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The One Minute Manager Meets The Monkey
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70 of 71 people found the following review helpful
Format: Hardcover
Many people in an organization focus on managing the boss rather than doing their own job. What better way to manage the boss than to constantly seek her/his guidance on everything? Then, the boss can be flattered that you want his/her help, and will also take the blame if anything goes wrong. Insecure bosses like to be involved, so that fewer "errors" occur.
This wonderful book points out that no one can learn without making errors. Also, if you and your subordinate are doing the same job, one of you is superfluous. A common source of stalled thinking in this area is focusing on the fact that you, as manager, can do the job better and faster than you can teach the task or job to someone. What managers fail to realize is that someone closer to the source of the problem should be able to come up with a better solution. Also, the time taken to teach someone else to do the task is usually much less over a year or two than the time taken to help someone learn the task.
The key problem is that we all like to fall back on doing what we are comfortable with and are good at rather than new challenges where we are not so competent. Banish that feeling!
This book gives you lots of practical ideas for how to respond to efforts by your subordinates and colleagues to delegate their work and responsibility to you. You will learn how to see them coming and to keep the monkey where it belongs: with them.
If you find that you are pressed for time, this book is an important source of ideas to free up your life to have less stress while you and your organization both accomplish more.
Good luck with taking care of your monkey business! It's an important step toward developing an irresistible growth enterprise.
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34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on April 5, 2000
Format: Paperback
The one minute manager's symbol, a one-minute readout from the face of a modern digital watch, is intended to remind each of us to take a minute out of our day to look into the faces of the people we manage. The monkey manger's symbol a stressed manager overwhelmed by a desk full of problems, is intended to remind us to constantly discipline ourselves to invest our time on the most vital aspects of management rather than dilute our effectiveness by "doing more efficiently those things that shouldn't be done in the first place." What follows, is a story of a manger who worked long hours and never seemed to get caught up with all the work he had to do. He learned about monkey management and how not to take initiative away from his people so they can care for and feed their own monkeys. In the process, he learned to be more effective in dealing with his own manager and the demands of his organization. The performance of his department drastically improved, as did the prospects for his career. The authors hope is that you will use what you learn in this book to make a difference in your life and the lives of the people you interact with at work and at home.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on March 25, 1999
Format: Paperback
The One Minute Manager's symbol- a one-minute readout from the face of a modern digital watch- is intended to remind each of us to take a minute out of our day to look into the faces of the people we manage. And to realize that they are our most important resources. The Monkey Manager's symbol- a harried manager overwhelmed by a deskful of problems- is intended to remind us to constantly discipline ourselves to invest our time on the most vital aspects of management rather than dilute our effectiveness by "doing more efficiently those things that shouldn't be done in the first place." What follows is a story about a harried manager who worked long, hard hours, yet never quite seemed to get caught up with all the work he had to do. He learned about monkey management and how not to take initiative away from his people so they can care for and feed their own "monkeys." In the process, he learned to be more effective in dealing with his own manager and the demands of his organization. The performance of his department drastically improved as did the prospects for his career. The authors hope is that you will use what you learn in this book to make a difference in your life and the lives of the people you interact with at work, and at home.
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39 of 43 people found the following review helpful
Format: Paperback
This book does a great job of helping people focus on their own work.
Many people in an organization focus on managing the boss rather than doing their own job. What better way to manage the boss than to constantly seek her/his guidance on everything? Then, the boss can be flattered that you want his/her help, and will also take the blame if anything goes wrong. Insecure bosses like to be involved, so that fewer "errors" occur.
This wonderful book points out that no one can learn without making errors. Also, if you and your subordinate are doing the same job, one of you is superfluous. A common source of stalled thinking in this area is focusing on the fact that you, as manager, can do the job better and faster than you can teach the task or job to someone. What managers fail to realize is that someone closer to the source of the problem should be able to come up with a better solution. Also, the time taken to teach someone else to do the task is usually much less over a year or two than the time taken to help someone learn the task.
The key problem is that we all like to fall back on doing what we are comfortable with and are good at rather than new challenges where we are not so competent. Banish that feeling!
This book gives you lots of practical ideas for how to respond to efforts by your subordinates and colleagues to delegate their work and responsibility to you. You will learn how to see them coming and to keep the monkey where it belongs: with them.
If you find that you are pressed for time, this book is an important source of ideas to free up your life to have less stress while you and your organization both accomplish more.
Good luck with taking care of your monkey business! It's an important step toward developing an irresistible growth enterprise.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on April 6, 1999
Format: Paperback
In my role as advisor to CEOs, I find one of their major problems is taking on all of the decision-making in their companies. This is a waste of time for them and their organizations. Many of the CEOs know that they need to change in this area, but do not know what to do . "The One Minute Manager Meets the Monkey " is just the advice they need. By taking on too much, one person can become a worse stranglehold on an organization's progress than a whole bureaucracy is. For great advice on how to find your other bad habits as a manager or executive, and how to improve them to get more done in less time, and with less strain, you should read "The 2,000 Percent Solution". That book shows you how to overcome the 7 most common bad habits that executives and organizations have, and shows you a master process to being much more effective in your most important activities.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on September 4, 2002
Format: Paperback
Buy the book or better yet listen to the tape then watch the change in your attitude Monday morning.
A good meter for a manager to know if he has too many monkeys is by comparing e-mail inbaskets, since that is where so many of us spend much of our time nowadays. My own is usually over 300 items while my staff's is usually under 20. I thought about each of these as a monkey and then also thought back over all the one-on-one conversations I had had with each of them (7 people). In most cases, it was usually left that I would do something next, and that fits in perfectly with this book. True to the book and the tape, I spend countless hours to catch up, only to fall further behind.
The book is pretty good, but the tape is far superior. There are two tapes; the first one is a speech by Bill Oncken Jr, and he is just a fantastic story-teller. He really brings to life the story of the manager whose staff is all waiting on him, the stress he feels, and the revelation that hits him when he sees them golfing when he goes in on the weekend. Of course this is all written before the days of e-mail, but it still works. You can feel the energy in his voice rising as he turns his life around and puts all the monkeys back where they belong, and the final line where he gets the whole audience to shout "HOW'S IT GOING?!" to the new monkey-owner is a great ending.
The second tape is Ken Blanchard delivering the rest of the material, and while he's entertaining, it's not nearly as good as Oncken's "day-in-the-life" tale. He ties the material back to the One-Minute Manager, and touches on some psychological issues.
They also stress that this isn't just an exercise in delegating and taking work off the manager's hand, it is just as important as a developmental process for the subordinate.
As a side-note, it's interesting that there is no mention anywhere in the book of Spencer Johnson, the co-author of the original book The One Minute Manager, who invented the system. In all the author biographies and Thank-You's, he is never mentioned, I wonder if he and Blanchard had a parting of company. And the book itself makes almost no mention at all about what One-Minute Manager is all about, it seems just a way to put a popular title to a book about monkey management,
although I think this monkey manual is the better book.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on October 25, 2012
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I'm surprised by the number of 5 star reviews for this book. While I agree with the general message, I did not find this book to be excellent by any means.

