Great at Work | Morten T. Hansen

Summary of: Great at Work: How Top Performers Do Less, Work Better, and Achieve More
By: Morten T. Hansen


Dive into the world of Morten T. Hansen’s ‘Great at Work’ and discover the secret to working smarter, not harder. Hansen’s extensive research involving 5,000 managers and employees unveils seven powerful performance principles that leading professionals employ. This book summary will guide you through the remarkable findings, showing how top performers manage to achieve more without working longer hours. Learn to eliminate unimportant tasks, prioritize activities based on value, and unceasingly upgrade your skills. Along the way, Hansen emphasizes the importance of passion and purpose in one’s work, P-squared, as a vital ingredient to success.

Working Smarter, Not Harder

In “Great at Work,” Morten T. Hansen employs massive research of 5,000 managers and employees to distill seven top-performance principles for working smarter. He discovered that being great at work requires passion and purpose and living well. The top performers don’t work longer hours, but make each hour count by focusing on essential tasks. Hansen recognizes the difficulty of putting these principles into practice in modern business, but with a clear and engaging writing style, Hansen provides an accessible guide encouraging readers to work smarter, not harder.

Focus on Priorities

In “Great at Work,” the author Morten Hansen advises against multitasking and encourages narrowing down priorities to increase effectiveness. According to Hansen, top performers concentrate on a smaller range of tasks and seek ways to eliminate non-essential ones. Removing internet capabilities, arriving early, and staying late are some of the ways to increase focus on important tasks. Instead of striving to finish more tasks, Hansen suggests focusing on the ones that matter most to attain better results.

Value-Based Workflow

Hansen’s book advises on prioritizing tasks by calculating their value rather than relying on conventional productivity targets. He suggests an “outside-in view” to measure value, considering how tasks benefit stakeholders instead of focusing solely on internal targets. With this approach, work can become purposeful and contribute meaningfully to the organization’s success.

The Learning Loop

Learn how to integrate a learning practice into your daily routine with Hansen’s learning loop. Focus on one skill at a time, practice micro-behaviors, and ask for feedback to monitor growth. Small changes in behavior can lead to significant outcomes. Embrace the slight drop in performance as a sign of moving up to the next level of expertise. Master a skill, and you’ll do it without thinking.

The Synergy of Passion and Purpose

Passionate workers who connect their career goals with meaningful purposes ultimately become successful and fulfilled. Generating energy and making a difference in society, according to Hansen, is achieved by reframing one’s job or designing a new role to generate value and meaning. An excellent example of this is the Scripps Health Manager who mobilized a team to assist victims of Hurricane Katrina. Hansen sheds light on the fact that passion alone may not guarantee success, but P-squared, which is the combination of passion and purpose, ultimately leads to a more fulfilling and purpose-driven career.

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