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Do More Great Work: Stop the Busywork Start the Work That Matters [Paperback]

Michael Bungay Stanier , Seth Godin (Contributor) , Michael Port ( Contributor) , David Ulrich (Contributor) , Chris Guillebeau (Contributor) , Leo Baubanta ( Contributor)
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
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Book Description

5 Mar 2010
Here's a business book that gets right to the problem that plagues so many organizations: Even the best performers are spending less than a fraction of their time doing "great work" or work that leads to "great work" the kind of innovative work that pushes business forward, stretches creativity, and offers true satisfaction. The rest of the time (50 percent or more) employees are treading water with "good work" the work that keeps the business going but will never move it ahead and are mired in "bad work" (upwards of 25 percent of the time) the endless meetings, the energy-draining bureaucratic processes. Michael Bungay Stanier, Canadian Coach of the Year in 2006, is a business consultant who's found a way to move us away from bad work (and even good work), and toward more time spent doing great work. This inspirational, motivating, at times playful book uses fifteen short, thought-provoking exercises that effectively force the reader to look at what his or her work really is, and find ways to change the mix. The exercises, called Maps because of the quick, visual way they lead the reader from A to B to Z, begin with defining great work assess your personal bad-good-great ratio; tap into the power of role models; analyze those moments when work turned into a flow. There are maps that explore personal creativity and inspire brainstorming. And maps to help put ideas into motion, including how to structure time, how to elicit help from members of your team, even how to navigate an idea through the organization. And along the way, there are tips for clearing time to move away from bad work including how to use the drama triangle of transactional analysis and stop being a "rescuer" who takes on other people's problems, and how not to say "no," but how to say "yes" more slowly, making sure you're doing what's most important.

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Do More Great Work: Stop the Busywork Start the Work That Matters + Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone To Take Action + Real Leaders Don't Do Powerpoint: How to speak so people listen: How to Sell Yourself and Your Ideas
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Product details

  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Workman Publishing; Original edition (5 Mar 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0761156445
  • ISBN-13: 978-0761156444
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 17.8 x 1.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 142,802 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Find out more about Do More Great Work at

Michael Bungay Stanier is the founder and Principal of Box of Crayons (, a company that works with organizations and teams around the world to help them do less Good Work and more Great Work.

Box of Crayons' clients range from AstraZeneca to Xerox and are based in North America, Europe and Australia. They have particular expertise with blue chip organizations in the professional service, pharmaceutical and consumer goods market sectors. Box of Crayons' premier product is the Coaching for Great Work program which gives managers and leaders practical coaching skills that stick. It is delivered by a global cadre of program leaders. As a consultant and facilitator, Michael regularly works with groups ranging from four to two hundred.

Michael was the 2006 Canadian Coach of the Year. He was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University, and holds a Masters of Philosophy from Oxford, and law and arts degrees with highest honors from the Australian National University.

Michael created The Great Work Movie (, The Eight Irresistible Principles of Fun ( and The 5 ¾ Questions You've Been Avoiding, (, short internet movies that have been seen by well over a million people in at least 175 countries around the world.

Michael is a popular speaker at business and coaching conferences around the world. He has been a speaker at three of the most recent International Coaching Federation conferences, the OD Network, the International Association of Facilitators, CSTD and SHRM.

Prior to founding Box of Crayons, Michael held senior positions in the corporate, consultancy and agency worlds in the UK, the United States and Canada. He has been involved in numerous large scale change efforts, including writing the global vision for GlaxoSmithKline.

"If I had to pick a person to have dinner with, when I need to be prodded and challenged and inspired to think about the things I really am committed to think about for myself and what I'm doing, I'd pick Michael Bungay Stanier. He has an ability to shake our tree and make us more conscious and responsible about what we know but aren't willing to admit we know yet."
-David Allen, Author of Getting Things Done

Product Description

About the Author

Michael Bungay Stanier is the founder and senior partner of Box of Crayons, a company that works with organizations, ranging from AstraZeneca to Xerox, to help them do more great work. A Rhodes scholar who earned both arts and law degrees with highest honors from Australian National University and an MPhil from Oxford, he is a popular speaker at business and coaching conferences, and was named Canadian Coach of the Year in 2006. He lives in Toronto.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great resource for career coaches 30 Aug 2010
I read this short book over a weekend. The exercises and questions are apparently simple, but they're the kind of questions that those wishing to find meaning, balance and creativity in their work often overlook.

Getting really clear about what matters, what your unique skills are and how you can marry the two in the work that you do is not easy on your own. Actually filling in the various 'maps' in this book (rather than just looking at them before you read on) is great for enhancing your self-awareness. Armed with that knowledge, you'll be in a much more focused frame of mind to take the next steps to make your particular 'mission' in life a reality.

I'll definitely be recommending this to my coaching clients.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read this piece of great work 10 Jun 2010
Do More Great Work is a fantastic book, it is easy to engage with the exercises becaue they are presented in a simple way and are can be completed in short sessions (as little as fifteen minutes). However the impact of the book is significant, it is elegant in its simplicity and so gets to the heart of the matter, giving the reader insight and challenge.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
By Robert Morris TOP 500 REVIEWER
As Michael Bungay Stanier explains, "This book is the sum of my work with thousands of people around the world as a coach and facilitator. It uses just fifteen key tools - conceptual maps to help you identify what really matters to you, what drives the choices and the actions you take, and how you can get onto a path to more creative, motivated, and inspired work that's good for you and for those you work for." Presumably some purpose-driven people can be happy, content, and fulfilled by obtaining great wealth, power, etc.

