‘Thriving in the Workplace’ offers great tips for success on the job

“7 books in 1” is the tag line for Thriving in the Workplace All-in One for Dummies (Wiley Publishing Inc.) — a whopper of a book shipped to me recently for review.

This tome does really pack seven books (mini-books if you will) within its covers, but all have a single underlying theme — achieving success and satisfaction at your job.

A cursory review of the table of contents, authors line-up, and introduction suggested to me that Thriving in the Workplace is different from most books in this genre that I’ve read — not only because of its impressive (some would say intimidating) length of 667 pages.

The book is lengthy without being longwinded.  While it packs an enormous amount of material into a single volume, everything is chunked down (Dummies style) and organized for easy reading … and application.

Each mini-book covers a separate topic related to success on the job, so you can hone in on whatever’s most relevant to your situation — whether its strategies for dealing with a workplace problem you’re currently experiencing, or tips on cultivating a skill you lack or want to develop further.  

I delved right into the section on time management. As you can guess I have challenges in this area.

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No less than 13 authors have contributed to this magnum opus, most recognized experts in fields such as leadership, time management, stress management, sales, conflict resolution, etiquette, mentoring, education and training, public speaking, e-learning, success through motivation – and much more.

In this piece I won’t do a deep dive into the volume’s contents, but will briefly describe the focus of each of the seven mini-books, so you can decide for yourself if the material is relevant to your situation and needs.

Thriving in the Workplace – as its title suggests – is targeted at folk who are currently employed. So if you’ve just been laid off, or are between jobs this book (or most of it, at least) may not be relevant to your situation.

Anyone with a job, however, regardless of their age, where they work, and what they do could benefit from reading it.   

There are great tips information workers can use immediately to boost their value to the company, optimize their use of time and resources, manage better — up, down and laterally (i.e. their bosses, reports and co-workers), avoid burnout – and deepen their job satisfaction.

By the way, although these are separate books, their themes are closely interrelated — so occasionally you may find some ideas and themes repeated. But that’s actually an advantage as it reinforces key messages in different ways… [Next Page]

Let’s get down to brass tacks and describe the focus of each mini-book.

Book 1 – Key Business Skills to Enhance Your Chance of Success.
The central message of this book is that success leaves clues — successful people do certain things on a consistent basis that get them the results they want. For instance, they are completely clear about what it is they want.

They set clear goals, chunk them down to achievable steps, take massive action, and measure their progress on a consistent basis. In the workplace context, this also involves promoting the goals of the team, and knowing how to do that.

Book II – Getting organized and managing your time
Effective time-management is crucial today, when resource-crunched companies are asking staff to accomplish more with less. What’s a person with so much work, and such little time to do?

The solution of course is to get organized and make the best use of the resources you have. That’s easier said than done.

This segment provides very specific strategies to help you gain or regain control over your work by prioritizing, and managing your time better. It also shows you how to handle the many unplanned interruptions to our work.   

The book has a fairly lengthy chapter on how to speed up, streamline and simplify your tasks with technology.

It discusses the benefits of electronic calendars and portable planners, provides useful tips on how to organize files on your computer, handle e-mail, manage contact information with a CRM program and more.

Book III – Taking Charge of What You Can
You’ve probably heard the oft-quoted Serenity Prayer: “May I gain the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.” Book III helps you to apply this message to your job situation.

It points out areas where small changes you make would have a big impact on your health, satisfaction levels, self-esteem, and energy.  In addition it has great suggestions for improving the quality of your decisions, managing meetings, delegating and more… [Next Page]

Book IV – Get to the @#% Point

Ineffective communication often holds back talented and hardworking workers from being recognized and rewarded.   It’s a problem many tech workers, including senior IT managers, face today.

All too often CIOs lament their inability to communicate the value of projects to business exectuives, and so fail to get the funding and support they need for projects.

“Every time you screw up, you come off as less polished and less prepared,” says Peter Kretzman, an IT consultant and former CIO and CTO. “When you descend into jargon or ‘the-sky-is-falling,’ you come across as not as capable, and that does damage to your career and to your department. It makes management think, ‘We need to get someone in here who can talk to us and let us know what’s really going on.'”

Such communication lapses could be avoided by adopting some strategies outlined in this book.

Book V – Navigating Tricky Workplace Relationships
Politics, to quote the old saw, is a dirty game – but it’s one that’s played heartily in every workplace. This books shows you how to navigate tricky office politics deal with conflict, and resolve ethical dilemmas effectively.

Book VI – Managing stress
Most “workplace success” type books have the mandatory chapter on stress management, and this one is no exception. It has a good 73 pages devoted to the topic.

This book sets out by exploring the role defective thinking plays in triggering stress and shows you how by making changes in way you read and respond to situations you can immediately decrease your stress levels.

Book VIIGoing ahead to get ahead

This book is about ongoing education and training, and a good chunk of it is dedicated to the value of online programs and courses.

Much of the material here is generic. That’s understandable as it’s difficult to suggest online courses that would meet the situation of every reader.

There are some useful nuggets of information, though, on how to recognize whether an online program is accredited or not, identifying types of accreditation, and other factors that contribute to an institution’s credibility.

In conclusion, this is a worthy first read.  It’s also a handy volume to refer to when you want quick tips and strategies on handling specific workplace challenges, or are eager to optimize your performance in a particular area – such as communications, time management or effective presentations.

The price of Thriving in the Workplace on Chapters-Indigo online is $23.75, a great deal considering how much is packed into the book.

All in all — a good buy.

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