Monday 30 October 2017

The Compass Solution - Tim Cole - A Guide to Winning Your Career

The Compass Solution
A Guide to Winning Your Career
Tim Cole
The Compass Alliance
ISBN 9780999057100

I have been reading business books for over 30 years now. Back when I was in high school and did an in house leadership development course at MacDonald's to borrowing my dad's copy of The One Minute Manager just after it had come out. There are some authors I have enjoyed like Spencer Johnson, Robin Sharma and John Maxwell to some I have loved Patrick Lencioni and Matthew Kelly. To be honest with only this one book to sample Cole falls in the middle. It will be interesting to see what other offerings Cole comes out with over the next few years. Now don't get me wrong. This is a very good book and I can easily recommend it. In fact I sent personal recommendations to about a dozen people while reading it or shortly after finishing reading it.  This book was a good read, and for me a timely read. I am just a year into a new job after being at a company for 7 years that to be honest I never thought I would leave.

The book follows a pretty simple formula. Each section of the book begins with a quote and then it has a brief introduction. Then each chapter begins with a quote, from a wide range of sources, then the main teaching point or points of the chapter. Then each chapters ends with a boxed section called Straight Talk. For example the chapter 'Present And Accounted For' begins with this quote:

"If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present." ~Laozi
And the Straight Talk at the end of that chapter is:
"The ability to live purposefully-to focus on the present-is a challenge. Our natural tendency is often to dwell on past successes (or failures) or fixate on the uncertainty of the future. But the only thing we can fully influence is this moment. Allowing the shadows of the past or the imaginings of the future to compromise the precious present is a malady that impacts all of us from time to time.
Sometimes the best course of action is remarkably simple.
Fly away."
The sections in this book are:

  • Brand You
  • Owning vs Renting
  • A Different Drummer
  • Burnout & Balance-Work Better, Not Harder
  • Burnout & Balance-Part 2: Going Pro
  • Free Agency
  • Walking Away
  • We're All One Big, Happy Family...
  • Remember Your Waiters and Waitresses
  • The Dance of the Toadies
  • EMUs
  • The Bad Boss
  • Tornado Warning
  • The Glass Jaw Syndrome
  • Enemy Mine
  • The Game
  • Doppler Down
  • A Cure for Corporate ADD
  • The Core Analytics
  • Every Time You Sit Down
  • The Meeting Maze
  • Thank You, MAM
  • Career Infarcts
  • The Tale of the Two Charlies
  • Mirror, Mirror on the Wall
  • Adversity and Resilience
  • It Ain't Fair But It's There
  • Pivotal Moments
  • Another Brick in the Wall
  • Mea Culpa
  • Boris
  • Present and Accounted For

  • Lead, Follow, or Get the Hell Out of the Way
  • The Power to Inspire
  • Put Me in Coach
  • Fifth Floor Please
  • Why Being Efficient Isn't Enough
  • The Meeting Room Test
  • R.E.S.P.E.C.T.
  • The Five
  • Star Light, Star Bright
  • Why, Tell Me Why
  • Everyone Is In Sales
  • The Importance of Questions
  • The Power of Story
  • The Power of Story Part Two
  • The Magic of Audience Engagement
  • Gamblers, Cops, and Con Men
  • I Think I Got Something to Say
  • The Principle of Higher Ground
  • Looking Beyond
  • Nifty Shades of Gray
  • Investment Advice
  • After Action Reviews
  • No One Makes It On Their Own

Part of the description for this book is:
"Most people will spend-at minimum-100,000 hours building a career. This represents the greatest financial investment of their life. Unfortunately, a great many consider that investment with the same degree of critical thinking as they might the purchase of a lottery ticket-effectively gambling away their future. The Compass Solution was written for those who want to win their career, not just endure it. This is the definitive guide to successful career navigation."
And it really does deliver on that. If you are just finishing university and entering the work force this book will be an excellent resource. Read it and put it in your day timer to read it again in a year or two. If you have already had a long career or even multiple careers then this book might give you some greater insight into patterns in your work life, and some guidance to help you navigate the workplace to find yourself where you would rather be.

I know that I will likely circle back and reread this book in 2 or three years. In part as a refresher, in part to make sure I have applied what I have learned. And to be honest wanting to read a book again is one of the highest praises I can give it. Unless you are living off a hugs nest egg or trust fun, this book definitely has some sound advice to offer you. No matter what stage you are at in your working life. So give it a true the 2 or 3 hours it takes to read this book is a drop in the hat of the 100,000 you will spend working, why not learn now and maximize those hours you have remaining?

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