Tuesday, May 12, 2009

You Are Self-employed!

Yes you are!

Even if you have one of those things called "a job" you are self-employed. This was the central insight that turned my work life around in the 1990s. As Pam Slim said in her Declaration of Independence, "I am self employed regardless of who pays me." (See her slideshow here.)

What happens when you see yourself as self-employed is, you begin to see the work world as a market...including your employer. Look, no one is using all of your many talents and abilities. I'm guessing your job only uses a narrow sliver of what you are capable of doing. So find other markets and pitch your services to them. Yes, outside and INSIDE your employer's enterprise.

Hey check out Pam Slim's new book Escape from Cubicle Nation too. (And her blog.)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

You should read these 5+ books!

Here are 5 resources that will help you make sense about change management.

The Diffusion of Innovations by Everett M. Rogers.
This is the granddaddy of change resources and one of the best business books of all time. Don't take just my word for it, that's what Inc magazine said too. This book is the bible of the field covering the innovation-decision process, adopter categories, opinion leadership, the change agent, the consequences of change, the list goes on. A must have for change managers.
Jump out idea: Too many to count!

Wishcraft: How to Get What You Really Want by Barbara Sher with Annie Gottlieb.
Still the best resource for people who want to make changes in their life but either don't know what they want or don't know how to proceed. This has great suggestions on how to discover your desires that you may be hiding from your self, how to deal with your own resistance, and a wonderful section on project management that is free of project management jargon. Sher doesn't even use the label project management.
Jump out idea: You don't have to have steely determination or grinning positive attitude to achieve success and get what you really want. You can have any old attitude you happen to have and any coping mechanisms you can use.

Communicating Change by TJ and Sandar Larkin
Turns many ideas about managing change in organizations on their heads. The authors advise communicating through supervisors (which makes sense...that's one reason there are supervisors). They also say to concentrate on local work areas and eschew all rah-rah and hyperbolic slogans. A readable, down-to-earth book.
Jump out idea: Keep communication simple and emphasize performance of local work areas.

Making a Living Without a Job by Barbara J. Winter
For those specifically looking to, as Pam Slim says, escape cubicle nation. Practical and inspirational ideas for striking out on your own without a job.
Jump out idea: The $100 idea. Make your idea make some money...$100.00. That will tell you more than most of your planning and introspection.

Moneyball by Michael Lewis
Ok, this one may be coming out of left field. (Please excuse the lame joke.) But really this book about the Oakland A's and Billy Beane demonstrates how change was managed by one baseball team. These changes then spread to other teams in major league baseball (MLB). Basically the world changed (salaries grew astronomically) and MLB ignored that fundamental shift for many years. Then Oakland started winning without overspending on talent. Shows how an outside force leads to change within organizations and industries. Oh, and it's a fun book.
Jump out idea: Even an organization with deeply held traditions and culture can change...but it ain't easy.

The +: The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
Everything you wanted to know about your resistance to personal development but were terrified to ask.
Jump out idea: It's War!