A Bias for Action: How Effective Managers Harness Their Willpower, Achieve Results and Stop Wasting Time.A Bias for Action: How Effective Managers Harness Their Willpower, Achieve Results and Stop Wasting Time. By Heike Bruch and Sumantra Ghoshal Sumantra Ghoshal (1948-2004) was the founding Dean of the Indian School of Business in Hyderabad, which is jointly sponsored by the Kellogg School at Northwestern University and the London Business School. . Harvard Business School Harvard Business School, officially named the Harvard Business School: George F. Baker Foundation, and also known as HBS, is one of the graduate schools of Harvard University. Press, 212 pages. $29.95.
In the eyes of authors Bruch and Ghoshal, both European professors of management, it's a rare manager who can really focus his or her full attention on the task at hand. Their research, in fact, finds that more than 90 percent of managers procrastinate pro·cras·ti·nate
v. pro·cras·ti·nat·ed, pro·cras·ti·nat·ing, pro·cras·ti·nates
To put off doing something, especially out of habitual carelessness or laziness.
v.tr. , detach emotionally and distract themselves with busywork bus·y·work
Activity, such as schoolwork or office work, meant to take up time but not necessarily yield productive results.
Noun 1. .
It's long been said that great managers, like great generals, know the terrain they're facing and the logistics required to accomplish their goals. But the authors maintain that what really works is when managers engage their own willpower through a combination of energy and focus.
They relate their message through some telling examples, like that of Gerhard Schneider, a middle manager in human resources The fancy word for "people." The human resources department within an organization, years ago known as the "personnel department," manages the administrative aspects of the employees. with Lufthansa AG. Asked to join a task force charged with making key changes designed at turning the airline around, he was told that if he succeeded, he'd probably be so unpopular that he'd have to leave the company. After mulling mulling (mul´ing),
n the final step of mixing dental amalgam; a kneading of the triturated mass to complete the amalgamation. it over, he concluded that the airline's survival was so important that he had to take that chance.
As it turned out, Schneider did succeed--largely, write Bruch and Ghoshal, because he had a rare combination of high energy and high focus that enabled him "to exhibit a strong sense of personal significance, an ability to thrive in chaos and an ability to step back and reflect." Managers like this aren't simply born, however--they can be taught to focus and "clear their negativity," they write.
A Bias for Action has a strong psychological component, exploring emotions, tendencies and expectations that managers encounter in any workplace. Strong individual examples anchor the book and help universalize u·ni·ver·sal·ize
tr.v. u·ni·ver·sal·ized, u·ni·ver·sal·iz·ing, u·ni·ver·sal·iz·es
To make universal; generalize.
u its important messages, including a final section offering guidelines for leaders to inspire a bias for action with their own managers.