How Will You Measure Your Life? – Clayton M. Christensen [Book Summary]

by Nick

Clayton Christensen is a business expert and a man who managed to defeat cancer.

In this book, the reader will be able to get acquainted with his unique look at how to be professionally successful and truly happy in his life.

In “How Will You Measure Your Life?” , Christensen addresses a variety of topics. In this book, he talks about how to use a motivation for your own benefit, which career strategy is best for you, how to strengthen relationships with your loved ones and how to create a good family culture.

Clayton M. Christensen is the author of several acclaimed books and a professor at Harvard Business School.

James Allworth is a graduate and scholar at the Harvard Business School’s Baker Scholar Program.

Karen Dillon is an American investigative journalist and former editor of Harvard Business Review. In 2011, Ashoka was named one of the most influential and inspiring women in the world.

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Learn How to Achieve Great Results in Career and Personal Growth.

Clayton M. Christensen is an expert in business innovation.

After many years of work together with very successful people in prosperous companies (some of which were founded by him personally), he realized that in life it is important not only the time you spend in the office.

In this book, Christensen gives competent advice to all those who aspire to the career of their dreams. With his inherent insight, he gives concrete examples from the life of the corporate world, of which he has been a part for many years. However, Christensen is also a real family man and a man who has overcome cancer. Therefore, he is absolutely sincere when he talks about the importance of a balance between work and personal life.

This book will help you understand that motivation, not money, brings job satisfaction. After reading it, you realize that no matter how much effort you devote to your work responsibilities and how often you get a promotion, it is still friends and family that remain the main source of happiness.

Christensen’s knowledge and experience will help today’s white-collar workers find balance, integrity, and meaning in their lives.

Next, you will learn:

  • why the Blockbuster video rental company was simply destroyed by Netflix’s upstart;
  • why it’s important to let your child make mistakes and even fail;
  • why IKEA was able to achieve worldwide success thanks to the ability to do only one simple thing.

Job satisfaction is a primary motivation, not money.

What Would Make You Happier at Work?

Probably a Small Increase in Salary or a Little More Admiring Words From Colleagues.

So many people think. But in fact, money, prestige, and the like, tangible aspects of your work are not at all what can make you happy. If you think differently, then just go to a meeting of graduates of a business school. Then you will understand how often professional success is accompanied by personal dissatisfaction, a failed family life, poor relationships with colleagues, and even illegal actions.

However, the misconception about the role of incentives still continues to dominate. According to the notorious reward theory popularized by economist Michael Jensen and management theorist William Meckling, the more you earn, the better you work.

But the example of a meeting of school business graduates clearly shows that this theory simplifies everything too much. Moreover, studies show that most conscientious workers can be found not in business, but in non-governmental organizations. They try to change our world for the better, but they earn very little. So, it turns out that professional satisfaction and motivation gives rise to work that meets your needs and interests. Psychologist Frederic Herzberg in this regard introduces the concept of hygienic and motivational factors. They form the basis of his theory of hygiene and motivation.

Hygiene factors include working conditions, company policy, level of control and job security. If any of these factors are absent or something does not suit the employee, then we can talk about poor hygiene. It also causes dissatisfaction from work. But can a job be called good with excellent working conditions, but with no career opportunities or premiums?

Apparently not.

Work will be satisfying if you combine hygiene and motivational factors.

The latter include recognition of merit, the opportunity to take responsibility, challenges and personal growth.

Imagine a work that intellectually stimulates, but has terrible management. Will she satisfy you? Of course not. Obviously, the balance between hygiene and motivational factors is extremely important. Next, we will talk about how to achieve it.

A Good Career Strategy is the Simultaneous Use of Expected and Spontaneous Opportunities

What is your career strategy?

Many people, at least in general terms, imagine in which direction they would like to develop professionally, but only some of them can clearly describe how exactly they plan to achieve their professional goals.

To begin with, career strategies have two different forms: thoughtful and spontaneous. To see the benefits of each, we first need to understand how opportunities are born.

Henry Mintzberg, a professor of management and author of the acclaimed books, believes that opportunities are divided into two categories. The first includes the so-called expected opportunities, that is, those of them that we can easily calculate and usually prefer to use.

Well-thought-out strategies are often based on expected opportunities.

Here is an example of a Japanese car manufacturer Honda.

In the 60s, large motorcycles, like those made by Harley Davidson, were very popular in the United States. Therefore, Honda managers decided to release their own series of large motorcycles designed for the American market. They wanted to gain a foothold in America in this way, but low quality almost ruined their plan.

