Sunday, June 28, 2009

Act As If It Were Impossible to Fail, The Employee Handbook That Your Employer Hasn’t Given

Book Review

Act As If It Were Impossible to Fail, The Employee Handbook That Your Employer Hasn’t Given
Author: Joe Lavelle
ISBN: 9781439240724
Publisher: Booksurge, July 2009
Link to purchase:
Reviewer: Yvonne Perry (5/09)

Understanding Your Role in Career Success

I’ve always been driven to succeed and achieve. I don’t know if it comes from my upbringing or if I learned it at school, or it if is in-born, but I am task-driven and love marking things off my to-do list. Even when I was a stay-at-home mom, I organized my daily activities to optimize my day and make sure I accomplished everything I wanted to do while the kids were in school. However, I have not always lived with the attitude that I could “act as if it were impossible to fail.” That would surely have changed things!

In my younger years, I was afraid of failure and rejection. It kept me from being honest with myself and others because I did not want to be seen as a failure. I suppose that is why Joe Lavelle’s book, Act As If It Were Impossible to Fail, The Employee Handbook That Your Employer Hasn’t Given You, appeals so much to me.

In it, he says, “Yes, failure is a fact of life; however, you can learn to view failure as an important lesson rather than feeling disappointment and resignation.” Part of being successful is being able to recover from your mistakes and not allowing animosity, doubt, and negativity to creep in.

Joe gives pertinent examples using everyday comparisons such as how making mayonnaise is a lot like your boss’s job. You’ll have to read the book to understand what he means by that, but it makes a lot of sense.

Once I started my own business, I had to believe in myself and my abilities, or else I would have given up. Somehow, through trial and error, I kept going even when things didn’t turn out how I had hoped. Miraculously, I learned from the mistakes I made. Can that skill be taught? Yes, what I learned on the fly can be learned in Joe’s book. He teaches how to clearly define your role in your first 90 days on a job by setting clear and realistic goals. Beyond making a good first impression, a new employee should actively communicate his or her style and expectations. This could apply to anything in life—not just a career.

Have you ever heard of greenspace in an office environment? I hadn’t. When I read this in the table of contents, I thought Joe was either talking about getting some outdoor exercise in a space known as a greenway, or maybe he was referring to recycling and reusing office resources such as paper. According to Joe, greenspace consists of all the necessary tasks in the office that are not assigned to anyone specifically. He says that by taking on additional duties and responsibilities, you show leadership and determination that will improve your chances of advancing your career more quickly.

Another case Joe makes is for a better understanding of the role of human resources department and how mentoring programs and succession planning play an important role in long-term career success as well as the long-term success of a company. There’s an entire chapter on effective networking, and another chapter that defines how and why return on investment (ROI) is so important to a company and how to use it to your advantage as an employee. Communication, education, and play—yes, play!—are an important part of a successful corporate environment.

Each chapter ends with a summary that makes finding key facts easier. Each chapter also has “Act As If Success Steps” that give you examples of things you can do to apply what you read in the text. What I learned from Joe’s book is that our beliefs become our reality, and our expectations have a direct result on the outcome of any given situation.

Joe writes, “When you act as if failure were impossible, your actions make that belief a reality.” With that mantra and the lessons modeled in this book, the world—and especially corporate America—would be a much different and nicer place!

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1 comment:

Rocky said...

I share the same views. Liked your blog very much.