A Bias for Action: How Effective Managers Harness Their Willpower, Achieve Results, and Stop Wasting Time

  • 3h 51m
  • Heike Bruch, Sumantra Ghoshal
  • Harvard Business Press
  • 2004

What makes real leaders truly effective?

The answer is deceptively simple: willpower. If you think you have it, then think again, because you’re probably among the 90 percent of managers who don’t. After all, when was the last time you actually created real value for your company? Can you even remember? Have you had chances to make a difference but found yourself floundering, or did you give up as soon as you hit a wall? Do you find yourself attending regular run-of-the-mill meetings or doing routine paperwork all the time?

Let’s face it: Only 10 percent of managers take decisive steps to achieve important goals. The rest of us are distracted all the time, paralyzed by insecurity, or emotionally detached. We simply cannot harness our own willpower, and so we fail to follow through as we should. Why? This book addresses that question and more:

What differentiates the 10 percent of managers who take purposeful action from the 90 percent who don’t How can you leap from the unproductive majority into the highly productive minority?

How can you improve your personal capacity for taking action? How can you use your time and energy to do what counts? How can you replace your counterproductive tendencies with task-oriented behaviors?

As a leader, what can you do to help your employees take purposeful action? What kind of organization must you build? How can you embed a bias for action into your business unit’s or your whole company’s values and culture?

Through a range of real-life stories and in-depth assessments, this book will help you to identify what works against you every day and what you can to overcome it. Nothing—especially not you—should come between you and your goals. A Bias for Action will help you find your willpower and develop a way to use it.

Stop trying Start doing. Read this book.

About the Authors

Heike Bruch is a Professor of Leadership at the University of St. Gallen (Switzerland).

Sumantra Ghoshal is Professor of Strategic and International Management at London Business School and coauthor of Managing Across Borders (HBS Press, 1998).

In this Book

  • A Bias for Action—How Effective Managers Harness Their Willpower, Achieve Results, and Stop Wasting Time
  • Management Is the Art of Doing and Getting Done
  • Distinguishing Purposeful Action from Active Nonaction
  • Marshaling Energy and Developing Focus
  • Moving Beyond Motivation to Willpower
  • Crossing the Rubicon
  • Overcoming the Three Traps of Nonaction
  • Developing Purposeful Managers—The Organization’s Responsibility
  • Unleashing Organizational Energy for Collective Action
  • Freeing Your People to Act—A Mandate for Leaders
  • Notes