The book is based on the premise that each problem that manifests itself in your business can be likened to a 'monkey' that sits on your back or pesters you. When you sit to discuss a problem with an employee, the problem or monkey, takes one step off of your employees back and places one foot on yours.

The two of you discuss the problem for a bit. Often (I've been guilty of this many times), the manager tells the employee that they personally would like to think about it or take some course of action and get back to the employee regarding the problem. At this point the monkey is entirely free from the employee and has both feet planted on the manager.

I found the analogy to be true, and helpful in the sense that many problems are dynamic processes, and likening them to an animal on someone's back (or straddled between two people's back) is a good way of visualizing accountability.

The risk of the manager taking on the monkey is that they becomes the bottleneck for the problems to be solved. It is often made worse by the fact that often a manager can in fact solve the employee's problem better and perhaps faster than the employee in question. The book argues this is irrelevant, as this results in less overall output for the organization and amounts to the manager essentially doing the employee's work for them.

What the book basically argues is that problems should generally stay with employees. Decisions should be made as low organizationally as possible... Sometimes though a problem or monkey is rightfully one that the manager should take on.

When encountering a problem, the process (from the book):

1) Define the problem and determine the next appropriate moves
2) Assign the problem at the appropriate organizational level (as low as possible)
3) Place insurance on the problem (for low-risk problems let the employee act and advise you later. For high risk problems, let the employee get back to you with recommendations from which you'll pick the next course of action)
4) Follow up / assess progress

Sometimes an employee will still come to you with questions, or still have the expectation that the problem is still somehow your monkey... It takes time to allow people to become fully accountable. The book advises pushing people to do their best - by letting them own a monkey that organizationally is appropriate for them to handle. Mistakes are ok, and are necessary for people to learn, so long as they are not costly ones.

While I liked the book, I found that it was quite drawn out in delivering the message from above. It could have been more concise (despite the fact that it is only 130 pages in large typeface)...

What also was sorely lacking in the book were case studies. This is really an ok / enjoyable read that could have been amazing with some extra work on the specifics of implementation. The book was written in highly general terms, and in my humble opinion not quite good enough to earn the 4/5 star reviews others have given it.

I still like the book and would recommend reading it (only took a couple hours or so), but I'm certain that there are better books on management out there that could be higher on the list.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on August 4, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Just as when parents allow a child to get a pet, then end up changing the hamster papers, walking the dog at midnight in a thunderstorm, and taking out the kitty litter; so do some managers spend all their time taking care of their employee's "monkeys". This book uses humor to teach managers the art of delegation, handing the monkeys back to their owners and giving them the responsibility of caring and feeding. But that is not all. Most managers will profit greatly by reading the techniques of monkey hand-off. This is especially true if you've ever been accused of micro-management. However some managers are great at the handing off the monkeys and then forget to followup on their condition. This book also talks about follow-up check-ups and insurance policies to make sure that monkeys are healthy. As employees become better and better monkey tenders, then less follow-up and insurance is needed. However a manager does need to continue periodic check-ups because he is ultimately responsible for the project.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on August 23, 1998
Format: Paperback
I do leadership seminars for managers called "Survival Tactics for the 21st Century Jungle," and find that many of you are suffering from self inflicted wounds when it comes to taking on the "problems" of your team. Learn how to send those "help-me's" back to their rightful owner, increase productivity, and GET YOUR LIFE BACK with this wonderful hilarious book. (PS the tape is one of the best on the planet - very funny!)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I literally read this book in a 40 minute ride to the airport. I used it as a topic for one of my meetings with the 9 apartment managers I oversee as a regional portfolio manager with a national Reit. The One Minute Manager Meets the Monkey gives a humorous but truthful look at mistakes we all make as leaders.

My managers loved it and we all now have boxes of plastic monkey's on our desk as a reminder of when to give the problem or "Monkey" back to the associate that gave it to us. This works well in your personal life too!
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