Two books of 2023 that will help you succeed in the workplace3 min readReading Time: 2 minutesReading Time: 2 minutes
In an era of constant change, the workplace is not immune to the winds of transformation. From career shifts to post-pandemic environments, work dynamics are shifting faster than most of us can adapt. As business leaders and professionals grapple with this change and strive to succeed in the workplace, two authors have emerged with timely insights to guide us: Herminia Ibarra’s newly updated Working Identity and Melissa Swift’s January release, Work Here Now: Think Like a Human and Build a Powerhouse Workplace.
Working Identity by Herminia Ibarra
First published over a decade ago, Herminia Ibarra’s groundbreaking book, Working Identity, has undergone a significant update, considering modern work life’s complexities. Ibarra, a celebrated academic currently serving as the Charles Handy Professor of Organisational Behaviour at London Business School, ventures beyond the traditional career advice often rendered obsolete in today’s fluid job market.
In Working Identity: Updated Edition, Ibarra challenges the outdated linear models for career development and introduces a dynamic, non-linear approach. She argues that career transition is not a straight path to a predetermined identity but a “crooked journey” where we explore and test various “possible selves.” She identifies three critical strategies for successful career transformation: experimentation with new roles, forging fresh networks, and sense-making of emerging paths.
Ibarra’s insights offer valuable frameworks for professionals at crossroads, guiding them on inventing and testing prospective futures rather than dissecting their pasts. In an era where professional life is increasingly fraught with uncertainty, the need to be agile and open to change has never been more critical. This book gives you the intellectual tools to adapt, reinvent, and thrive.
Work Here Now by Melissa Swift
Melissa Swift is an expert in transformation. As the leader of Transformation Solutions for Mercer US and Canada, her new book, Work Here Now, resonates with a pragmatic understanding of the workplace. Swift combines her deep expertise in workforce analytics and human behavior to produce a practical guide to succeed in the modern workplace.
Drawing on her extensive background, Swift presents 100 strategies — 50 for organizational-level changes and 50 for team-level modifications — to humanize and energize work environments. Her focus is not just on efficiency but on creating genuinely good workplaces for people. Swift emphasizes that “thinking like a human” is the key to building a successful, powerhouse workplace in this new age. She tackles questions that have become more urgent in the post-pandemic world, calling out outdated and oppressive practices that need overhaul.
What sets Work Here Now apart is its action-oriented, people-centered approach. It’s not just a book for HR professionals but anyone who is part of an organization and wishes to see real, meaningful change.
The Value of Reading Both
Both books offer timely perspectives but approach the challenges of modern work from different angles. While Ibarra focuses on individual transformation, Swift zooms out to consider the organizational perspective. In a world where change is the only constant, understanding work’s micro and macro levels becomes invaluable.
Working Identity offers a thoughtful blueprint for personal reinvention for those feeling stuck in their current roles or dissatisfied with the status quo. On the other hand, Work Here Now serves as a comprehensive toolkit for executives, managers, and team leaders who aim to foster a more humane and productive work environment.
In conclusion, these books are more than just timely reads; they are essential guides to succeed in the workplace complexities of 2023 and beyond. The insights offered are not mere recommendations but actionable strategies for a future we are collectively creating. Consider them your roadmap as you navigate the evolving landscape of modern work.