Courtesy of Technotraps
Beleaguered employees can now leverage on a “cheat code” to streamline work and increase their productivity – without getting into trouble.
With the subtitle “Breaking Stupid Rules For Smart Results”, Hacking Work by Bill Jensen and Josh Klein encourages workers of all stripes to utilise “benevolent” hacking to get their jobs done more effectively and efficiently.
Unlike “Black Hat” hackers that attack company systems for profit and fun, benevolent hackers are ethical hackers. They are the ones who work around their own company policies, systems and processes to improve them, sometimes at their own personal expense.
Filled with a mixture of the “whys”, “whats”, “hows” and “whens” of corporate work arounds (with lots more useful stuff their well-appointed website here), Hacking Work encouraged readers to devise short-cuts that cuts the corporate crap present in most organisations.
According to the book, the tools and processes instituted in companies are often done in a top-down, corporate-centred fashion (as opposed to being user-centred). Unwittingly, they often inflict much grief on employees.
(I am sure all of you can attest to this – especially if you’ve spent any amount of time working in a big bureaucratic organisation.)
The solution is that you need to “break stupid rules for smart results”.
To do so, you should consider the two different types of hacks:
Collectively, these workarounds circumvent bloated bureaucracies, antiquated and archaic systems, and dumb processes that “make our lives hell”.
According to the book, the top five hacks that we should at our workplaces are as follows:
Throughout the book, you’ll read of examples of individuals who have saved themselves (and their organisations) by bypassing the usual traditional approaches.
An example was Matt. A middle manager working in a science museum, Matt used unauthorised tools like Google calendar for scheduling, Flickr for sending photos, wikis for collaboration and a self-made YouTube video for fundraising.
These worked far better than what his corporate office could dish out. They also made Matt a star – well perhaps a mini one – in his organisation.
The most insightful chapter of the book titled “Dear Boss…” provided five big ideas for bosses to “save you from yourself”. Yes, you’ve read that right.
What are these impudent ideas?
Towards the end, the book turned philosophical and explained that it’s all really about “Power, Control and Risk”.
In a hacker’s world, these traditional corporate rules need to be overhauled. They should be skewed in favour of the employee as opposed to the executive or company.
Sacred cows and taboos would also need to be broken. They should allow any individual in the corporate food chain to find it easy to do great work, regardless of his or her position in the pecking order.
At times forceful and at times humourous, Hacking Work sounded a loud clarion call. It encouraged us to be bold in embracing workarounds to overcome processes which are broken in the corporate workplace.
While many of the book’s examples were IT-related, I felt that its principles applied equally to geeks and non-geeks alike. And that means you too.