167: How Top Performers Work Less and Achieve More | with Morten Hansen



Why do some people perform better at work than others? This deceptively simple question continues to confound leaders, as well as all professionals who want to advance and succeed while maintaining balance and wellbeing.

We often equate working longer hours with success, but the fact is that type of work leads to stress, burnout, and overall inferior work performance. A new, groundbreaking study of more than 5,000 managers and employees shows that top performers actually work less — and it reveals the tricks they use to accomplish much more.

The newest book from Morten Hansen is GREAT AT WORK: How Top Performers Do Less, Work Better, and Achieve More. In the book, he provides key practices that emerged from the study’s data — “work smarter” practices that overturn many of our basic “work harder” conventions. In this episode, Jesse and Morten discuss:

  • How people who “work less, then obsess” outperform people who work longer hours;
  • Why applying intense effort in a few chosen areas leads to greater success;
  • How top performers decide what will be the critical few tasks or goals they will focus on;
  • How to say “No” to your boss, when a longer to-do list would hurt your performance;
  • How to avoid being a pesky, “do-more” boss who lacks direction and sets too many priorities;
  • How “disciplined collaboration” produces much higher results than either under- or over-collaboration; and
  • How to lead better (and fewer) meetings and stop wasting time.

Morten T. Hansen is a management professor at University of California, Berkeley. He is the coauthor (with Jim Collins) of the New York Times bestseller Great by Choice and the author of the highly acclaimed Collaboration. Formerly a professor at Harvard Business School and INSEAD (France), Professor Hansen holds a PhD from Stanford Business School, where he was a Fulbright scholar. His academic research has won several prestigious awards, and he is ranked one of the world’s most influential management thinkers by Thinkers50. Hansen was also a manager at the Boston Consulting Group, where he advised corporate clients worldwide.

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