5 Gears: A book review by Bob Morris

Posted on: October 4th, 2015 by bobmorris

5 Gears5 Gears: How to Be Present and Productive When There Is Never Enough Time
Jeremie Kubicek and Steve Cockram
John WIley & Sons (2015)

“No valid plans for the future can be made by those who have no capacity for living now.” Alan Watts

As I began to read this book, I was again reminded of what countless research studies have revealed about what has the greatest impact during a one-on-one interaction: on average with only minor variances, 80-15% of the impact is determined by body language and tone of voice; only 15-20% of impact is determined by what is actually said. If your objective is to “be present and productive when there is never enough time” while working with others, these statistics have special significance. Moreover, in those workplace cultures within which fewer than 30% of the employees are actively and positively engaged, my guess is that inept and/or indifferent leadership is one of the major causes.

This is probably what Jeremie Kubicek and Steve Cockram have in mind when observing, “Every day, millions of people are negatively impacted by the inability of a person to connect appropriately and to be present. Social miscues, the lack of emotional intelligence, and busyness stifle the growth of people and the progress of organizations.”

Hence the importance of having a “transmission” with the smoothly working “gears” that Kubicek and Cockram discuss in this book. Briefly:

First gear: Being full recharged (refueled, refreshed, etc.) and ready to go
Second gear: Connecting with others
Third gear: Socializing with others
Fourth gear: Working hard but also working smart
Note: Kubicek and Cockram refer to multitasking; my preference is sequential tasking.
Fifth gear: Maximum efficiency and productivity
Reverse gear: When it is necessary to back up and change direction

“Each gear has its own purpose and place. Once you learn to use the gears consistently with those in your life [family members, friends, and neighbors as well as those at work], you will notice the common language that begins to form, enabling objectivity to characterize your conversation [and attitude] instead of the subjective judgment or condescension that becomes pervasive when each person is speaking a different `language.'” Kubicek and Cockram explain HOW to develop and continuously strengthen this mindset and these capabilities.

These are among the several dozen passages of greatest interest and value to me in Sections One and Two (Chapters 1-7), also listed to suggest the scope of Kubicek and Cockram’s coverage:

o Social Miscues (Pages 16-18)
o Disconnections (19-22)
o Questions about priorities (26-28)
o 5 Gears: A briefing (35-42)
o Using Language to Connect (43-47)
o Getting into Overdrive (52-55)
o Stuck in 5th Gear (57-58)
o Healthy and Unhealthy 5th Gear (60-62)
o Teaching Others How to Use 5th Gear (62-63)
o What 4th Gear Does to Our Brain and Our Work (71-75)
o Reprioritizing What Really Matters (77-78)
o Why Business Happens in Third Gear (84-85)
o How 3rd Gear Can Increase Your Influence (89-91)
o What Happens When You Avoid 3rd Gear (91-92)
o How to Help Others Get into 3rd Gear, and, Overdoing 3rd Gear (93-96)
o Learning to Connect (99-100)
o What Happens [and Doesn’t Happen] When Everyone Is in 2nd Gear? (100-102)
o Truly Being Present (102-106)
o Back to the Real World (106-108)
o 2nd Gear in a 4th Gear Culture (108-110)

Over time, those who develop the capabilities and apply them effectively will be able to avoid various stalls and breakdowns in their relationships with others. People will be pleased, even excited to see them and be with them rather than avoid them. People will welcome working with them, sharing mutual respect and trust, and may — again, over time — share confidences with them.

I agree with Jeremie Kubicek and Steve Cockram: “The 5 Gears is a lifestyle. Do it well and experience a life that is fulfilling and the influence that goes along with someone becoming a person that others want to emulate. It will take your self-awareness and intentional willpower to learn to shift well and lead others into their own breakthrough.

“Give everyone a gift — you. Be present with those in your life and those that you lead. When you do, you will watch your influence thrive and your respect flourish. We wish you all the best in that endeavor!”

I began with an observation by Alan Watts and conclude with a reminder from Oscar Wilde: “Be yourself. Everyone else is taken.”

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