Just moments ago (literally), we signed off on the final
edit of page proofs for our new book,
Contented Cows Moove Faster, which was
the printing plant
in North Carolina awaiting the green light. Having
worked on this project for better than three years
(nearly non-stop for the last couple of months), it feels
great to know that the design, writing, and editing are
complete, and that in a few short weeks, we'll have a
new arrival in the barn.
We feel REALLY good about this book, and believe
that readers will find the combination of useful, highly
prescriptive content, with an easy-to-read style both
enjoyable and informative. Contented Cows Moove
Faster offers managers the most comprehensive
insight into employee effort, specifically Discretionary
Effort (or Oomph! as we call it) available anywhere.
Describing in detail where that extra morsel of
employee effort comes from, and what managerial
behaviors turn it on (or off), the book is written for
leaders at all levels.
Consistent with a promise made recently, we're
making the book available on a pre-release basis
exclusively to Fresh Milk subscribers until May 25, for
$18 (a 28% discount on the $24.95 retail price).
Quantity discounts are available for purchases of 20 or
more copies, and as always, we're happy to
personalize books at no charge.
To order, simply send us an Email (
Betty@ContentedCows.com), and let us know
copies you'd like, and where you will want them
shipped. That's it. You needn't send any money
now. Don't use the form on the new book's page on
our website - that's for non-subscribers, and doesn't
offer the same discount we're offering to subscribers.
When the books are received (around June 1), we'll
send you a confirming Email to let you know they are
on the way to you, and how to make payment.
In the meantime, as a bit of a shameless tease, we've
included below the book's final chapter. It provides a
taste of the 223 pages that precede it, pages we think
you and your management team will want to read.
Chapter 23 - Oomph! On
It remains to be seen what will become of the social
contract in the workplace in the years ahead;
whether "the deal" continues to morph toward Survivor-
type alliances and individualism, or the elements of
loyalty, teamwork, and trust somehow get reintroduced
into the mix. No one knows.
Regardless, people will still be people, complete with
strengths, weaknesses, foibles, aspirations, and an
incredible reserve of emotional energy they can tap
into when and where they want, for reasons of their
own choosing. To the degree that humans remain a
vital cog in the workplace, our effort, particularly the
discretionary component, will continue to matter-a lot.
For the most part, the underpinnings of motivation-
the respective drivers and restrainers-will not
change. People will maintain a clear preference for
leaders of good character, those who reliably choose
to do the right thing, even when it runs counter to their
own selfish interests.
People will still want to hear the truth, even when it
stings, and to be guided by those who are comfortable
in their own skin. They will always want to associate
with winners, understanding that the road to winning
is a toll road.
They will choose optimists and be quick to follow
those who can articulate in clear, compelling fashion
what the journey is about and what the path forward
They will expend their discretionary capacity more
liberally when the system supports and rewards
(rather than frustrates) it, and when it clearly matters.
There is no guarantee that those we've come to count
on as Extra Milers will continue in that vein. It is, after
all, a day-by-day, moment-by-moment decision
whether to Oomph! or ugh. One thing is certain-if we
take it for granted, it will perish. Unfortunately, if and
when that happens, we likely won't even notice until it
is simply too late.
The more important issue is you. Will you be
earning the benefit of the doubt, the benefit of the extra
capacity of the people on your team? Without being
overly dramatic, can you really expect to succeed and
survive without it?
If you plan to see that extra Oomph!, what steps must
you begin taking now in order to warrant its
expenditure by those around you?
Should you be working on your time management,
specifically that part that makes your teammates a
greater priority in your life? What about your
standards? Have you set the bar high enough for
yourself and for those who would join you?
Is there perhaps some long-unfinished business that
involves having a difficult conversation with someone
in which you finally summon the courage to tell him
that he must either change or leave?
Is the level of trust on your team where it should be? Is
it truly at a level (a la Cirque du Soleil) where people
would trust one another with their lives? Do your folks
really have the discretionary authority to do their work,
or are you just playing the cruel word game
Do you truly care about the people on your team? How
do you know you care? Do you listen, really listen to
them? Do you make sure that no one abuses or
humiliates them? Do you see to it that they don't have
to pay for your mistakes? Do you care enough to tell
them the truth? Do you show up when they are having
a tough time?
Do you spend time daily fixing internal systemic
issues so your team doesn't have to swim with an
anchor? Are you fair or do you chicken out and
slavishly go for consistency by hiding behind policies
and the decisions of others?
Our fervent hope is that, having been reminded of the
benefits and realities of this thing called discretionary
effort, you will Commit-with a capital "C"-to actions
that will make it a greater presence in your life. If you
do, don't wait, because time is not your friend.
Good luck, Godspeed, and thank you.