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High Output Management Paperback – August 29, 1995
"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover," illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Learn more
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This is a user-friendly guide to the art and science of management from Andrew S. Grove, the president of America's leading manufacturer of computer chips. Groves recommendations are equally appropriate for sales managers, accountants, consultants, and teachers--anyone whose job entails getting a group of people to produce something of value. Adapting the innovations that have made Intel one of America's most successful corporations, High Output Management teaches you:
what techniques and indicators you can use to make even corporate recruiting as precise and measurable as manufacturing
how to turn your subordinates and coworkers into members of highly productive team
how to motivate that team to attain peak performance every time
Combining conceptual elegance with a practical understanding of the real-life scenarios that managers encounter every day, High Output Management is one of those rare books that have the power to revolutionize the way we work
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This book (High Output Management) dates from 1983 and it shows in the tone and subject matter. The book predates widespread email and talks a lot about manufacturing. However, these are not shortcomings. In fact, it is great that the author is not distracted by things like agile, lean, kanban, etc modern marvels. He makes an analogy between a fast food restaurant and other processes, including knowledge work and HR, and the analogy holds up. Of course, he also gives examples from his work at Intel.
- what are high leverage activities and how to focus on them
- how many direct reports are optimal
- different types of meetings and how to run them, including 1:1s
- task relevant maturity (TRM) of employees and how to manage them accordingly
- how to give performance feedback
- compensation and promotions
- why and how you should invest in training programs
- how to try to keep an employee who is quitting
Everything is meat and potatoes of people and process management, and to the point. As I was reading this book, much of it resonated with my own experience, and at other times I was amazed at insights that showed me how Andy Grove truly was a top manager, after starting as a researcher and engineer.
I wish I had a mentor or manager as wise as Andy Grove.
1. The hard thing about hard things, by Ben Horowitz
2. High output management, by Andy Grove (this book)
3. The life changing magic of tidying up, by Marie Kondo (yes, I know it's not a business or strategy book, but I consider it a philosophy book)
If you don't read a lot of management or business strategy books, I'd recommend you start with The Hard Things, as Horowitz has a lighter voice, and his book is funnier and an easier read. In Hard Things, Horowitz geeks out about his mentors / role models, including Andy Grove. If you like Hard Things and want to take the master class, you should definitely read this book. Grove is amazingly insightful, and his philosophy is inspiring.
This book is great for both new and experienced managers since it provides valuable frameworks and strategies for all kinds of common managerial tasks. Below are the core topics covered in this book:
* Delegation - In order to maximize leverage, a manager needs an optimal number of subordinates to whom he can delegate to. Successful delegation provides lots of leverage, whereas poor delegation ends up netting no leverage since it turns into errors and micro-management.
* Meetings - Meetings are extraordinarily expensive to a company. There are three types of recurring meetings: one-on-one's, staff meetings, and operational reviews. Each of these meetings should have a clear framework for maximizing value and minimizing time-waste. There are also one-off meetings centered around making a particular decision - such meetings should be especially carefully planned and executed since they are often scheduled ad-hoc without a clear purpose and with too many participants.
* Making decisions - When making decisions, there's a fragile power dynamic that needs to be carefully handled. Managers should facilitate free and open discussion amongst all parties until a consensus emerges. In cases where a consensus does not emerge naturally, the manager should push for a decision.
* Dual reporting - Dual reporting is inevitable in most large organizations. Consider advertising: should each division of a company decide and pursue its own advertising campaign, or should all of it be handled through a single corporate entity? The optimum solution calls for the use of dual reporting where each division controls most of their own advertising messages but a coordinating body of peers consisting of the various divisional marketing managers chooses the advertising agency and creative direction.
* Motivating employees - Our society respects someone's throwing himself into sports, but anybody who works very long hours is regarded as sick or a workaholic. Imagine how productive our country would become if managers could endow all work with the characteristics of competitive sports? Eliciting peak performance means going up against something or somebody, and turning the workplace into a playing field where subordinates become athletes dedicated to performing at the limit of their capabilities.
* Performance reviews - Performance reviews are easily mistaken as simply a way to assess performance and evaluate compensation. The fundamental goal of a performance review is to improve the subordinates performance. A review will influence a subordinate's performance for a long time, which makes the activity one of the manager's highest-leverage activities. Thus great care needs to be taken in the preparation and delivery of a performance review.
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Easy to see why its turned into a classic.