This book is addressed to either the creative, achieving
employee, or the management of a firm which wants to become
doer, or achiever, friendly. Doers, says Tom Jones, may
not call attention to themselves but tend to out-perform
others or use innovative strategies and cross-departmental
team-building. Yet this does not always sit well with
management, who don't feel they have this person under
control... thus the DOER'S DILEMMA is often whether to
conform or leave.
I'm self-employed but have sat on various committees and
this could be valuable reading for committee members.
Sometimes getting a great new idea isn't welcomed, just
because 'we have always done it this way' or 'that will
upset someone else'. The creative mind can get fed up and
depart. Who is the loser if they leave, taking their
energy, motivation and good ideas?
Doers: form teams across departmental boundaries
Motivate those around them
Operate well with little need for direction or supervision
Accept challenging, unpopular assignments
Seek opportunities to grow personally and professionally.
Focusing on commercial firms, Jones explains that working
well with others is more important to higher management
than getting along personally. With staff changing
frequently and no time to get to know anyone, it is better
to concentrate on the job in hand than on whether a new
team mate comes across as abrasive. Other types difficult
to work with are whiners, slackers, misfits and loners.
Jones proposes adopting tenets of teambuilding, including a
neutral attitude, common purpose and productive
communication. You will accomplish more by working together
than by working alone. You may not trust your team mate,
but you should agree to disagree. Jones then gives
examples of people who were promoted to their level of
incompetence, just to show that superiors can be problems
Communicating negative information without blame is
addressed, as research on employee turnover shows that
doers are the first to leave a stressful workplace. Some of
the information does seem simplistic, such as an
organisational chart advising us to identify the goal, then
identify tasks required to achieve it. On the other hand
this gives an opportunity to hand out specific tasks and
give team members a date for reports. Self-employed persons
may also find it useful to keep them on target, not running
down one alley and forgetting that there are other tasks to
accomplish too. Graduates have been taught in systems which
punish collaboration, so some people find it hard to work
on a team. (I can add that Scouting and Guiding teach
teamwork very well.) Cliques however are self-serving and
unproductive. Other topics include performance reviews,
change and workplace dysfunction.
This book is a handy length at under a hundred pages and it
includes a 'toolbox' of patterns. These have daunting
titles such as 'Establishing the Upward Voice' but they all
relate to the topics in the previous chapters so the user
can pick one or two to start. A team-building and training
day might well take a leaf out of Tom Jones's book, and
otherwise the DOER'S DILEMMA might be easier if they make
allowances for those around them and communicate in
positive ways. The subtitle after all is 'Why achievers
suffer and what to do about it' - and he doesn't just mean
to write a memo of complaint.
If your achievements are unappreciated, unrecognized or
undervalued, this book will help you understand why that
happens and show you how to avoid it in the future.
This book also champions the advantages of becoming a doer-
friendly organization by introducing new ways of activating
the full potential of those who get things done.
Recognizing, rewarding, and retaining doers as peer coaches,
problem solvers, and internal planners, coupled with the
other performance enhancing roles outlined in this book,
will raise the overall productivity of any organization that
is savvy enough to do so.