9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Ten years ago, I read and then reviewed Thomas O. Davenport's Human Capital: What It Is and Why People Invest It, also published by Jossey-Bass (1999). In my review, I praised the book for its rock-solid content that includes several valuable insights about a then neglected dimension of determining organizational value. I stated that Chapter 9, "Optimizing and Measuring Human Capital Investment," all by itself, is well worth the cost of the hardbound edition.
Now in Davenport's latest book, co-authored with Stephen D. Harding, the focus is much narrower than in the previous book: it is primarily on those who comprise middle management, "between the world of employees and the territory occupied by senior leaders." That said, my own opinion is that C-level executives must also read this book because they possess the authority to decide whether or not to adopt and then support what Davenport and Harding characterize as "a new model of manager performance."
Actually, it is hardly new, for two reasons: It draws upon extensive prior research discussed in scholarly articles published years ago; also, Davenport and Harding have direct access to decades of other research data accumulated by the firm with which they are associated, Towers Watson (formerly Towers Perrin), including its 2010 "Global Workplace Study."
Here are the four categories of manager performance requirements, Pages 52-56:
Executing Tasks: "This element comprises planning work, clarifying job-related roles, structuring specific job tasks, monitoring performance, and making the necessary adjustments to ensure the work meets organizational needs and supports business strategy."
Developing People: "The next element of the performance model calls for managers to create opportunities for each employee to add to her storehouse of human capital. In doing so, managers create the ability for people to carry out their jobs and achieve their goals.
Delivering the Deal: "Managers play a central role in brokering the exchange of each employee's investment of human capital for the portfolio of financial and nonfinancial, intrinsic and extrinsic rewards that constitute a return on that investment. We refer to this reciprocal arrangement as the deal between employee and enterprise."
Energizing Change: "Effective managers look ahead in time and outside the boundaries of their units and their organizations to anticipate and respond to environmental shifts and to envision, plan for, and create the future."
Although none of these observations is a head-snapping revelation (nor do Davenport and Harding make any such claim), together they provide an eminently sensible framework within which to flesh out the specific performance expectations for each manager in the given organization, whatever its size and nature may be.
The four elements are best viewed with an outside-in perspective whereas their foundation, Davenport and Harding correctly note, consists of self-awareness, relational transparency, balanced processing of relevant information, and an internalized moral perspective. These are the "underpinnings" of a manager's authenticity.
Davenport and Harding devote a separate chapter to each of the four elements In Part II: Implementation, Chapters 5-8, and then in the next chapter they focus on how to connect authenticity and trust, how to build trust through authenticity, and what the implications of management performance are. I especially appreciate their provision of a brief Summary at the conclusion of each of the ten chapters. This reader-friendly device will enable, indeed expedite periodic review of key points.
Obviously, it remains for those who read this book to determine which of the observations, insights, and recommendations are most relevant to her or his own organization. Their next task will be to incorporate this material into a comprehensive, cohesive, and cost-effective game plan that includes a case statement, strategies, tactics, objectives, a time-frame, and preferably metrics by which to track progress of initiatives. Fortunately, one of several value-added benefits that Davenport and Harding provide is a rationale that will be needed to recruit, enlist, and then engage the scope and depth of support throughout the enterprise that will be needed.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
Manager Redefined is a book that should be required reading for every HR professional and Organizational Design expert. Davenport and Harding have provided perhaps the most comprehensive discussion and description of the changes required to create value via management. While this book stands on the shoulders of many, from the work of Drucker and Mintzberg to survey work from Towers Perrin, it makes its own statement about the role and future of management.
The book is comprehensive, well researched, filled with good tools and clear guidelines on what it takes to be a manager and the discipline of management. The book advances the definition of the discipline, which is sorely needed. Davenport and Harding bring managers and their organizational value to the forefront in this book.
Brilliant in its recognition and explanation that management and leadership are not two ends of the same continuum. They are related, but this book clearly sets the record straight and avoids falling into the same old trap that managers are technical and leaders are strategic. The authors do a great job of cutting through this issue and laying out a clear argument and distinction for both.
Good case studies of real companies and the management issues they face. The authors are able to go deep into these companies, like CISCO, and understand what they are doing, the investments they are making and the results they hope to achieve.
Concise and clear. There are few books with as many highlights, comments and cross-references than this one. The book goes directly to providing specific actions, competencies and frameworks to help people think through the issues, responsibilities and factors involved in modern management.
Well developed tools to help managers thing about their job, how they do their work and their position in the enterprise.
The book is somewhat academic in its approach and tone to an essentially human and personal occupation. This is the primary reason why I would recommend this book for professionals who are students of management or have to deal with creating management positions and managers rather than managers themselves.
The book is somewhat impersonal. While there are stories from individual managers, the book spends more time describing management in technical terms rather than helping people see what it means to be a modern manager. If Davenport and Harding are looking to create a book with broader appeal, then they should write a shorter/lighter a `pop' piece to reach individual managers and be more focused around managers speaking in the first person.
The book is a little repetitive, particularly in discussing how complex and hard a manager's work is and in the use of some of its data sources. This is not a huge challenge but a point.
The book loses its way in the sense that its main premise was to show how managers and management are a source of value in the future. While the book does show this, it loses its focus in favor of discussing and dissecting management and managers.
Manager Redefined is highly recommended for students of the discipline of management or those that need to understand and design management systems. HR and organizational design professionals should study this book and adopt its recommendations. Recommended for managers to read as well, but this is more a book for people who study management which is the only reason it is a four star book in my opinion.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 7, 2012
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
I picked up MANAGER REDEFINED and put it down 5 hours later. The authors have diagnosed a critical opportunity for improved company performance and have challenged every business leader to rethink his/her definition of and investment in the role of the middle manager in their businesses. With abundant data and clarity, Davenport and Harding shine a bright light on this often missing focus in business planning at the operational and board levels. But, the book gets better: they present a thoughtful,practical blueprint and model to address this critical talent gap. The discussed "going forward" model is both pragmatic and simple to understand and adapt. They also professionally challenge the reader to fully appreciate the amount of hard leadership work and fundamental paradigm shift in approaches to the selection and coaching of the middle manager. I will make this book required reading in all my future business school courses. Current human resources leaders will find this book an excellent platform upon which to launch necessary senior line officer conversations and actions to produce better performance from this historically misunderstood and under appreciated job category.
richard sibbernsen, retired executive vice president ATT.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 27, 2011
As a 3-time CEO and former management consultant for F1000 executives, I highly recommend this book. Middle managers impact every customer and every employee, yet many CEOs and senior executives don't think about them. And even if they do, they're not sure what to think. Not to fear. In this book Davenport and Harding provide highly practical, almost scientific insight into what managers should and can do, and what truly separates good managers from bad. The authors challenge the mythology that exists about managers, and perhaps more importantly, they provide senior executives with tools for how to improve the caliber of managers in their own companies. In many companies these tools could prove far more powerful than yet another reorg. And if you truly believe that your company's people are your greatest potential source for building competitive advantage, then this book (along with Davenport's earlier one on Human Capital) is an excellent guidepost.