• June 2016

How to Master the Art of the Workaround to Boost Your Productivity

Odd are good that you have experienced the frustration dozens of times.

You need approval on a project, but a key sign-off person is out of town; a product is on a crash schedule, but you’re missing an important detail; you need to move ahead in a process, but company rules cause delays.

“What you need is a workaround,” insists author and Huffington Post columnist Russell Bishop in his book, “Workarounds That Work.”

An expert in personal and organization transformation, Bishop explains that the art of the workaround is a method for accomplishing a task or goal when the normal process isn’t producing the desired results.

“Workarounds help you break through the tasks and systems that keep you from the important stuff. They even help you bring lasting change to your organization by doing away with frustrating institutional inefficiencies once and for all,” he insists.

Of course, workarounds aren’t only about getting things done.

“They’re about getting the right things done. To ratchet up productivity, your organization needs someone who will ask the big questions.”

Consider the following:

  • How can our systems ― from operational infrastructures to management processes―be more efficient and effective?
  • Do we make the most of our talent?
  • Do our teams work in isolation when collaboration would be more useful?
  • Are we wasting time, placing blame, and fighting fires when we could instead be fixing problems?
  • Is our direction clear, aligned, and focused?
  • Are you ready to be that person ― the one who gets things done, no matter what?

Workaround Questions

Bishop points out that workarounds can vary from the rudimentary and tactical to the complex and strategic.

“That’s why even at the most basic levels, it’s important to keep in mind what your intention is in coming up with the workaround,” he says in chapter three of this 17-chapter, 238-page hardback. “Determining what the issue is and why it matters needs to come before charting what you can do and how you can make it happen.”

He asks us to answer 15 questions that build on the core focus areas of control and influence.

1. What around your workplace could be improved?
2. Why does it matter (critical goals, improved performance, ability to produce results, etc.)?
3. Who cares about this other than you?
4. What could you do to make a difference that requires no one’s permission other than your own?
5. What impact could taking that action have on the situation?
6. What impact would taking that action have on how you perform your job?
7. What impact would taking that action have on someone else?
8. How would the person notice?
9. If you improve what you can on your own, what else could be improved if you had permission, approval, cooperation, or support?
10. Who would need to be on board?
11. Why would it matter to them? To their management? To the organization?
12. how would their own jobs or experience of their jobs improve if they took action?
13. How does having taken your own independent action help them take theirs?
14. How can you support them in the process?
15. How would taking this approach to improvement help you better respond to customers, suppliers, or competitors?

For more information on this book, and all of Russell Bishop’s work, click here: russellbishop.com.


What people are saying about “Workarounds that Work”

“With the variety of challenges leaders face every day, Russell Bishop has hit on an amazingly simple and highly effective solution: the ‘workaround.’ This is a brilliant approach to facing day-to-day business challenges, and it works!” ― Marshall Goldsmith, world-renowned executive coach and author of the New York Times bestsellers Mojo and What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

“If you want to succeed big, there is no substitute for sticking your neck out. Russell Bishop shows how to do it without getting your head chopped off. Workarounds That Work offers practical, down-to-earth advice on overcoming obstacles on the job―both big and small. It’s a must-read for anyone trying to navigate the bumpy road of the modern workplace.” ― Arianna Huffington, cofounder and editor-in-chief, the Huffington Post

“Workarounds That Work tackles one problem area after another, busting myths and giving practical advice along the way.” ― Dave Logan, professor at the Marshall School of Business at USC and bestselling coauthor of Tribal Leadership

“Workarounds That Work goes where none of the other productivity books go―into the messy, cky, hard-to-control stuff that we all face every single day. You’ll finish this book with a fresh ake on how to think about productivity and at least a half-dozen new ways to get things done.” ― Les McKeown, Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author of Predictable Success

“Today’s relentless demands of work require a new model of how we get things done. Workarounds that Work envisions work as a continuous stream of free-flowing accomplishments instead of the headaches, inefficiencies, and stresses we associate with work today. You’ll never experience red tape again.” ― Tony Schwartz, CEO, The Energy Project, and bestselling author of The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working

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