Academic journal article Career Planning and Adult Development Journal

CAREER MANAGEMENT and ADVANCEMENT

Academic journal article Career Planning and Adult Development Journal

CAREER MANAGEMENT and ADVANCEMENT

Article excerpt

Be a Shortcut: The Secret Fast Track to Business Success by Scott G. Halford 2009 Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 237 pages; Hardback; $24.95

Intended Audience(s): A, F, G

Major Headings from the Table of Contents: Part One: The KnowWhy; Part Two: The Know-What; Part Three: The Know-How; Part Four: The Shortcut as a Company; Part Five: The Long and Shortcut of It

How Is the Book Most Useful for Its Intended Audience? The book walks professionals through how to think, act, and work, so they become more valuable to their employers and, by extension, more successful in their careers. Professionals are most definitely the book's primary audience; but, I believe career coaches and those working with people to develop their careers would benefit from reading it, as well.

The Top Five Things You Learned from Reading this Book:

1) To be a "shortcut" in your career is to be a go-to resource in your company that people can't do without.

2) A shortcut has four components: emotional intelligence (attitude), expertise, responsibility, and initiative.

3) To be the most valuable, 5-star shortcut, you need to meet a high need at a low cost.

4) Shortcuts save time by one or more ways - by making it easier, making it better, or making more money.

5) It takes 21 days for something to become a habit.

A shortcut is defined as the go-to resource in your company that people can't do without. Be a Shortcut: The Secret Fast Track to Business Success provides the reader with the framework and tactics to learn how to think, act, and work to become a shortcut. The introduction begins with a Shortcut Quotient Inventory (SQI), a 27 -question assessment to heighten awareness of the reader's current behavior. The author, Scott G. Halford, recommends taking the SQI before you start reading to avoid being influenced, and provides a copy of the assessment in the back of the book, as well as online on the book's website, www.beashortcut.com.

The SQI has four components that determine the strength or relative value of a shortcut: emotional intelligence (attitude), expertise, responsibility, and initiative.

The book first explains why shortcuts are valuable and sought after. The goal is to make yourself indispensable at work to become layoff-proof - a very relevant concept in today's economic times. "If you're not a shortcut, you're taking up too much space," contends Halford. The book provides numerous examples, quotes, and real-world stories that make the themes and lessons relatable and more easily understood. Each chapter wraps with a boxed-in "Shortcut Lesson" with a takeaway lesson that summarizes that section's main point.

Shortcuts are categorized by type: a 5-star shortcut (the most valuable) meets a high need at a low cost. A 3-star shortcut meets a low need at a low cost, and a no-star shortcut (actually, not a shortcut) meets a low need at a high cost. This analysis works in determining your value for both people and products. Within this framework, shortcuts meet a need and save time by one or more of three ways - by making it easier, making it better, or making more money. Halford describes different types of shortcuts, with examples throughout, so the reader can relate and find himself in the stories. Once you know what you're looking for, shortcuts appear across all industries, positions, and levels. Real-life examples included airline employees, hotel/hospitality workers, a general contractor, and retail salespeople.

For the reader who commits to becoming a shortcut in his own career, the book will become an indispensable resource, not just a book to read once and put on the shelf. It's a big-picture book sprinkled with realworld assignments and challenges to help put in play the concepts being discussed. Several hands-on exercises aim to identify your value through self-awareness. The author explains how to (1) identify and determine your value and (2) how to improve/sharpen it. …

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