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The Difference Between Good and Great Work

One of the ways that I've mixed up performance reviews this year for my team members is to recommend a book for summer reading.  For most, this year's book is Michael Bungay Stanier's Do More Great Work.

If you're not familiar with Stanier's work, he happens to be a friend of David Allen and has as his homebase Box of Crayons, a creative group that helps folks do less good work and more spectacular work.

Stanier describes three types of work: bad, good and great. Bad work is that which is demeaning.  Good work is like emptying our your inbox- it's very important but at the end of the day, may not determine the difference between being effective and doing what Stanier calls "being lit up".  While good work is better than bad work it can become a default level of "ok" which could crowd out truly great work.

It's great work that ultimately stretches us and gets the most out of us.  A unique project, a fear conquered, a moment of true creativity, a conversation that is meaningful- each of these (and obviously much more) could be considered great work.  Very subjective here and that's the point.

Marcus Buckingham talks about this kind of valuable labor as being "strength-based".  It's that which you might look forward to, lose yourself in and cherish after the fact.

Which projects can be considered GREAT this week?  When you emerge next weekend, which will you look back on and cherish for their deep value?


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