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By Bill Catlette and Richard Hadden
May 2007

Just moments ago (literally), we signed off on the final edit of page proofs for our new book, Contented Cows Moove Faster, which was already at 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 (, and let us know how many 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. Enjoy!

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 looks like.

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 called "empowered"?

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.

Richard Hadden and Bill Catlette
Contented Cow Partners, LLC

phone: 904-720-0870
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