The Global Manufacturer

Recommended Reading for Every Season

If you have bulldozed your way through your summer reading list, you might want to take a crack at the reading list recommended by Chris Gaffney. Gaffney, senior vice president for Product Supply System-Strategy at Coca-Cola Refreshments, addressed MESA International's North American Conference this week in Orlando.

Gaffney first discussed Coca-Cola's ongoing transformation from a company that "sells what it makes" to a demand-driven supply chain that "develops, plans and responds to real-time demand signals across a network of partners, suppliers, retailers and customers."

Such profound changes in a business don't come without their share of long hours and stress, so it was apt that Gaffney discussed the importance of work-life balance. Nearly four years ago, he set four personal goals in an effort to "live positively in the supply chain."
Have dinner at the table with his family three nights a week.
Recycle everything at home and cut water usage. His father challenged him to recycle more and, after finding that the recycling efforts of his trash collector were questionable, Gaffney began putting cans, bottles and other recyclables in his own containers and taking them to a recycling center every two weeks on Saturday morning.
Run 25 miles per week and measure it. Gaffney, a marathon veteran, uses a Nike running chip in combination with an iPod to track his mileage. He ran his fastest marathon last year.
Take his kids to the bus when he is in town. Gaffney wakes his teenage children at 5:45 a.m. in order to spend 15 minutes with them and later takes them to the bus.

Gaffney called his goals "modest," but he has stuck to them.

Gaffney also recommended five books that had been helpful to him, in Stephen Covey's famous maxim, to "sharpen the saw" and find effective ways to cope in a world of competing priorities.
"Total Leadership" by Stewart Friedman, which provides evidence that by balancing work, home, community and self, workplace performance improves
"Better: A Surgeon's Notes on Performance" by Atul Gawande, a collection of essays that examines difficult topcis such as reducing hospital-based infections and discusses ways to improve life through simple practices such as asking questions and writing.
"Getting Things Done" by David Allen, the best-seller on organization. Gaffney told the MESA audience that everyone in the room has "enough work to last them until the day they die." Allen's book is helpful not only in focusing on the work that is most important, but in learning the value of "leaving things undone."
"The Four Disciplines of Execution" by Stephen Covey and Chris McChesney, which includes research demonstrating that teams are most effective when they are charged with accomplishing no more than three tasks.
"FYI for Your Improvement" by Michael Lombardo and Robert Eichinger, which Gaffney said was particularly valuable for developing personal improvement plans and which emphasizes the value of learning by practicing it on the job.

We're interested in how you achieve work-life balance, what books (these or others) you have found valuable and what practices you have put into effect.

TAGS: The Economy
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