A bias for action

Managers blame many factors for their lack of accomplishments: a lack of motivation, limited time, not enough money, too much work, and corporate bureaucracy. But new research suggests that the amount of willpower managers bring to their jobs can be a critical element in their success.

In A Bias for Action, leadership expert Heike Bruch and management expert Sumantra Ghoshal demonstrate that managers often confuse activity with accomplishments, and motivation with true leadership. Their new study reveals that 90 percent of managers waste their time by procrastinating, becoming emotionally detached, and distracting themselves with busywork. They point out that only 10 percent of managers truly act purposefully to get the most important work accomplished.

Based on the authors’ research across numerous industries, and illustrated with personal case studies from BP, Sony, GE, Philips and others, A Bias for Action reveals how great managers get results by engaging their own willpower through a combination of energy and focus. The authors present simple strategies for bolstering willpower and provide ways managers can use the willpower of others to encourage collective action.