Insights: Work for a reason

Several years ago, the self-help book topping the charts was “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” by Stephen Covey. Like the early John Grisham novels, you couldn’t walk through an airport without seeing a half dozen people with their noses stuck between the pages of this best seller. Our company chairman, the late Pettus Randall, used to say the people who need self-help books the most never seem to get around to reading them.

Many of them never seem to inspire me, even though I read quite a few. The last one I picked up – “Work for a Reason” – was an exception.

When I opened the book, I found the straightest talk concerning jobs and careers that I have ever read. The author, Larry Winget, is the self-proclaimed “Pitbull of Personal Development.” The first few pages of the book really set the tone by smacking the reader in the face with hard-to-handle issues. My favorite had to do with writing to-do lists. Instead of to-do lists, Winget suggests that we make “things that have to get done” lists, making us concentrate on accomplishing the things that are critical to our business.

Another controversial topic that the author fleshes out is what he calls stealing from the company. He is referring to not giving your best effort to the task at hand. Here’s his short list on how to work:

  • Stop lying to yourself and everyone else about how hard you work.
  • Work faster, smarter, harder. Stay busy. Find things to do.
  • Stop periodically during the day and ask yourself: Does this matter? Is it contributing to the overall well-being of the company?
  • Never tolerate poor performance in yourself or others.
  • Create a clear, organized environment that encourages work.
  • Expect the best from everyone.
  • Teach your employees how to be good workers.
  • Manage priorities, not time.
  • Figure out what absolutely has to get done, and then do it first.
  • Never get bogged down with the should-get-done’s or the wouldn’t-it-be-nice-to-get-done’s or the easy-to-do’s.
  • There is plenty of time to do the right thing.
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