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„The Art of Being Indispensable at Work“ by Bruce Tulgan – A HBR Press Book Review

Art of being invaluable at work – book summary

In today‘s fiercely competitive work environments, shining in the job is critical. To stay ahead in the game, we must go better – or out. The Covid-19 crisis has exacerbated the internal competition between employees for fewer career opportunities – in almost every organization. Thus, „The Art of Being Indispensable at Work“ could not come at a better time.
Bruce Tulgan is a leading global consultant – mostly in modern management and organizational issues. He comes with a wealth of practical experience – and this becomes quickly transparent in the book. His company‘s name says a lot: Rainmaker Thinking Inc. I also must admit that his online presence is quite extensive – as well as his credentials.
So, is „The Art of Being Indispensable at Work“ worth reading?
First of all, this book is definitely a different animal in the Harvard Business Review Press zoo. Most of the other HBR press books focus on strategic and well researched topics, bringing heavy academic weaponry to the field of debates. Bruce Tulgan comes from a different angle – which makes the book really easy to read: he starts low and aims high. „The Art of Being Indispensable at Work“ manages to convey really with simple (but powerful) concepts very practical messages. It basically means that the book is easy to read and implement – from the very first page. Or at least this is how I found it…

One of my favorite chapters in the book looks at the power of saying no. Bruce Tulgan is not the first to underline this concept – but he does it in a really different manner. He uses a financial concept very dear to my 💓 – the cost of opportunity. The world is full of opportunities that can be pursued – but the amount at our disposal of the is limited. This means that pursuing every opportunity carries a cost – about what else you could have attained during the same amount of time. And here Tulgan lands really hard – you have to be really conscious about the decisions you take with regards to opportunities you accept.
The hard truth is that you uncover a good or bad decision by doing your due diligence. And this requires work – work which will eventually pay off on better quality decisions. These well researched decisions will actually create a virtuous circle by saving you time – and increase your influence over time.
“When to say no and how to say yes” represents only a chapter from this great read. Bruce Tulgan also looks at:
– how to counter the over-commitment syndrome,
– how you can really calculate your influence,
– how to lead from whatever position you might have in the organization,
– working smart and be a real finisher,
And other interesting topics.
As mentioned before, the author has a strong and nice touch as a conference speaker. Even more, he was often offering his advice via various channels to various audiences, which means that his experience in communication was tested again and again. „The Art of Being Indispensable at Work“ comes (as mentioned in the beginning) at a very good moment, packed with valuable experiences.

Title: „The Art of Being Indispensable at Work“
Author: Bruce Tulgan
Publishing House: Harvard Business Review Press
Publication date: July 2020

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