How and why taking “Baby steps” can lead to giant achievements
In the film What About Bob (1991), Richard Dreyfuss plays the role of Dr. Leo Marvin, a psychiatrist and author of a bestselling book, Baby Steps, in which he discusses emotional disorder theories and how he treats his patients and their phobias. I thought about that film as I began to read this book because both Leo Marvin and Jason Womack believe in the value of steady, consistent, sharply-focused incremental progress. They also believe in the importance of concentrating on what is most important while ignoring any distractions that threaten that concentration.
The business world is a busy world in which many people confuse activity with productivity. They need help and in the Introduction, Womack offers this assurance: “Your Best Just Got Better shows you how to gain clarity, develop structure, and build momentum as the “architect of your experience.” It will lead, inspire, and motivate you to walk the oath of persistence, moving you toward a better you. I am confident these experiences will support you along the work.” I think the material can be very helpful. However, whether or not it is helpful depends entirely on a reader’s ability — and willingness –to apply effectively the information, insights, and counsel that Womack provides in abundance.
These are among the passages of greatest interest and value to me, also listed to suggest the range of subjects that Womack explores with rigor and eloquence:
o Focus on Making Your Best Better (Pages 9-11)
o Maximizing Your Limited Resources (19-23)
o Slow Down to Speed Up and Create Lasting Change (31-35)
o Three Influences on Our Productivity (65-70)
o How Do You Build Self-Efficacy? (79-80)
o You Are Your Network (98-102)
o Three Kinds of Conversation (104-106)
o If You Can Track It, You Can Change It (110-113)
o Maximize our Limited Resources (Re-read 19-23, then read 117-120)
o The Layering process (140-142)
o Is Your Approach to Work Working (157-159)
o Creating Big Feedback, Quickly (167-169)
o Key Ingredients of Effective Feedback (177-178)
o Focusing on Making More (182-184)
o Three Decisions That Change our Focus, and, The Real Reason to Focus on Completion (196-200)
o What Is Important to Practice (218-221)
I commend Womack on his skillful use of various reader-friendly devices that include dozens of bullet-point checklists of key points as well as step-by-step explanations of various initiatives that, over time, can achieve incremental progress. Womack aptly characterizes this process as “iterative improvement.” In this context, it is worth noting that Alice Schroeder selected The Snowball as the title of her biography of Warren Buffett because when he was a child, he observed a ball of snow becoming larger as it rolled down a hill. It was then that he recognized the power of compound interest. What Jason Womack advocates is compound personal development and in this book, shares just about everything he has learned about how to achieve it.
No brief commentary such as mine can possibly do full justice to the scope and diversity of material in Your Best Just Got Better but I hope that I have at least suggested why I think so highly of it and its author. Also, I hope that those who read this commentary will be better prepared to determine whether or not they wish to read the book and, in that event, will have at least some idea of how the information, insights, and counsel provided by Jason W. Womack could perhaps be of substantial benefit to them as well as to their own organization.