What is the Fourth Industrial Revolution and Why it Matters to Workers

Understanding the historical context is the first step

autonomous vehicle

Every January, some of the most powerful and influential leaders in the world descend upon the Alpine resort town of Davos, Switzerland, not to ski the steep, powdery slopes, but to discuss the most urgent, challenging and important issues facing the world today.

In 2016, this World Economic Forum, as it’s called, managed to do something which I think is remarkable—they gave a formal name to the monumental scientific, technological and work-life upheaval that we’re all experiencing now, and which has only begun to disrupt our lives.

They call it The Fourth Industrial Revolution.

And the conclusions they’ve reached remind me of Joe Pantoliano’s character “Cypher” in the movie, The Matrix, when he says:

Success Depends on What You Do, Not Talent

Here are 9 Things Successful People Do Differently

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Whether you choose to define success in broad terms (i.e. “success in life”) or in more specific contextual terms (e.g. success in completing a project or achieving a goal) it is helpful to understand what behaviors or course of action can improve your chances of reaching the level of success you desire.

Endless volumes have been written about this ever-pressing question—How can I achieve success? But few manage to be as straightforward, accessible and concise as Heidi Halvorson’s, 9 Things Successful People Do Differently.

In only 112 short pages, Halvorson, a motivational psychologist, manages to lay out 9 actionable ideas gleaned from the scientific literature of success. After having scoured decades of research, she gives us the strategies that successful people use to catapult their performance far above the average. “In the end,” she states, “not only will you have gained some insight into all the things you have been doing right all along, but you’ll be able to identify the mistakes that have derailed you. More importantly, you’ll be able to use that knowledge to your advantage from now on.”

This book is a fantastic little manual, which I encourage you to read.

Personally, I’ve taken Halvorson’s framework and arranged it into 3 essential prescriptions: (1) “Be a Realistic Optmist” (2) Get Super-Specific and (3) Focus on Continuous Improvement

Here’s a brief description of each:

What Wildly Important Goal Are You Trying to Achieve?

The 4 Disciplines of Execution Keep You Focused On What Matters

The 4 Disciplines of Execution—Best business books

I read a lot of books each year and I usually learn something from all of them, but only a select few make it into what I call my Success Library—books so powerful that they deeply inform my ideas about how to be successful in work and in life. The 4 Disciplines of Execution: Achieving Your Wildly Important Goals by Chris McChesney, Sean Covey and Jim Huling is one such book.

Do you have a personal or professional goal (or two) that you would desperately like to achieve? Something that you’re done talking about; done dreaming about; done making excuses about; something that you’re committed to turning into reality as quickly as possible?

Maybe you want to take that trip to Europe, lose 20 lbs, make the President’s Club, start a business or write that book?!

Or maybe you’re the manager or leader of a team that’s underperforming and it’s your job to help them get back on track?

If so, this book has many of the answers you’re looking for.

Of course, if you want to really master the 4 disciplines, you’ll have to buy the book, read it and practice it. It’s full of real world examples of how organizations have applied this methodology and achieved great results.

Today, I just want to briefly review what each of these disciplines entails, along with some key takeaways…

To Achieve Better Results—Ask A More Beautiful Question

As answers become commoditized, curiosity and inquiry are vital

Ask More Questions

Not too long ago, the people who had all the answers had all the power, but in a connected world awash in petabytes of data, answers are becoming commodities, and the people who know how to ask more beautiful questions will carry the day.

Warren Berger’s 2014 book, A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas, is a good place to start if you want to understand why questioning has become so critical in today’s economy. This book is a primer on how to get started crafting questions that can help you get ahead in your career, and in life.

After all, as Case Western professor of Social Entrepreneurship, David Cooperrider states in the book:

How to be Smarter Faster Better at Work and Life

Genuine Productivity Hinges on Improving Your Decision-making Ability

Smarter Faster Better by Charles Duhigg Best Business Books 2

When I first read the subtitle of Charles Duhigg’s new book, Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business, I was pretty skeptical—do we really need another productivity book? Hasn’t everything about productivity already been said or written about a thousand times before? What new insights could this gifted storyteller possibly bring to the table?

Plenty, it turns out.

From startling neurological discoveries about what motivates us, to how the Marine Corps prepares its recruits for the uncertainty of war; from how Google and Saturday Night Live create effective teams, to the implications of the tragic demise of Air France Flight 447; there are productivity insights galore in Duhigg’s carefully woven tapestry of riveting stories.