This shows that sound strategies do not always bring success. We can all recall situations where, despite all our efforts, everything went wrong as we planned! It is under such circumstances that spontaneous strategy comes in handy. It means using the spontaneous opportunities that often arise during the implementation of a well-thought-out strategy.

In the case of Honda, a well-thought-out strategy just gave birth to spontaneous. The fact is that, along with large motorcycles, this company also brought to the United States smaller so-called Super Cubs for use by its employees. They rode them around the hilly Los Angeles, and the unusual appearance of these motorcycles so intrigued him residents, as a result, they themselves wanted to buy them. Thus, Honda took advantage of a spontaneous opportunity and began to sell smaller motorcycles on a large scale, and, in the end, still found its place in the American market.

Creating a balance between thoughtful and spontaneous strategies will allow you to use every opportunity. If you are both prudent and flexible, you will always choose the right path.

Your Life is Your “Business.” in Order to Manage It Successfully, You Must Manage Your Resources Well.

When we think about resources, the first thing that comes to mind is something related to business: assets, talent, finance, and so on. However, this idea of ​​business is too narrow.

In order to make better use of our resources, we must expand this view. Think about things that are important to you, family ties, friendships that bring joy and physical health. In a sense, all these aspects of our personal lives are also business, well, and the resources that we invest in it are time, energy, skills and wealth.

However, as in business, all our resources are limited. Of course, there are many goals we desire, but we need to be able to reasonably prioritize. Investing all our resources in one goal can seem very tempting, and for many, this goal is a career. Nevertheless, it is extremely important to try to invest time and energy in other things that are precious to us.

Taking control of the process of allocating personal resources, we can avoid a common mistake and not invest everything in our career.

We must change the criteria that we usually follow when we allocate our time. Do not devote it exclusively to the working draft. Think: is he really the most important thing in your life right now? Are family and health less important? Those who usually manage to achieve more than they expect from themselves often prefer immediate rewards, and this is a very big mistake. Such people are usually fixated on a promotion or future bonus.

The satisfaction these things bring is instantaneous, but it does not last long. At the same time, long-term goals (for example, raising their children well), although fraught with many difficulties and require a lot of effort and time for their implementation, will bring much greater satisfaction that will last a lifetime. Next we detail let’s talk about long-term goals.

Relations With Your Family and Friends Are the Main Sources of Happiness.

If you are a person whose achievements exceed his expectations, then it may seem to you that the strength that you give to your work is what brings you the most return and satisfaction in life.

However, the efforts you put into your family life also bring very valuable rewards. They just have to wait for many years. Unfortunately, “underinvestment” in long-term projects leads to the fact that they never pay off.

In relationships, the most important thing is constant attention and care. This is not easy to achieve for two reasons.

First, we are always inclined to invest our resources in something that brings immediate returns, that is, in our work. You can devote your free 30 minutes after the end of the working day to your family. But often meetings, work projects, and most importantly the prospect of making more money, lead to the fact that we forget about our loved ones.

Secondly, friends and family members, that is, people with whom you have a deep relationship, rarely impose themselves and require attention to themselves. More often, they try to support you in your career and make conscious sacrifices. But do not forget: the fact that they do not ask you to give them time does not mean that they do not need it.

There is one paradox in relationships: they require constant devotion, even when it seems unnecessary. Many believe that they will still be able to catch up on their personal lives, and the money earned now will help them in the future to show special love and care for their loved ones.

However, the harm done to relationships in their early stages will later manifest as specific problems. For example, a study showed that the most favorable time for the development of a child’s intelligence is the first year of his life. Therefore, the way his parents talk to him during this period will have a huge impact on his thinking abilities in the future.

And thirdly, not only your loved ones need you. At some point, you will need them too. If you do not give them proper attention now, then you risk losing their support and not getting it when you really need it.

Intuition and Empathy Help Us Make Our Loved Ones Happy.

Often companies are so focused on selling the product that they completely lose sight of the real needs of their customers. Unfortunately, many people relate to relationships in the same way.

Be it your family or business, your main concern should always be to understand and satisfy the desires of others.

This is a rather difficult task. There are two things that can help you implement it: intuition and empathy. A marriage is successful when each of the spouses understands what the second half expects of him. However, practice is required in order to learn to use empathy and intuition and with their help to predict these expectations.

For example, a husband comes home from work and sees dirty dishes in the kitchen. Intuitively, he concludes that his wife had a hard day, and therefore he decides to wash it himself. He expects to be thanked for this, but he suddenly sees that his wife is upset. She tells her husband that taking care of two children is an incredibly difficult thing, because she has no opportunity to talk with an adult all day. Thus, she needed her husband to just listen to her.

In this case, intuition failed her husband. However, gaining such experience, he will learn to be more receptive to the needs of his wife.

