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Do Nothing!: How to Stop Overmanaging and Become a Great Leader Hardcover – June 14, 2012
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—ROBERT I. SUTTON, author of The No Asshole Rule
“With Do Nothing!, Keith Murnighan has clearly done something—something significant. He’s reconceptualized the idea of effective leadership through a compelling analysis that allows existing and prospective leaders to see how to work both less and better at their craft.”
—ROBERT B. CIALDINI, author of Influence
“Too often, new leaders find it difficult to delegate previous responsibilities or create a sea of activity during times of crisis. Instead, fighting these tendencies will lead to more effective leadership. Murnighan does a fantastic job demonstrating how this contrarian approach can actually be applied successfully in business. A must read.”
—MATTHEW B. McCALL, partner, New World Ventures
“Murnighan has, in what is both a unique and an innovative turnaround, identified that, contrary to popular opinion, leadership turns out to be as much about what you don’t do as what you do. The best leaders today and in the future will look more like basketball coaches than great players, rarely engaging in the day-to-day delivery but more often focused on strategy and doing little other than letting great players run with the ball.”
—GLEN TULLMAN, CEO, Allscripts
“Do Nothing! provides a unique and somewhat counterintuitive approach to running a business. By moving away from micromanaging, Keith tells us that we can help employees grow and give ourselves more time to focus on the bigger picture. This valuable guide will help everyone who reads it to manage better and accomplish more.”
—MICHAEL REINSDORF, president, Chicago Bulls
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Top Customer Reviews
As he notes, here's a familiar challenge: "Things [begin italics] are [end italics] simpler when other people are in charge and you don't have to make big decisions. Taking over as a leader means that you must depart from the comfort of the status quo, and the anxiety, fear, and uncertainty that accompany your excitement really are noxious. To avoid these feelings, people naturally fall back on what's familiar and certain - that is, what they know how to do. Unfortunately, this can be truly counterproductive." Why? There are some tasks best completed by a leader; most other tasks can - and should - be completed by others (i.e. direct reports). No one person can do [begin italics] everything [end italics]. Leaders should commit most of their time and energy to being facilitators and orchestators.
I agree with Murnighan's analogy: "When things are really clicking, work will be like the performance of a great Beethoven symphony, with the notes in the right place, the crescendos coming on time, and at the end, a feeling of exhilaration at your collective accomplishments. Leaders and their teams [begin italics] never [end italics] experience this kind of thrill when leaders do too much." Quite true.Read more ›
2. Step into the shoes of those you lead, assume the best and provide them with the resources they need to succeed
3. THEN get out of their way, except when your orchestration is needed.
That seems simply yet, as I, and probably you, have experienced, first hand, it is remarkably rare. That's why Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management professor, J Keith Murnigham in his book, Do Nothing! lays out a rationale and road map to move away from micro-managing to "leading, facilitating and orchestrating." Not surprisingly Keith is a fan of Carol Dweck's advocacy of a growth Mindset - a book I heartily recommend Mindset: The New Psychology of Success
I agree with much of the common sense, general advice in his book, such as "doing too much is far worse than doing too little," yet in business as in art, it is often a matter of exactly where you draw the line.
He writes, "When things are really clicking, work will be like the performance of a great Beethoven symphony, with the notes in the right place, the crescendos coming on time, and at the end, a feeling of exhilaration at your collective accomplishments." I also know that feeling, first hand, when at the Wall Street Journal, with a bureau chief who seemed to know how to bring out the unique talents of each of us, and when to have a tight rein and when to let it loose. The art in leading or managing, it seems to me is in know when to do both, especially in times of internal conflict where I would have liked to have read more advice from Murnigham.Read more ›
On the other hand, the subtitle is perfect: "How to Stop Overmanaging and Become a Great Leader." Yes, perfect description, indeed!
The book was written by noted consultant and award-winning professor, J. Keith Murnighan (pronounced, Mernyin) of the prestigious Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. His basic premise is that most leaders do too much actual work themselves. And, when they do, they cannot be as effective, thoughtful, or as strategic as they might otherwise be. More than that, their team members are underutilized and under-challenged.
This makes a lot of sense as many leaders, by their very nature, combine confidence in themselves with a lack of confidence - or trust - that others can do as good a job as they can.
Professor Murnighan suggests that instead, leaders should focus their attention on the areas that will leverage organizational success. He says they should think, make key decisions, help when needed and add some organizational control.
The result: team members reveal skills and performance that far exceed what others might think they are capable of. This increases morale, productivity, and... profitability! Throughout the book, the author raises a number of fascinating insights regarding human motivation and the differences in thought processes. I especially enjoyed learning about the differences in "fixed mindset" and "growth mindset." Really, the more I think about it, the author is a master in terms of what moves people.
This is a book filled with wisdom that can benefit all who embrace his teachings.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Book could have been 80% shorter and suffers from a presumption that you have team members capable of stepping up. But doesn't tell you how to figure that out.Published 7 months ago by Victor J. Medina
For leaders, the path to success is "stop working and start leading". Keith Murnighan writes that great leaders don't "do"; great leaders:
*... Read more
This is an excellent err my book for me as ridership skills. Trust, tough love and straight honest communication s seem to be the key.Published on February 8, 2014 by Jim Thomas
Not so many original thoughts, most of them could be compressed into a much shorter brochure. After the first third of the book, I had to force myself into reading it.Published on June 3, 2013 by Alexey Leshchenko
From time to time I come across books that surprise me. This is one of them, although it did receive very few reviews. Read morePublished on May 24, 2013 by Alexandre Winkler
I gave this as a gift to my boss. It provides needed help to the micro manager if he or she has the humility to see why this management style does not result in long term employee... Read morePublished on March 4, 2013 by Greyfedora
Do Nothing!: How to Stop Overmanaging and Become a Great Leader
This book challenges the usual thinking pattern about leadership. Read more
Keith Murnighan's new book 'Do Nothing'(tm) is a combination of shock and awe, using counter-intuitive thinking to accelerate your learning.
Want to get to a goal? Read more
I have enjoyed the book and am already applying some of the concepts. I feel that it's been worth the time spent reading it. Read morePublished on September 10, 2012 by Stanislav Satsuk