Join My Outsight Business Book Club

Get Smarter, Faster and Better Every Day by Learning with Others

Outsight Business Book Club—Learning from the world's best business books

Are you a forward-looking executive who wants to stay on the cutting-edge of current thinking about business, productivity, and how to create better results?

Are you a manager seeking to take your team to a higher level of achievement and performance?

Are you an ambitious individual who wants to continue learning and growing,  in order to stay competitive in today’s fierce job market?

If you answered yes to any of the above, my new Outsight Business Book Club may interest you. And the best news is that this unique opportunity is FREE for all my readers.

Give it a try!

Why You Should Start a Book Club at Work

4 Reasons Why Book Clubs are Good for People and Organizations

Warby Parker sells eyeglasses and loves books

The team at Warby Parker isn’t just obsessed with revolutionizing the eyewear industry, they’re also obsessed with books.

In a world where the vast majority of companies don’t even offer a single book club to their employees, the team of about 300 people over at Warby Parker, offers more than 10.

And if you were to step into their spacious flagship store in Lower Manhattan, you’ll see something that looks more like a book store and less like an eyewear boutique.

Even their name references their passion for the written word.

“Warby Parker” is an amalgam of the names of two characters found in the personal journals of Jack Kerouac—Zagg Parker and Warby Pepper.

So why such a strong devotion to books?

What is it about books and book clubs that appeals to this disruptive innovator?

“At Warby Parker, we’re constantly looking to find new ways to both challenge and inspire our employees,” said Neil Blumenthal, one of the company’s co-founders, in a 2014 interview with Fast Company.

“One of the most obvious, but often overlooked, ways is simply to pick up a book and read.”

Yes, picking up a book and reading it on your own may be a great individual investment of time and effort but if you were to take that experience and share it with your co-workers, it could be transformative.

Starting a book club at work not only helps you, it’s beneficial for everyone in the organization.

Here are 4 reasons why you should consider starting one at your company:

Power: Why Some People Have It and Others Don’t

Key takeaways from one of the best business books you'll ever read

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There’s a game of thrones afoot in every organization, whether we like it or not.

And we’re either in the game, exercising some degree of agency and control over what happens to us, or we’re on the sidelines, powerless to impact the course of events, and at the mercy of those with the power to call the shots.

Based on those hard facts, every person has a choice to make.

In, Power: Why Some People Have it and Others Don’t, Stanford University Professor, Jeffrey Pfeffer, mounts a vigorous case for why, and how, we should choose to forge a path to power.

Power is a must-read for anyone who labors in an organization.

And though it’s not perfect, it’s one of the best business books you’ll ever read.

To inspire you to explore further, here are some key takeaways from the book:

Employee Engagement Depends on Leaders Modeling the Way

Start With these 4 Steps To Lead By Example and Build Engagement

Leaders Model the Way

As a kid I used to LOVE watching Kung-Fu movies. You know, the ones with the cartoony stunt work, hilariously bad translations and horrible voice-overs? Somehow in these movies the video track always failed to match the audio.

Makes me wonder…is that how we sound to our employees when we make proclamations and then act in ways that run counter to what we just said? What message are we sending to our people?

That’s why I propose that the first rule of (employee) engagement should be this: above all else, be clear. And the best way to be clear is to make sure your video matches your audio. In other words, make sure that what you say is backed up 100% by what you do, at work.

Call it leading by example or modeling the way.

Here are 4 steps you can take to make that happen.

Managers Must Develop and Grow Their People

4 Ways to Increase Engagement through Growth & Learning

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I’ll be honest, I seriously dislike hearing managers or executives talk about people in terms of “human resources” or “human capital”.

I don’t think they understand that hitherto, in the course of human endeavors, “resources” and “capital” have been things that tend to be “used up” or “depleted”. And that’s a horrible way to think about the people in an organization—like machines that you operate, break, repair (and repeat) until they arrive at the final cycle of their operational life. Is it any wonder that for more than a century many managers were focused on what they could get out of people instead of what they could put in?

Some are still playing that game today, how else can we explain Gallup’s figure of 70% non-engagement at work?

That simply won’t do.

Today, your job is to develop your “human talent” so that you can grow together.

And how will we measure your success on this front?