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Please Don’t Just Do What I Tell You! Do What Needs to Be Done: Every Employee’s Guide to Making Work More Rewarding by Bob Nelson




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Just Don’t

The best aspect of Bob Nelson’s new book, Please Don’t Just Do What I Tell You! is that with its large typeface and wide margins, you can clip through its 100 pages in under an hour. Unless you really enjoy homiletic bromides, don’t bother wasting the time. I’ve always liked it when executives promote initiative, and when employees do what it takes to help an organization succeed. Unfortunately, this book may be a recipe for disaster. Read this excerpt, and decide if this is what you really want to have happen in your organization:

“Regroup When Your Ideas Meet Resistance
Don’t be swayed when an idea you have hits a snag or meets with resistance. Instead, stop, reassess your options, and find some other way to push forward on an idea in which you believe.
Dina Campion, an employee of Starbucks in Santa Monica, California, pushed an icy coffee drink she thought customers would like. Dubbed the ‘Frappuccino,’ the drink was not authorized by corporate, and she was told not to sell it in the Starbucks where she worked.
Undeterred, she kept selling the drink to customers and turned in a sales report for the month showing it to be one of the more popular coffee drinks with their customers.
She then received a call from Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks, thanking her for ignoring his edict. The Frappuccino became a national hit and earned the company $100 million in its first year alone.
Granted, you don’t want to make a habit of blatantly disobeying management’s wishes, but in some instances, if you truly believe that a certain course of action would make the company better or more successful, it may make sense to pursue your belief knowing you risk being reprimanded or even possibly losing your job.
If any idea bogs down, reassess the situation. Focus on new possibilities. Bounce the idea off additional colleagues to get their help in thinking it through. Do check your homework to determine what additional resources would be needed to implement your idea and the savings potential to the organization if the idea were implemented. Represent your idea with a revised plan for implementing it.”

The premise underlying this book is that managers and employees live in different worlds and are unlikely to communicate. Dina Campion’s entrepreneurial spirit succeeded in the situation described above. A company like Starbucks has great reasons why it wants to maintain control over what it serves its customers, and may not want to encourage individual employees to take the initiative to offer their own concoctions. Managers and employees who want to find ways to work better together can find better advice from books other than Please Don’t Just Do What I Tell You!

Steve Hopkins, April 3, 2002


ã 2002 Hopkins and Company, LLC


The recommendation rating for this book appeared in the May 2002 issue of Executive Times


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