You can also extract helpful information from indicators by examining trends. It might not always seem like it, but management is a team effort. For instance, if a manager does well at planning production, allocating resources and sniffing out mistakes, but her staff fails to execute, the manager is still responsible. Sometimes the best way to do that is through quick, informal conversations. After all, a few words shared between a manager and an employee at the coffee machine will spread a lot faster than any memo.
However, asking for written reports from team members is also key. That makes reports essential for providing valuable information to a manager. But managers are also responsible for making decisions, which makes the previous responsibility of collecting and sharing information all the more essential. A manager who spends working time making personal calls is unlikely to motivate their team. On the other hand, a manager who puts in long hours and takes the work seriously will provide a great example for others to follow.
This means managers need to show the right way to behave. After all, nothing leads better than an example. Many managers consider meetings the curse of their existence, and Peter Drucker, a leader in modern management, has even said that spending more than 25 percent of your time in meetings is a sign of poor organization.
Not one of these can be done well without holding meetings. That being said, there are different types of meetings. A mission-oriented meeting is meant to solve specific problems by arriving at a decision. These tend to be held spontaneously as an emergency arises, like a meeting called at the last minute to quickly deal with a huge product malfunction. Another kind of meeting is process-oriented.
Here, information and opinions about less pressing matters are shared. These meetings rely on regularity to pay off.
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The most well-known form is a one-on-one meeting between a supervisor and her employee — an opportunity for them both to get informed. With inexperienced subordinates, this type of meeting should usually occur once a week, but its frequency also depends on the job area and how quickly conditions change.
Do you know how to quickly determine whether he lacks skills or just needs more motivation? The fact is, employees who perform inefficiently usually lack skills or motivation. After all, the quality of work performed by a manual laborer is easy to assess. To do so, a manager needs to know whether her employees are competence-driven or achievement-driven individuals.
The former are motivated to expand their knowledge and skills. Think of a stellar musician who practices daily to improve his technique. Managers should encourage these employees to produce tangible results and deter them from focusing solely on self-improvement. The other type, achievement-driven employees, are driven by success. Employees like this should be put in a context where their objectives are ambitious enough that they flourish.
Every worker expects to be rewarded for their professional commitments, and money is probably the most obvious reward. But is it the best? For example, some people who are already rich see money only as a status symbol that shows the outside world how successful they are. After that, these employees will want more meaningful and relevant rewards. By setting up a system that gauges their success.
In fact, this is the only way for workers to make real progress. Just look at the competence-driven employees who love to expand their knowledge and skills. The best tactic for motivating them is to show them that they still have potential to improve. Because without this potential, the desire to do better all but disappears. To demonstrate the space for improvement, a manager can provide evaluations and feedback through, for instance, performance reviews that rate an employee on his achievements.
What motivates people like this? This drive to beat the distance, stopwatch or competition is a result of self-actualization , an idea brought to prominence by the psychologist Abraham Maslow in A person who feels that she has the potential to master a challenge will also be compelled to take it on.
High Output Management - Books | Kurt Lash
She will feel this compulsion because of a need to attain her own potential — actualize herself — through the challenge. That you have to bring the sporting spirit of competition into the workplace, and that means letting employees compare themselves to their coworkers. Though there were no further incentives than the desire to beat the others, the cleanliness of every building improved dramatically, proving that competition alone can increase performance.
In some respects, a good manager should act as if she were the coach of a sports team. Coaches also sometimes need to be tough on their players to force the best performance out of them. Similarly, managers need to know how to give employees constructive criticism. You might be wondering, is there one approach to management that trumps all others? Probably not. Mark Zuckerberg, Brian Chesky, Steve Jobs, and others found it to be instrumental in how they built and led their teams.
In the rest of this post I'd like to explain a bit more about the author, Andy Grove and highlight some key learnings found in the book. Don't treat this summary as a substitute for the book. You need to go buy it. If you'd like to listen to part of the book, here's the audio book:.
Before jumping into the content of the book, it's important to build the foundation by giving some context about Andy Grove , the author. First up, Andy Grove was born to in a middle-class Jewish family in Hungary and survived the holocaust. He barely escaped to Austria during the Hungarian Revolution and immigrated to the United States, where he earned his degree in chemical engineering.
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- Introduction personality, individual differences and intelligence.
- The art of management is selecting which activities will provide most leverage.
If you want to learn more about his personal story, pick up this book , it's fascinating. Andy Grove became one of the founders of Intel. In other words, this guy was in the big leagues of company building. As I mentioned earlier in the post, I hate it when people who don't have experience managing offer advice on managing. It's like getting advice on cooking from someone who doesn't cook i. Andy Grove lived in the trenches doing the work that's covered in the book.
That matters. To recap, Andy Grove encountered a lot of adversity and built a monster business during his lifetime. I think we can learn some things from him. In the first part of High Output Management, Grove spends some time the first 40 pages covering basic production concepts which he refers to as " The Breakfast Factory. You may think it's a bit strange that a management book starts off by covering the principles of production, but it's super relevant for the following reasons:. I found this section similar to the concepts covered in another wonderful book on management called " The Goal ".
Grove refers to the production of a good as a black box. This is true of any production process. Grove refers to the value of indicators with the black box.
In order to understand what's going on, the indicators are like cutting holes in the box, giving better insight into what's going on as well as what we can expect the output to be. Another helpful takeaway I found is super simple, but an important concept. There are two ways to increase productivity:. The notion of leverage is referred to throughout the rest of the book. High leverage activities will generate a high level of output. A low-leverage activity will generate a low level of output.
Grove also refers to the value of work simplification, cutting down on the steps involved in the production process.
With production principles of out the way, Grove jumps into talking about the output of a manager. For example, a football coach is not judged activity alone, but based on if the team wins games or not. I found this to be an extremely helpful analogy. The foundation of production concepts is super helpful when Grove talks about managerial leverage, as he's applying taking tangible concepts and applying them to intangible activities like management activities.
This may be one of my favorite sections, as I generally hate meetings and try to avoid them at all costs I talk about this more in makers vs. The reality is that meetings is where work can be accomplished if they are run effectively. What I love about this section is how Grove talks about how to run these types of meetings effectively. For example, the information he provides about one-on-ones is gold.
In another chapter, Grove provides a framework for making decisions and handling disagreements. Once again, the timing of this chapter matters, as the previous chapter he discussed mission-oriented meetings, in which decision-making is one of the key outputs. In most organizations, decisions are made without an eye towards developing a process.
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I found this fascinating and am currently researching how to build a decision-making framework that can be distributed inside an organization. Grove then spends time talking about the role of planning, in which he introduces a framework called objectives and key results OKRs.
Additionally, Grove dives into the basic mechanics of planning, which involves three basic components:. One of the reasons why I love High Output Management is because Grove breaks things down into easily understandable building blocks. There's no b. There's so much substance packed into every single page. Grove also spent a couple chapters discussing organizational structures, including the benefits of hybrid organizations with matrix structures. One of the biggest challenges is the notion of dual reporting, which is difficult, but oftentimes necessary. One of my favorite sections is in regards to modes of control.
Grove talks about incentives and how these behaviors are exhibited in the workplace. Specifically, they are:. Free-market forces are based on price.