ASQ - Team and Workplace Excellence Forum

April 1999


A Sunny Forecast
Grassroots Teams Help Sun Micorsystems Raise Customer Satisfaction

Coming Full Circle
Measuring and Improving Organizational Effectiveness

Oil Change
Externalization, Change Management Key to Realignment

Project Management:
Just Do It!

A Step by Step Overview ofa 1950's Organizational Tool Experiencing a 1990's Rebirth


Hope Is Where You Find It
by Peter Block

Sorry We're Closed: Diary of a Shutdown


Brief Cases
Business News Briefs

Views for a Change

Sites Unseen
Reader's Favorite Websites

The Quality Tool I Never Use

Book Review

Letters to the Editor

Calendar of Events

Book Reviews With a Twist

“The 8 Keys to Becoming Wildly Successful and Happy”
Harry A. Olson, Ph.D.

“The 8 Keys to Becoming Wildly Successful and Happy” by Harry A. Olson, Ph.D. is a great read in the way that it challenges the reader to think about success. Olson is adept at reminding us of timeless wisdom while drawing from real-life coaching, workplace stories and circumstances. This book presents a thorough methodology for achieving peak performance.
Olson turns the old competitive model of win-lose inside out and reveals a model of healthy competition through cooperation and achievement. A prime example is the old goal of “striving for superiority” as the way to win—not according to Olson. He suggests to take the high road and “strive for significance.” This way you will use all your internal resources to be your best, make your greatest contribution and the winning will take care of itself! He draws from well-known athletes and his own years of experience in coaching clients to new heights in goal setting and personal performance.

Get Personal:
Olson recommends writing a personal mission statement. While this advice is not unique in today’s business/self-improvement genre, Olson moves in and out of values and personal feelings so easily that it leads the reader to a deeper personal level. This makes drafting a mission statement a natural extension.

Use Your Head:
Olson combines exercises with visualizations and affirmations and gives specific implementation guidelines for each of the eight keys. He navigates the reader through conscious and unconscious thinking to help the reader re-frame their self image. Olson deals with the power that fear of failure has on one’s attempt to succeed—mindsets are everything! “It’s not ignorance that holds us back, but what we think we know. Daily or weekly practice of the visualizations and affirmations will lead to a more positive internal dialogue and desired results.

The Chapter I Liked Most:
Chapter 13 discusses the concept of true mastery. By practicing self-control vs. control over others, one can be more flexible and confident to respond and guide change towards personal effectiveness. Trying too hard to win is a total psych-out, every athlete knows that. The objective is to get in a mastery zone and flow easily into peak performance.

Added Bonus:
The “8 Keys” has a companion playbook, a workbook with written exercises. Together, both books are great tools for planning individual success or building success within a team. Quality practitioners will find Olson’s approach practical in motivating others to perform and cooperate better with others in team building.

Information Overload:
The only weakness I found is that in trying to get so much good information across, the book could benefit from additional editing and more illustrations to demonstrate powerful points. Sometimes chapter numbers, keys, various steps and anagrams can be confusing, but the message is well worth staying with it!

“The 8 Keys to Becoming Wildly Successful and Happy,” Harry A. Olson,Ph.D., 1998, Insight Publishing Company, Sevierville, Tenn., ISBN 1-885640-41-2,257 pages, US $16.95

Reviewed by Marigrace McKay, Atlantica Consulting, Hyattsville, Md.

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