You Don't Have To Do It Alone

How to Involve Others to Get Things Done

Dick Axelrod (Author) | Emily Axelrod (Author) | Julie Beedon (Author) | Robert Jacobs (Author) | Dick Axelrod (Author) | Richard Axelrod (Author)

Publication date: 09/09/2004

Bestseller over 20,000+ copies sold

You Don't Have To Do It Alone

YOU DON'T HAVE TO DO IT ALONE

* The New York Times calls it "the best of the current crop of books on this topic . . . . a complete blueprint for involving others."
* A practical guide to getting things done by involving groups ranging in size from five to five thousand-or more
* Provides tools and techniques for planning for involvement, managing it while it is happening, finishing the job successfully, and gleaning lessons for the future
* Written by four well-known consultants who have headed involvement initiatives for all types and sizes of organizations

Everyone needs to involve other people in order to accomplish their tasks and achieve their goals. It doesn't matter if you're a CEO leading a major restructuring or a PTA volunteer raising money for after-school programs, you can't do it all yourself-you and the work will suffer if you try. But the hit-and-miss way most people go about involving others often takes too much time and seems like more trouble than it's worth.

You Don't Have to Do It Alone takes a systematic approach to involvement. It lays out a simple, straightforward plan of action for finding the right people and keeping them energized, enthusiastic, and committed until the work is completed. The book is organized around a series of five questions corresponding to steps in the involvement process-in fact, these questions are the titles of the first five chapters. Each chapter begins with a short anecdote that introduces one of the questions and offers helpful tools and techniques for resolving it, as well as providing examples from corporations, government, and the nonprofit sector that make the book interesting, fun, memorable-and, above all, useful.

You Don't Have to Do It Alone is the Swiss Army Knife of involvement-a set of tools that can be used in any setting to get you the help you need. You will learn to involve others in a way that will actually make your work easier, resulting in less stress, better ideas, and more successful outcomes. This book's lessons apply whether you are working at a multinational corporation, an inner-city hospital, or at the community bake sale.

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Overview

YOU DON'T HAVE TO DO IT ALONE

* The New York Times calls it "the best of the current crop of books on this topic . . . . a complete blueprint for involving others."
* A practical guide to getting things done by involving groups ranging in size from five to five thousand-or more
* Provides tools and techniques for planning for involvement, managing it while it is happening, finishing the job successfully, and gleaning lessons for the future
* Written by four well-known consultants who have headed involvement initiatives for all types and sizes of organizations

Everyone needs to involve other people in order to accomplish their tasks and achieve their goals. It doesn't matter if you're a CEO leading a major restructuring or a PTA volunteer raising money for after-school programs, you can't do it all yourself-you and the work will suffer if you try. But the hit-and-miss way most people go about involving others often takes too much time and seems like more trouble than it's worth.

You Don't Have to Do It Alone takes a systematic approach to involvement. It lays out a simple, straightforward plan of action for finding the right people and keeping them energized, enthusiastic, and committed until the work is completed. The book is organized around a series of five questions corresponding to steps in the involvement process-in fact, these questions are the titles of the first five chapters. Each chapter begins with a short anecdote that introduces one of the questions and offers helpful tools and techniques for resolving it, as well as providing examples from corporations, government, and the nonprofit sector that make the book interesting, fun, memorable-and, above all, useful.

You Don't Have to Do It Alone is the Swiss Army Knife of involvement-a set of tools that can be used in any setting to get you the help you need. You will learn to involve others in a way that will actually make your work easier, resulting in less stress, better ideas, and more successful outcomes. This book's lessons apply whether you are working at a multinational corporation, an inner-city hospital, or at the community bake sale.

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Meet the Authors


Visit Author Page - Dick Axelrod

Dick Axelrod co-founded The Axelrod Group, Inc., a consulting firm that pioneered the use of employee involvement to effect large-scale organizational change. He now brings more than thirty-five years of consulting and teaching experience to his work, with clients including Boeing, Coca-Cola, Harley-Davidson, Hewlett-Packard, and the NHS. Dick is faculty in Columbia University's Professional Program in Organization Development and the University of Chicago's Leadership Arts Program. He alaso serves on the board of Berrett-Koehler Publishers. Dick authored Terms of Engagement: Changing the Way We Change Organizations, and co-authored You Don't Have to Do It Alone: How to Involve Others to Get Things Done, which the New York Times called ""the best of the current crop of books on this subject."" His latest e-book is How to Get People to Care About What You Find Important.



Visit Author Page - Emily Axelrod

Emily M. Axelrod is co-founder of The Axelrod Group, Inc. Emily and Richard contributed to The Change Handbook and The Flawless Consulting Fieldbook and Companion.

