On January 31, 2018, I School professor and author Morten Hansen released a new book: Great at Work: How Top Performers Do Less, Work Better, and Achieve More. The book is the culmination of a ground-breaking five year research study that seeked to determine how to produce great work.
Why do some people perform better at work than others?
Morten Hansen uncovers the answers in the “Seven Work Smarter Practices” detailed in Great at Work. Over five years, Hanson and his team studied 5,000 managers and employees, and confronted the “work harder” mythology. He exposes some surprising findings, including that after 50 hours of work per week, performance begins to plateau, then decline. The top performers work “smarter,” rather than harder. He also found that the intersection of passion and a strong sense of purpose at work produces the greatest productivity and performance.
In Great at Work, Hansen catalogs the most actionable insights from his research to show how one can work smarter by selecting a few activities and applying intense targeted effort, and highlights stories of individuals from all walks of life, from a high school principal to a rural Indian farmer who have adopted these practices. The seven practices detailed in the book can be applied by anyone looking to maximize their time and performance.
Each chapter contains questions and key insights allowing the reader to assess her own performance and determine her work strengths, as well as weaknesses. Once the reader understands her own individual style, there are mini-quizzes, questionnaires, and a strategy to become a more productive worker.
“To work smart means to maximize the value of your work by selecting a few activities and applying intense targeted effort,” Hanson says. The first smart practice is: “do less, then obsess.”
About Professor Hansen
Morten Hansen is a management professor at the School of Information. He teaches the course Info 225: Managing in Information-Intensive Companies. The course covers universal management principles, paying particular attention to management issues that are highly relevant in information-intensive settings, such as information technology industries.
Prior to joining the I School, Hansen was a professor at Harvard Business School and INSEAD (France). He holds a Ph.D. from Stanford Business School, where he was a Fulbright scholar. Hansen’s academic research has won several prestigious awards, and he is ranked one of the world’s most influential management thinkers by Thinkers50. Professor Hansen was also a manager at the Boston Consulting Group, where he advised corporate clients worldwide. He continues to travel the world to give keynotes and help companies and people become great at work.