Pick a Fight: How Great Teams Find a Purpose Worth Rallying Around by David Burkus

2020, book #19: “The underdog fight is the fight to prove naysayers wrong and the fight to prove criticism unwarranted and is the fight to go up against the leaders and win.” — David Burkus

Finished on March 19, 2020

I forget where I first connected with David Burkus but we’ve had a handful of great exchanges together. He’s someone whose perspective I always respect. Not only does he always have something worth saying, he spends extensive time understanding a subject before speaking on it — which makes me respect him even more. I was on his email list here and actually was able to check out this audiobook pretty much as soon as it came out. We went back and forth a few times on email about my takeaways. The book was great, succinct, actionable, and informative.

Talk about a strong message. We spend so much time and energy as people reacting angrily or competitively. Yet, the real fights don’t source from those types of rivalries. The real fights — the right fights — reinforce sacred values. It’s not about which car has the better color, but rather which car is more innovative or efficient — whatever it is that the sacred value truly is for the company.

The right fights aren’t rooted in anger or competitive rivalry. The right fights reinforce sacred values. In doing so, they motivate at a higher level.

These questions are certainly essential. My professional experience up to this point has been exclusively within small and medium-sized companies so I don’t have a true corporate understanding. What I can see clearly, though, is how easy it is for some things to get lost in the shuffle. It’s far too easy for companies to focus on what pays people rather than why they started the company in the first place. I think the 5 questions below are all essential points of conversation, we need to be open with all team members so that it’s clear how everyone should be conducting business and interacting with others.

In the day to day of small businesses, there isn’t often time to talk about what the company is doing to fight injustice. Any talk about what is being done to change society can also be lost in the complexity of large corporations.
Here are some bigger questions to ponder as we examine the mission begins the bigger mission of staying in business:
1. Where did we come from and how did we get here?
2. If we weren’t here what would happen to our stakeholders?
3. What type of work would we never engage in? Why?
4. What’s an industry standard we find unacceptable?
5. In what way does our industry take advantage of its customers?

As shown on so many occasions, this is what people become passionate about — proving criticism unwarranted, proving people wrong, and so many other things. Ultimately, as with anything that you do, winning the fight is going to be most important.

The underdog fight is the fight to prove naysayers wrong and the fight to prove criticism unwarranted and is the fight to go up against the leaders and win.

I gave this book a 3.5/5

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