Who are Dick and Emily?Dick and Emily Axelrod have been together for more than forty-five years. They met in 1967 in Pusan, Korea, where Dick was serving in the US Army as a signal officer and Emily was teaching children at Pusan American High School. Friends often ask, “Was it like MASH?” MASH was not far from the truth. They soon fell in love and were married in September of 1968. Since then, they have raised two children, Heather and David, and became the doting grandparents of Zach and Andy. Along the way, they formed the Axelrod Group, Inc. in 1981, a consulting firm that pioneered using employee involvement to effect large‑scale organizational change. While they bring different perspectives to their work, they are totally aligned when it comes to wanting to leave the world a better place than they found it.What do you get when you combine Dick + Emily?During their life together, they have had many dinner conversations about the best way to improve the world. Dick has believed that if you could bring dignity into everyone’s work experience, where people knew their voices counted and their hearts and minds were engaged in the work, there would be positive impacts on families and ultimately the society as a whole.Emily would counter that the way to improve the world was to improve families because strong, healthy families are the cornerstone of society. With Dick and Emily, you get an unusual combination of a kid raised on Chicago’s South Side (Dick) and someone who brings her folksy southern wit and spirit to the work (Emily). You get the discipline of Dick’s engineering-based education from Purdue University and a master’s in business from the University of Chicago and Emily’s grounding in physical education from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, along with the heart of a family therapist (master of social work) from Loyola University Chicago.Dick’s early experiences in his father’s model airplane factory and at General Foods—one of the first companies in America to use self-directed work teams—had a great impact on him. Emily’s roots in Wilmington, North Carolina, gave her a sense of community and how people in communities work together for the common good.Recognized worldwide, they have received awards from Benedictine University, the University of Chicago, and the Organization Development Network.Throughout the years they have shared what they know by teaching others at American University, Benedictine University, Columbia University, and the University of Chicago, to name a few." />



Visit Author Page - Julie Beedon

Julie Beedon is the CEO of VISTA Consulting Team Ltd. whose clients include Royal Dutch Shell, The BBC, The National Health Service, and Mars. She is the co-author of Meetings By Design and contributed to Managing Change in the New Public Sector.



Visit Author Page - Robert Jacobs

Robert “Jake” Jacobs is a principle in the global consulting firm, Winds of Change Group.  He works with companies, communities, and countries to help them get clear, committed, connected, and achieving common goals.  He has taught in Notre Dame’s Executive Education Program, the U.S. Navy’s Postgraduate Institute, Roffey Park Management Institute in England, and St. Thomas University’s masters program in organization development.

Jake has authored or co-authored six books, including Real Time Strategic Change:  How to Involve an Entire Organization in Fast and Far-Reaching Change. He has also written articles for Strategy and Leadership, Executive Excellence, Leader to Leader, Strategic HR Review, and Consulting to Management.

For more information and to check out Jake’s latest thinking on leadership and change, please visit the Winds of Group website and Jake's Winds of Change blog.



Visit Author Page - Dick Axelrod

Dick Axelrod co-founded The Axelrod Group, Inc., a consulting firm that pioneered the use of employee involvement to effect large-scale organizational change. He now brings more than thirty-five years of consulting and teaching experience to his work, with clients including Boeing, Coca-Cola, Harley-Davidson, Hewlett-Packard, and the NHS. Dick is faculty in Columbia University's Professional Program in Organization Development and the University of Chicago's Leadership Arts Program. He alaso serves on the board of Berrett-Koehler Publishers. Dick authored Terms of Engagement: Changing the Way We Change Organizations, and co-authored You Don't Have to Do It Alone: How to Involve Others to Get Things Done, which the New York Times called ""the best of the current crop of books on this subject."" His latest e-book is How to Get People to Care About What You Find Important.



Visit Author Page - Richard Axelrod

Dick Axelrod is a cofounder of the Axelrod Group Inc., a consulting firm that pioneered the use of employee involvement to effect large-scale organizational change. His clients include Boeing, British Airways, Chicago Public Schools, Calgary Health Authority, Coca-Cola, Harley-Davidson, Hewlett-Packard, Novartis, and the UK s National Health Service.

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Table of Contents



Chapter 1:
What Kind of Involvement Is Needed?

Chapter 2: How Do I Know Who to Include?

Chapter 3:
How Do I Invite People to Become Involved?

Chapter 4:
How Do I Keep People Involved?

Chapter 5: How Do I Finish the Job?

Chapter 6: Meetings: The Involvement Edge

Chapter 7: Where to Start: You Don't Have to Do It Alone Checklist

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Excerpt

You Don’t Have to Do It Alone

1

INTRODUCTION

Everyone loves involvement in the abstract. Involving others is a great idea and being involved has universal appeal. No matter how much we love the involvement ideal, when it comes down to involving others or being involved, our fears get in the way.

