Book Review: “The Reality-Based Rules of the Workplace”

It’s no secret that I love and admire Cy Wakeman. Ever since I met her last year at the Illinois SHRM Conference, heard her speak and got to spend time with her at a little restaurant in Chicago-Midway airport — she’s been like my BFF in my head.

That little bit of time I spent with her put my life on a different trajectory. Listening to Cy talk about “Reality-Based Leadership” and “ditching the drama” in the workplace is a big part of what made me realize something had to change in my worklife — and that something was ME!! So when I returned, I took active steps to upgrade my resume and my job search … About 45 days later, I was in a new position — and I’ve been playing catch-up ever since. I marvel almost every day at how different my life looks now than it did a little less than a year ago … And I couldn’t be more grateful and excited to everything and everyone who has encouraged and helped me along the way.

So when Cy Wakeman sent me an email about a month ago to let me know her new book was about to be released, I was really excited. And when she sent me another email asking if I would consider reading and posting a review of her new book on my blog, I was like … YOU BETTER BELIEVE IT!!! (I didn’t even really try to be cool about it)

Whereas her first book (Reality-Based Leadership) was all about managing others, The Reality-Based Rules of the Workplace is all about managing yourself. The new rules are all centered around the New Value Equation. Your score indicates the actual value you bring to your organization. Your Value equals:

Current Performance + Future Potential – (3 x Emotional Expensiveness)

I’m only a little embarrassed to admit that my score was -0.5! However, it revealed to me the areas where I’m really solid and the areas where I have much work to do … Then the book goes on to give the advice and tools to do the work — in clear, practical and easily-digestable bites. That’s what I love about Cy and her writing the most! She is brilliantly practical — and puts her finger right on the pulse of why the reign of drama queens needs to end in our workplaces! Being a workplace jerkface is no longer acceptable or desirable. Accountability is the only way to survive and thrive. Period.

I won’t spoil it with much more detail on the rules or how to apply them … But I must share a few of my favorite wisdom nuggets:

  • “You can’t expect anyone to work harder at your success than you do. Downtimes are perfect times to upgrade your skill set, volunteer for cross-training, widen your experience … and enhance your value by becoming more flexible”
  • “…most talk about accountability is about who is to blame, who dropped the ball, or whose butt is on the line. It is ironic that we tend to focus on others and what they should have done or prevented … because accountability is personal, and it is very empowering”
  • “If your life is full of drama, you are its creator or co-creator — not its magnet”
  • “Giving the benefit of the doubt, not jumping to conclusions, is part of what it means to be professional”
  • “The value you add is identifying potential problems and fixing them with the minimum drama possible”
  • “If you aren’t developing, change will expose your lack of competence, but if you are keeping up with your development, you have no need to resist. Your success will not be dependent on everything staying the same, but on your readiness for what’s next”
  • “Stay and serve, or go in peace — there is no third option”

Great stuff, right?? I know!! That’s why I want you to take time and make time to read this book. I promise it will change your outlook on yourself, your work and the people that you work with … Put “Reality-Based Rules of the Workplace” on your summer reading list. Now.

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