As I worked my way through Stanier's narrative, I was again reminded of Teresa Amabile's admonition, "Do what you love and love what you do." In her various writings, she also stresses the importance of having a purpose that includes but is not limited to achieving personal goals. For Dave and Ulrich, this means "the why of work." For Simon Sinek, it suggests the imperative to "start with why." Stanier joins the discussion when expressing the first of six "Great Work Paradoxes": You don't need to save the world but you do need to make a difference...a positive, productive, beneficial difference. More about the other paradoxes later.

Stanier invokes the journey as his central metaphor and presents his information, observations, insights, cautions, caveats, and recommendations within the framework of a journey that involves both sustained effort (e.g. reflection, completing separate but interrelated exercises, maintaining commitment and focus) and significant discovery (i.e. revelations of what really is -- and isn't -- most important). The ultimate objective is to Do More Great Work. This is not a destination because the journey of discovery should never end until one's life does.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Get cape, wear cape, fly! 27 Feb 2011
I've been to the Coaching for Great Work work shop, I've read the Do More Great Work book, I've filled in the maps, I've signed up to both the follow-on e-learning course and the Great Work Blog.
But that's not enough. Great Work is all about taking action, taking responsibility and being authentic. It's helped me add value in my Great Work and fight the waste of Bad Work. However important this book is for individuals though, it's real value is raising expectations for organisations.
I and my colleagues have deployed tactics and strategies described in the book to help others (inspire, motivate, "give permission") to be authentic. We need to create an "abundant organisation" (abundant organisations are defined by Michael Bungay Stanier as having "a work setting in which individuals coordinate their aspirations and actions to create meaning for themselves, value for stakeholders, and hope for humanity at large"). And we need to create a sense of urgency about doing that. Life's too short to get bogged down in the relentless grind of organisational bureaucracy: this is a call to arms and this book provides the ammunition to overthrow mediocrity.
I'm a big advocate of Great Work and I'm in awe of simplicity and pragmatic nature of the approach. I'm not keen on good work and bad work drains the life-blood from me. This is accelerated coaching at its very best - with rapid and effective return on investment.

However, I appreciate not everyone thinks like me. For Jack Fisher, Doc Watson and Norman Einstein and his colleagues at Scientific Radicals (" we screw up, so you don't have to") this book provides a real threat. Scientific Radicals is a world leader in organizational dysfunctionality.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Working on your life 28 Jan 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Unless you know that you are within a shout of a promotion, or a great opportunity elsewhere, I doubt too many of us want to work any harder than we do already for our bosses. If your aim is to work on the things that most catch the eye of the bosses and brings credit and recognition to you, the maps and processes in this book are helpful in identifying what that necessary or even great work is. However, your life is more than what you do at work (I hope) and it helps to nail down the "one day I wills" of life, to quantify and qualify what exactly your pipedream looks like and delivers for you and to compare it with other activities to see what benefits can be derived. I am not particularly fond of writing in books though, so it is handy that the charts and maps can be downloaded. Yes the book is simple because it is written by an ad man who understands that simple actions are the ones that get done. This book is a valuable contribution to time management and is very easy to start using and to benefit from.

The contributions from other writers, such as Seth Godin, blend in seamlessly to the book to give the writing approval from great writers and to introduce chapters so smoothly you don't notice the change in writing style. The chapters are well constructed to provide a cohesive plan for working out what you want, whether you still want it after looking in detail at it and then taking the steps to make it happen.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Great gift
As a Talent and L&D professional, this is my preferred gift to my mentees. Great little book! Get it for yourself and others...
Published 8 months ago by Evelyne Van Vosselen
5.0 out of 5 stars Energising, smart and warm
This is a great book - full of practical tools and provocations to help you do more great work. I don't often leave reviews but this is worth it.
Published 8 months ago by J. Casey
2.0 out of 5 stars More about coaching
I thought this would be a book about creativity and design, but it was more about coaching managers. It might be great for coaches, but I had a hard time reading it.
Published 17 months ago by Ondrej Ilincev
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring and helpful!
This little book is full of ideas and exercises to start you thinking about how you really want to spend your time working. Read more
Published on 13 May 2012 by Hen
5.0 out of 5 stars Fab Book
I gave away 12 copies free of this book to coachee's I worked with on a recent contract with the Arts Council. I never fail to hesitate to share a book I find that is great. Read more
Published on 15 May 2011 by Jackee Holder
5.0 out of 5 stars A business coach's guide on how to do your best work
Business coach extraordinaire Michael Bungay Stanier shows you exactly how top-notch mentoring works. Read more
Published on 28 Feb 2011 by Rolf Dobelli
5.0 out of 5 stars Under pressure
It looks like it is simple. It is not. We all know how hard it can be to keep control on our everyday tasks and how impossible we often find to maintain our dreams constantly... Read more
Published on 27 Feb 2011 by Giuliano
3.0 out of 5 stars Okay
I found this to be fairly useful but a bit simplistic. It contains lots of exercises which range from the
very insightful to the dull and repetitive. Read more
Published on 18 Nov 2010 by The Emperor
5.0 out of 5 stars simple yet brilliant insight
Michael has written an insightful little book. I'm regularly quoting his little gems around the concept of great, good and bad work. Read more
Published on 4 Aug 2010 by Paul Shrimpling
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