The Big Idea: Productivity can be learned.
Chapter 1: Motivation
- To feel motivated, people must feel like they are in control.
- Leadership is learned.
- Don’t praise people for intelligence; praise them for effort.
- A bias towards action keeps people motivated.
- Start with why; why are you doing what you’re doing?
- Examples: Marine boot camp, renegade nursing home patients.
Chapter 2: Teams
- Group norms (culture) matter more than anything.
- People need to feel safe to make and report mistakes, to experiment.
- Friends working together works because they feel safe.
- Teams need to believe their work is important.
- Teams need to believe their work is personally meaningful.
- Teams need clear goals and defined roles.
- Team members need to know they can depend on one another.
- Teams need psychological safety.
- Examples: Google People Analytics, hospitals, Saturday Night Live.
Chapter 3: Focus
- Cognitive tunneling is when brains are forced to transition abruptly from relaxed automation to panicked attention.
- People who remain calm and show good judgment in stressful situations tend to create mental models and engage in constant forecasting. They visualize scenarios.
- Productive people engage in fewer projects, challenge themselves constantly, and love to forecast future scenarios.
- Try to anticipate what’s next through scenario planning (Southwest Airlines book).
- Examples: Air France flight 447
Chapter 4: Goal Setting
- Having SMART goals will help you to continuously improve.
- However, only having audacious, inspirational stretch goals will lead to the big leaps forward. Stretch goals force you to challenge assumptions and try completely new approaches.
- Examples: Yom Kippur War, Toyota high-speed rail.
Chapter 5: Managing Others
- It’s the culture that makes Toyota successful.
- “Star-based” startups had the most home runs but also the most failures. “Culture-based” startups had the highest probability of survival and success.
- Lean management requires handing decision-making control to the front line worker. This requires a culture of trust.
- Example: Frank Janssen kidnapping, Toyota Production System.
Chapter 6: Decision Making
- Learn to be comfortable with uncertainty.
- Study statistics for better decision-making.
- Examples: poker professional Annie Duke.
Chapter 7: Innovation
- Most innovation is a new application of an old idea.
- “Creativity is just connecting things.” — Steve Jobs
- Mild disturbances to a team or situation can yield innovation.
- Sometimes, stress and pressure can yield innovation.
- Examples: Disney’s Frozen, Westside Story.
Chapter 8: Absorbing Data
- Too much data results in information blindness and the inability to make good decisions.
- Data is vital, but people must also be trained in the ability to use the data.
- Being forced to do think critically about the data (take careful notes, teach it to someone, apply it) is much more important than having access to the data.
- Examples: Data in Cincinnati public schools, typed notes vs hand-written notes.