Tuesday, October 12, 2010

So you want to be a VP, Part II

Part I provides some background; in this posting I'll introduce some of my favorite work-related books.
  1. Drucker (the prescient), The Effective Executive
    If another business-focused book has had a greater influence on my thinking about work, I don't know what it is. Know Thy Time, Focus on Contribution, Effective Decisions—brilliant.
    His Managing for Results is also interesting, albeit less applicable for someone in my position.
  2. Cohen and Bradford, Influence Without Authority
    A great book on the "new" (1991) world of the flattened organization, and how to deal with the realities of being on the hook for results, without being given the corresponding organizational authority. Very practical. It includes some success stories as well as some not-quite-s.
  3. Covey's 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
    A broader focus than just business. Worth a trip to the library. Don't take it too seriously, though; he tells you what to do in life, but it feels like legalism to me.
  4. Goldratt, Critical Chain
    Great insights on scheduling, why projects are late, student syndrome, etc. I wrote about this in 2007.
  5. Townsend, Up the Organization
    Entertaining and common-sensical, but more focused on the higher echelons of management.
These books have informed my thinking, more than giving me specific action steps.

Besides thinking differently, of course, one must also change actual behavior, doing things beyond the comfort zone, to grow professionally (or personally for that matter). This needn't be a long slog up the ladder; you really can decide that you don't want another promotion, if for example you'd rather write code than budgets (I resemble this remark).

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