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Morten Hansen is a Management Professor at the University of California Berkeley and the author of a new book, Great at Work: How Top Performers Do Less, Work Better and Achieve More. He also has a previous book titled Collaboration and co-authored a book called Great by Choice with Jim Collins.

Prior to joining the I School at UC Berkeley, Hansen was professor at Harvard Business School and at INSEAD, France, where he retains a part-time role. He holds a Ph.D. in Business Administration from the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University. His research has been published in Administrative Science Quarterly, Strategic Management Journal, among others. He also speaks and consults for large companies throughout the world.

There is a notion that the harder we work the more successful we will be. So we become very busy and put in lots of hours. Technology has made work all absorbing. So the new book, Great at Work, looks at helping people look at the work they do with a focus on top performers.

Top performers do these two things:

1. Choose priorities.
2. They are hyper-obsessed and have targeted intense efforts on fewer projects. If you are doing less then you need to make sure you are doing better than others on that topic.
Some topics in his book include:

Redesign work: The top performer changed the way they work. They ask, ‘How can I do this role better?” They look at what they are doing and challenge the status quo.
They also hunt for pain points such as: Where are people complaining? Where can I find solutions? and they ask ‘dumb’ questions such as: Why are there receptions in hotels? Why have 2 months of summer vacations in schools?

Don’t just learn, loop:
●This topic looks at how do we continuously improve? Most people are on autopilot; they’re not thinking about improving.
● We need to have a quality learning loop. This is a method of learning that can be applied to any skill at work – or home.

Passion and Purpose:
● If you want to be a top performer, don’t follow your passion. But you can’t ignore your passion either. The third way is to ‘match passion with purpose’.
● Try to understand the kind of benefits this company brings to customers.
Forceful Champions
● In today’s workplace you can’t just focus on the hierarchy, you need to be able to work well with peers. You need to convince others to buy into your project or your vision
● Be a champion and be willing and able to navigate the landscape to get what you want done.
● Inspire people and be persuasive – it’s a skill you have to learn

Fight and unite:
● We need to fix meetings: meetings are the ‘curse’ of today’s workplace
●Meetings are places to have a debate and then implement with what you decided, but most of the time unnecessary meetings are called just for the purpose of being able to say “we had a meeting”

How do you get people to work together without consensus?
● If you don’t have a team goal, people will look at their own agenda.
● If you let people have solid input in meetings, they are more likely to go along with the decision – make sure people are heard
● No consensus? Then the senior manager makes the decision

When it comes to the way we work, Hansen believes we have a skewed view of what success looks like. Hansen says, “I think the fundamental problem with the way we work now is what I call the “do more” paradigm of work. We believe that doing more is the way to succeed in having better results. More hours. More projects, more activities, more features in a products. And so on. So we are piling on work. And then people are stressed out by trying to accomplish all of these things. But it doesn’t necessarily lead to better work. It leads people to be stressed out. And then these perks are not gonna really change that very much. And I think that’s where we’re gonna go back to the root cause of the work itself to change that.”

What you will learn in this episode:

● How to be a Top Performer
● Hansen’s outlook on AI
● What The Purpose Pyramid is
● Who is responsible for passion and purpose: the organization or employee?
● How to become an Entrepreneur of Changing the Way You Work Inside Your Company
● Why the way we work is not working

Link from the episode:

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