Michael Bungay Stanier on Do More Great Work, Part 4

In the book, Do More Great Work.: Stop the Busywork, and Start the Work that Matters, Michael Bungay Stanier shares his inspiration and techniques to help us do more work that matters.

These are some of my favorite takeaways from reading the book.

Map 3 What Are You Like at Your Best?

Gaining insight into who we are – and who we are not – is a powerful act. Michael suggests that we ask ourselves the following questions:

  1. Remember a time when we were at our very best.
  2. Write down twenty words that evoke how we were at this time.
  3. Think of another time when we were similarly rocking along, another moment when we felt we were at our best and most ourselves.
  4. Now narrow that list down to the ten words that seem the most powerful and on-target.
  5. See if we can amp up our words.
  6. Decide upon our final list of ten words and write them down in the left-hand column.
  7. It is time for the second part of the exercise.
  8. Pick one word in the left-hand column we have already completed. Find a term that describes the OK-but-not-so-great behavior we recognize as accurate.
  9. Just as we did with the words in the first column, play around and tweak these words. The goal is to find the most powerful and accurate way to describe our state of being when we are not at our best.

From the above exercise, we attempt to gain insights.

  1. One way to do Great Work is to figure out how we behave when we are doing Great Work and start to behave like that as often as possible.
  2. If we are feeling that we are not quite being our best selves now, scan the right-hand column and try to shift our behavior to the left column.

To further strengthen our behaviors, Michael suggested that we do the following:

  1. Once we have a set of words that works for us, consider putting it somewhere we can see it daily.
  2. Pick one of the word pairs and give it our attention for a day or a week.
  3. Keep working with our list.