal in value, profitability and/or greatness….forget it. Chances are you don’t have the human resources, the time or money to make this happen. Its okay to have a portfolio of products. However, maybe you should do a product/service diagnosis and see what is selling, which are attracting new customers and which are things that your company is heads above the rest the best. Put your energy into your best product and concentrate on it. Of course do the work, of accommodating your clients with your other services and do it well. But remember that if you create a service/product that blows people away, you will establish your company with a unique business proposition that has a great chance to beat out your competitors.
3. Scratch Your Own Itch
This early section in the book is great. Simply put, create a product that YOU would love to use. Enjoy it. The best way to make a great product is to have fun with it. If you don’t have fun, don’t believe or put all your blood and sweat into your product, than you are creating a half-assed product. Passion is the number one driver of success. You will see that instead of your work being a chore, you will learn to absorb it and build ideas on how to make it better in your sleep. Because you care for it. Its your baby! Go get it!
I just wanted to touch base on this great book. Not everyone will agree with it, but to me its a great way to think differently. And we all know, that thinking differently can definitely be a risk, but it can also yield high rewards. If you are tired of the status quo and want to get some new ideas under your belt. You must check out Rework. Check out some press and media reviews of the book…
“Short, inspiring essays debunking myths in business.” -Fast Company read the review
“Brilliant.” -MIT Technology Review read the review
“The Henry David Thoreaus of entrepreneurship.” -Inc. Magazine read the review
“I want to buy a copy for everyone I know.” -Washington Post read the review
“A manifesto for post-recession success.” -Newsweek read the review
“Hands-down, it’s simply the best business book I’ve read in years.” -Ad Age read the review
“An important book for businesspeople and for anyone hoping to succeed.” -CNBC read the review
“One of the most important books you’ll read this year.” -800-CEO-READ read the review
“By far the most useful and provocative business book I’ve read in recent years.” -PC Pro read the review
“Anti-business-as-usual philosophy.” -Chicago Magazine read the review
“Definitely a good book.” -Entrepreneur Magazine read the review
Rework is written by 37 Signals. These ideas above are not my own, they are just ideas I happen to agree with.