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Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Workarounds That Work by Russell Bishop - Book review

Workarounds That Work

How to Conquer Anything That Stands in Your Way at Work

By: Russell Bishop

Published: December 15, 2010
Format: Hardcover, 256 pages
ISBN-10: 9780071752039
ISBN-13: 978-0071752039
Publisher: McGraw-Hill

"1n the day-to-day world of business, all manner of situations show up that require workarounds. Sometimes workarounds are fairly innocuous, and other times they can be pretty risky", writes internationally known speaker, educator, coach, and consultant Russell Bishop, in his practical and solutions oriented book Workarounds That Work: How to Conquer Anything That Stands in Your Way at Work. The author describes how processes and daily events can stand in the way of getting the real work in an organization completed, and what to do to solve the problem.

Russell Bishop recognizes that the first response from managers is to very often blame others, and to go along with outdated processes, rather than attempt to make real change. For the author, the first and most important workaround is for managers to change their own ideas, beliefs, and approach to challenging events and organizational obstacles. Instead of blaming others, and spending time complaining about the roadblocks, the author recommends taking responsibility for discovering and facilitating real solutions. Russell Bishop suggests that every manager should do what they can to make a difference with any initiative that requires only their own permission to set in motion. While workarounds can be simple or very complex, the very act of taking ownership and accepting personal responsibility for solving the problem, will go far toward removing the barriers that stand in the way of productivity.

Russell Bishop (photo left) understands the concept of workarounds. The author sees workarounds in the form of finding a way to achieve goals or perform tasks when the usual method or process fails to accomplish the desired results. With that simple, yet very logical premise in mind, Russell Bishop offers a reusable set of common elements that can be applied to solve even the most challenging barricades to the getting things done properly and on time. The three elements are:

* Intention - focus on and commitment to change
* Accountability - owning the result of that change
* Response-ability - choosing to control and influence where possible

Instead of the usual responses to work roadblocks, Russell Bishop provides a means to uncover and facilitate real solutions. The standard responses of going along with the prescribed bureaucratic systems, placing blame on other people and processes, demanding consensus on every detail, and becoming trampled by the preponderance of issues are no longer useful in the modern organization. Instead, the strategies provided in the book will help achieve the organizational goals, as well as establish a manager's reputation within the company as someone who gets results, no matter what obstacles are strewn in the path.

For me, the power of the book is how Russell Bishop takes a hands on, action oriented approach to creating both short and long term workarounds to the roadblocks faced by managers. Unlike many books on organizational behavior and change, Russell Bishop describes the daily small irritants that get in the way of accomplishing tasks, as well as the larger systemic issues that hamper or even block organization wide productivity. The author presents very hands on types of solutions, and an approach that can be used for any challenge large or small. Instead of blaming others and the processes in place currently, the author recommends that managers do what they can through taking ownership of the problem, seeking out a workable solution, and accepting responsibility for its implementation.

Russell Bishop dispels many of the myths that have grown up around organizational workarounds, and the usual prescriptions for getting around them. One of the keys to the book is how the author points out that many of the obstacles are easily circumvented, and that once overcome, then the important work can be accomplished. At the same time, the author acknowledges that some barriers are very formidable and require an overall change within the organization itself, requiring a fresh approach by company leadership. Instead of fighting the constant nagging fires within the business, Russell Bishop offers an opportunity to embrace real solutions to actual problems. The managers who utilize the methods suggested in this book will be seen as people who get things done regardless of the challenges faced in their jobs. That is a powerful reputation for any manager and leader to acquire and keep over the course of one's career.

I highly recommend the engaging and empowering book Workarounds That Work: How to Conquer Anything That Stands in Your Way at Work by Russell Bishop, to any managers or business leaders seeking a practical and results based method of approaching and solving the most persistent and nagging challenges that prevent people from doing the important work in their jobs. For organizations, the problem of roadblocks is widespread, and the need for useful workarounds is great, and this book provides the tools to discover and apply useable solutions.

Read the inspirational and change creating book Workarounds That Work: How to Conquer Anything That Stands in Your Way at Work by Russell Bishop, and put the power of workarounds into action in accomplishing your daily and longer term tasks and goals. There is real value to any manager, as well as to the entire company, of enhancing productivity and greater results, through the application of successful workarounds. This book will enlighten and motivate you to initiate and implement the changes necessary to really get things done right and on time.

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