Involvers worry about whom to include and how to include them. When we are the ones who are asked to participate, we have another set of concerns. We want our voices to be heard and we want our ideas to be accepted. We want to experience the satisfaction that occurs when we pull together to make something happen.

Fears and Hopes Around Involvement

What do we worry about? We worry about the time it takes to involve others. We worry about the hassle that occurs when we have to incorporate other points of view. We worry about loss of control. And we worry about failure.

Let’s take a look at these fears from two perspectives—that of the involver and that of the person asked to be involved.

It will take too long. The involver fears: Involving others will delay getting things done, causing me to miss important deadlines. The involved person fears: If I get involved, it will take a lot of time away from my day-to-day work, leaving me with more work to do.

It’s going to require more effort. The involver fears: It’s going to take a lot of work to include others. I will have to bring them up to speed, figure out who needs to be involved, and then work through their differing opinions of what needs to be done. The involved person fears: If I get involved, I’m going to have to convince my boss what needs to be done, and I’m not sure he’s interested. Besides, while I’m doing that, my own work won’t get done. It all seems to be more trouble than it’s worth.

2

I will lose control. The involver fears: Bringing people together means that I will not be able to predict the outcome. If I do it myself, I might not have the right answer, but at least it’s an answer I can live with. It’s just easier to do it myself. The involved person fears: If I become involved, it means I’m going to have to consider others’ opinions. I don’t want to make compromises when I know what needs to be done.

I will fail. The involver fears: When it’s all said and done, I’m the one who is responsible. If we fail, no one will blame them. It will all come back to me. I’m not sure that others feel the same sense of ownership that I do. The involved person fears: If I get involved, I’m going to have to live with what we decide. I’m not sure that others care as much as I do. Will we suggest ideas that make things worse instead of better? Will we be worse off in the end?

If these fears ruled the day, involvement would never happen. But opposite these fears reside four hopes. What kind of hopes? The hope that by involving others time will be saved, the work will be made easier, new ideas will emerge, and we will create allies to support our work.

Now let’s look at our hopes from both perspectives.

The work will get done faster. The involver hopes: If I involve others, there will be more people to do the work. I won’t have to spend late nights and weekends organizing the garage sale or working on a presentation for my boss. If I involve others, they will be able to take over some of what I do. That will free up my time so that I can do the things that I’m best at doing, where I can make a real contribution. The involved person hopes: By getting involved I hope that I will be helpful. I hope that by working with others I will help the job get done sooner. I hope that my contribution will make things go faster.

The job will be easier. The involver hopes: Instead of doing everything myself there will be others to call on to do the heavy lifting. Knowing that others are there to do the work will help me sleep at night. The involved person hopes: I hope that by joining this group the work will go more smoothly. I hope to pull my weight. I want to have fun. I hope that more hands will make light work.

Better ideas will develop. The involver hopes: If I give up some control, I hope I get better ideas in return. My fondest hope in involving others is that we will come up with new and better ways to do the job—ideas that take a fresh look at old problems, ideas that provide solutions I couldn’t see because I’ve worked on the problem for too long. The involved person hopes: By getting involved I hope that I will make a contribution. I hope to help generate fresh ideas so that we come up with some new solutions to old problems.

3

There will be other people to support me. The involver hopes: What I want most are allies, people to support my efforts, people to spread the word and encourage others to join. I want to know that there are others besides myself who are willing to work hard toward achieving the goal. When I’m feeling discouraged, having allies gives me the courage to move on. The involved person hopes: I hope that by joining this group I will make new allies. I hope that instead of feeling that I have to do everything myself, there will be people to help me along the way.

Building a Foundation

Dealing successfully with hopes and fears requires a solid foundation.

The Japanese bullet train zooms over 200 miles an hour as it makes its way from Tokyo to Kyoto. But in the United States, similar trains barely reach speeds of 100 miles an hour. What’s the difference? The foundation—the tracks they sit on. American railroads are built on tracks that were designed for steam locomotives in the nineteenth century. Japanese lines feature high-tech tracks specifically built to accommodate the ultra-fast bullet train.

Fearing a horrendous accident, we would never think of running the bullet train in the United States at 200 miles an hour. But when the track bed is safe, we don’t give these speeds a second thought.

By fully acknowledging our hopes and fears, we create a solid foundation for involving others. When we build our foundation with our fears in mind, we are aware of them, but we don’t let our fears prevent us from moving forward. In the same way, while our hopes inspire us to action, we are not Pollyannaish about the task before us.

The Five Questions

This book is organized around a series of five questions that help us deal with our hopes and fears. When answered, these questions help us build a solid foundation for involving others. These five questions are asked by effective involvers whenever they tackle a new challenge. Answering these questions will allow you to build a safe track bed, one that allows you to move swiftly to your destination. The questions are:

  • What kind of involvement is needed?
  • How do I know whom to include?
  • How do I invite people to become involved?
  • How do I keep people involved?
  • How do I finish the job?

