Last week Cy Wakeman released her new book The Reality-Based Rules of the Workplace. I want to start by applauding Cy for pulling no punches as she delivers her perspective on how to be successful at work. It comes down to one thing and really only one thing – taking accountability for your own behavior.

How many times have you participated in a “huddle and whisper” session after a meeting? How many times have you blamed your situation on your boss, your company, too many goals, the phase of the moon, or really anything except your own behavior? If you’re honest, the answer is probably “too many”. From page 1, Cy delivers a strong and compelling argument for purging those habits from your repertoire and building new ones based on her five simple rules:

  1. Don’t hope to be lucky, choose to be happy
  2. Ditch the drama
  3. Your action not your opinion adds value
  4. Change is opportunity
  5. Succeed anyway

For me the most compelling part of the book was about 1/3 of the way in when the author talks about quitting without leaving. From her last book Reality-Based Leadership she introduces the statistic that 68% of employees quit every day. They just don’t leave. They quit trying. They check out. Great managers spend a lot of time trying to build an environment where employees can feel checked-in and engaged, but managers can only do 50% of the job. The other 50% is up to the employee. And if you don’t want to be where you are, don’t be surprised if your performance reflects it.

There are some excellent tools and questionnaires in The Reality-Based Rules of the Workplace and since only you will see the results, there’s no reason not to be completely honest. Cy does a great job helping to define and show clear examples of the values and behaviors that high performers should be shooting for. If every employee took these to heart we would quadruple productivity in the workplace.

I’m sure not everyone will take advantage of the opportunity this book presents because it doesn’t allow for any excuses. There ARE bad bosses and bad workplaces and tough situations in the world, and it’s much easier to blame our circumstances instead of ourselves. But I applaud Cy for rejecting the idea that someone else is to blame for our own situation.

Did you read The Reality-Based Rules of the Workplace? What did you think?

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