Another way to improve your relationship is to treat them like a job.

You must ask yourself: “What kind of work does my family, friends or partner expect from me most?”

The Swedish home furniture company IKEA can serve as an example. Her clients want to quickly and cheaply furnish their homes. And IKEA’s job is to effectively meet this need. That is why this company does not sell specific types of furniture: its task is more general.

The customers of this company are loyal to her because she satisfies their needs. The same applies to relationships: if you understand what specific work your loved ones expect from you and do it properly, they will remain faithful to you.

Properly Educate Your Children: Let Them Learn From Their Mistakes and Celebrate Their Success

Parenting is one of the most important tasks of our life.

Its purpose is to give children tools with which they can learn on their own, and not just “stuff” them with all the necessary knowledge.

It is easiest for children to form their own values ​​when they can cope with challenges and find solutions to problems. For example, they should try to get along with a teacher with whom they did not have a relationship without helping their parents, pull up a “problem” subject, or cope with school bullying and clans.

If children learn to cope with daily problems early, then their self-esteem will grow naturally. You probably do not like the idea that children should go to their goals without outside help, because you want to help them avoid mistakes. But fear not and let them fail. It is enough that the children understand that in difficult circumstances you will always help them. Mistakes are necessary because they teach so many useful things and help grow spiritually.

Another important aspect in raising children is the cultivation of a normal family culture. It is based on family values. These are informal, but extremely important instructions that will help your children cope with any test, even when they already grow up.

Family Culture Can Be Compared to Autopilot. Once It is Programmed, It Can Work Perfectly Without Outside Help.

Suppose you want kindness to be the main value of your family. You can help program this value if you find opportunities to emphasize its importance. A similar opportunity may even be a simple conversation with your child about a problem with school “bullies” or words of praise when he reveals compassion. Thus, kindness will become the core of your family culture.

It is very easy to fall into the misconception that the main thing in raising children is to control their poor behavior. Such a negative approach is ineffective. Where it is better to always try to praise the child for his good deeds. Then very strong values ​​will gradually form in your family, which will not be afraid of any trials.

Never give up your principles, otherwise go downhill!

What does it mean to be honest? Honesty depends not only on what choices we make when confronted with difficult moral challenges.

Honesty is also the decisions we make every day. It requires constant attention from us.

You should never forget that you can fall into a trap called marginal thinking. The history of Blockbuster, a DVD rental company, is very instructive. This company had an innovative competitor, Netflix. He introduced a new service – he gave his customers the opportunity to rent discs by mail. However, Blockbuster managers did not take Netflix and its innovations seriously, believing that there was no need to make adjustments to their business strategy.

So, while nothing was done at Blockbuster, Netflix methodically destroyed its competitors. In the end, the turn came to Blockbuster – in 2010, this company declared bankruptcy. Blockbuster tried not to pay the marginal costs (i.e. additional costs) that were required in order not to be behind the innovative Netflix and as a result, it had to pay the highest price for the wrong choice of its management and cease to exist.

So, if you think about marginal costs, making commercial decisions, you can suffer a real disaster. Such marginal thinking is even more dangerous when it comes to moral behavior, where it is extremely important not to act thoughtlessly.

Have you ever made a decision that was contrary to your beliefs, justifying it by the fact that you do it only once, as an exception. Here’s an example of how harmful such exceptions can be.

Nick Leeson was a stock market trader whose marginal thinking led to the collapse of the oldest British trading bank, Barings. Having suffered losses on some of his transactions, he decided to “on an exceptional basis” hide these losses on a rarely checked trading account.

So Leeson rolled downhill – one action, generated by marginal thinking, entailed another, and soon, in order to hide his irresponsible actions, he already began to forge documents and deceive the auditors. His total loss amounted to 1.3 billion dollars. Leeson was arrested and imprisoned, and

Barings Bank went bankrupt and was sold to a rival for a symbolic sum of one pound.

The Final Words

The most successful professionals are those who invest their resources not only in work but also in their personal lives.

We can achieve a balance between work and personal life if we take responsibility for all our “non-working” duties: whether it is raising children, moral support for the spouse, or honesty in our actions. Only then can we truly be happy.

Give your children the opportunity to solve their own problems!

When you cater to your children, you probably do it with the best of intentions. But they must face difficulties and learn independently, for example, play football, develop some kind of social skill or master a musical instrument. Then they will be able to solve problems without outside help, gain experience and form their own values.

Why You Should Read “How Will You Measure Your Life?”

Who needs this book?

  • To maintain a balance between work responsibilities and personal life.
  • To achieve stable happiness and find the meaning of life.
  • To become a great educator for your children.

This book is available as:

AudiobookeBook | Print