Are you in the dark about the larger workings of your company beyond your own role? Would you like to be able to adapt and wear multiple hats? Flex – A Big Stretch Forward: A book for employees about how a business works to lay foundation for flexible work environments by Michelle Campbell Ross should be required reading in college, regardless of one’s major. But until that happens, all workers would benefit from reading this book.
The book explains how a business operates—in plain-English, which we at Financial Poise like—and demonstrates business concepts to those with little formal training. This allows employees to “eliminate an invisible ceiling,” according to Ross, so that they can have more flexibility in the workplace.
As Ross states near the book’s beginning, “[U]nderstanding how companies work will help lay the foundation for employees to explore multiple roles and jobs,” and that is one thing Flex sets out to do—a goal that the book masterfully achieves.
The book (also adorably illustrated by Ross’ eight-year-old daughter) lays bare many of the things that should have, but were not, taught in school. As the title implies, the author’s other goal—incredibly timely given the world around us today—is to provide a guide for obtaining an appropriate work/life balance. Ross knows a thing or two about these subjects. She is the CEO of Vision Media, one of the few companies in Hollywood authorized to manage guild membership lists and outreach. She is also a mother and a wife.
As Ross writes, “[W]hile you may not want to be a CEO, developing some basic knowledge about how business works can create more options for employees at all levels. There are plenty of books and articles written by and for executives and consultants, offering advice to other executives and consultants. But where are all of the books written in plain English for the non-Harvard types? This book is not written for anyone with an MBA. It is purposely written for people who may have never been given the opportunity to learn business concepts in school or on the job. I learned none of these concepts in school. Some of them I learned from others during my years of consulting with companies. Others I made up in urgent situations where we needed to “coin a phrase” to explain complicated scenarios to people with very little experience.”
“Today’s world,” Ross continues, “is more complicated than ever before. The typical American worker must play multiple roles at home and at work. The ability to be flexible is critical, and it creates options. The concept for this book arose out of the urgent need to retrain our employees to ‘flex’ across multiple jobs as we worked to transform our business during the Covid 19 crisis.”
“In addition to developing courses around Excel, PowerPoint, warehouse management, and other technical courses, we also needed to provide employees with some basic business, communication, and leadership training to enhance their skills and ready them for a new day. Understanding how companies work will help lay the foundation for employees to explore multiple roles and jobs. Learning how to manage multiple roles will make one more flexible in their work and personal lives. A big part of this retraining is the development of some basic business acumen. Flexible employees will need to understand a company’s purpose, how it is organized, and how each role within the company makes the engine run.”
Flex’s 161 pages are an incredibly quick read. And, word-for-word, it may produce the best educational ROI you have ever experienced. (Don’t know what ROI means? No worries. Flex explains it in a single sentence on page 142.)
Flex is a treasure trove of useful information for almost any worker in any business, and it should be required reading in college. Flex is available at Amazon as an ebook and paperback copy. (No, we do not get any sort of referral fee. Financial Poise does not play that game). Even if you normally buy e-books these days, consider the paperback, because Flex is the sort of book you will want to be able to underline, highlight and scribble in the margins.
©All Rights Reserved. October, 2020. DailyDACTM, LLC d/b/a/ Financial PoiseTM
Jonathan Friedland is a senior partner in Sugar Felsenthal Grais & Helsinger LLP’s Chicago office. He is ranked AV® Preeminent™ by Martindale.com, has been repeatedly recognized as a “SuperLawyer”, by Leading Lawyers Magazine, is rated 10/10 by AVVO, and has received numerous other accolades. He has been profiled, interviewed, and/or quoted in publications such as Buyouts…
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