We devote a chapter to showing you how to answer each question whenever you take on new work. We also offer a chapter called “Meetings: The Involvement Edge” that provides a blueprint for designing high-involvement meetings. A concluding chapter, “Where to Start,” provides options for where to begin. There are also a reference set of checklists and some ideas for further learning.

What kind of challenges do effective involvers tackle? It could mean solving a problem at work that has been bugging you for months. It could mean saving your company millions of dollars. It could mean launching a community movement to improve your schools or the local health care system. It might even mean drawing on the ideas and energies of thousands of citizens to decide the future of the World Trade Center site in New York City.

Our approach has been tested for the past ten years in organizations such as Boeing, Marriott, and the Cabinet Office of the British Government. These are no-nonsense organizations where time is of the essence, resources like money and talent are precious, and the pressures to perform are enormous. They are also subject to intense scrutiny by many stakeholders, from corporate shareholders and employees to civic groups and ordinary citizens. The plans such organizations develop and the means they use to carry them out must be effective; if they are not, the repercussions may be enormous. These organizations have learned that effective involvement is the key to making smart decisions and making them work better. We predict that you will discover this, too.

How do we know these are the right questions? Effective involvers told us so. We asked some of the most productive, creative, and resourceful people we know to walk us through their own techniques for organizing and managing their work. The structure of the book grew out of what they told us. These same effective involvers also read the chapters as they were written and helped us shape the contents to be as useful and practical as possible.

Taken together, the steps in You Don’t Have to Do It Alone provide you with the tools for creating organizational energy—the kind of energy that can only come when we involve others to get things done. We begin to involve others when we ask ourselves the first question, “What kind of involvement is needed?” Your journey toward successful involvement begins on the next page.

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Endorsements

"You Don't Have To Do It Alone provides readers with a series useful tools-such as the return on involvement assessment tool, invitation strategizing tool, and the meeting canoe-that have helped me and my colleagues stay focused on what we needed to do, preventing rework and unnecessary frustration."

—Patricia V. Powell, Senior Vice President, The Coca-Cola Company & Director, Quality Division

"We're now armed and ready for our next project! This book helps by outlining why, when and how you can involve others to achieve success. The stories and humor mixed with checklists and 'to-dos' make it thoroughly inviting and a must-read for anyone with big goals! A great, practical tool to keep handy use it before the aspirin!"

—Beverly Kaye, CEO/Founder, Career Systems International, and Sharon Jordan-Evans, President, The Jordan Evans Group, coauthors of Love 'Em or Lose 'Em: Getting Good People to Stay and Love It, Don't Leave It: 26 Ways to Get What You Want at Work


"I worked with one of the authors of this book on a major programme of reform. When we started I wasn't sure these ideas for involving people would work. But they did. The whole thing was a huge success and I was proud of it. The book is an easy read and shows a wise understanding of human nature. I commend it."

—Lord Wilson of Dinton, Master of Emmanual College Cambridge, Formerly Cabinet Secretary and Head of the UK Home Civil Service

"When you are doing something big, intentional design and high involvement strategies lead to great results. Dick, Emily, Julie, and Jake's book gives us practical guidance on how to get such results. These ideas can be used equally by project managers, line managers, union leaders, community organizers and even by family members."

—Jan Mears, Human Resources Director, Global Supply Chain, Kraft Foods

"You know how strategic plans sometimes gather dust? Not so in our organization. We followed the steps in You Don't Have to Do It Alone, and that helped us form stronger partnerships with students, parents, teachers, universities and the people who fund us. We are refocused and recommitted to our mission; and we've developed forward thinking action plans that we are now implementing."

—Arnie Aprill, Executive Director, Chicago Arts Partnership in Education

"You Don't Have to Do It Alone is one of the clearest books I have ever read. There isn't one wasted sentence. Human resource professionals, team leaders, supervisors, and managers will all find something here to make them more effective. I particularly like the tools and templates that accompany each major concept. They are easy to use and can be applied in many different settings."

—Ken Goldstein, Director of Management Development, Mattel, Inc.


"An extraordinarily useful, user-friendly and wise guide for creating the conditions for true participation. In the current climate, we keep forgetting that people only support what they create. Here is easy guidance for how to engage people so that they genuinely support change."

—Margaret J. Wheatley, Author of Leadership and the New Science and Turning to One Another

"You Don't Have To Do It Alone is a book you will want to keep on your desk and turn to often. The authors weave together a bit of Maslow in basic human understanding with John Lockeian higher ideals, wrapped in a healthy dose of Tom Sawyer practicality. With this book, you will get your fence painted!"

—Ronald L. Thomas, Executive Director, Northeastern Illinois Planning Commission

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