Tuesday, 11 April 2017

The New One Minute Manager book review

Just like many other business books this book also has a very low signal/noise ratio. Almost all of the first 2/3rd of the book is just self-promotional stuff, about how this entitled manager is everyone's favourite because he follows one-minute management techniques. One minute employee goal reviews, one-minute problem resolutions, one-minute performance review. Guess how much he lasts in bed?

But the book gets better from chapter 11 onwards. Here are some key insights that follow.

1) Many managers have the habit of gunnysacking the feedback to their employees. That is, storing up observations of poor behaviour until frustration builds up, and when that happens they release it all in a dump all at once. Things don't go so well on the receiving end,  too much info, too much fact checking to combat rationally, and the employee naturally becomes defensive, defending her actions to the point of distorting facts even, and not owning what was done wrong, leaving the discussion resentful.

2) Being Tough and Nice is better than being Nice and Tough. There was once an emperor in China, who called his Prime Minister (second in command) and said to him "Why don't we divide up the tasks, you do all the punishing and I will do all the rewarding". PM said OK. Some time went by, the empereor realised that people would ignore his orders (coz of his rewarding nature) but would strictly obey the PM's orders. So the Emperor called the PM again and ordered him "Why don't we divide the tasks again, you do all the rewarding, and I shall do all the punishing.". PM said OK, and they switched roles. Within a month there was a revolt. The emperor had been a nice and rewarding person, and now he suddenly started punishing people left and right. People said "What's up with this old codger?". When they came to look for a replacement, guess who they chose ? The PM, who had won people over his recent change of heart from ruthless to kind and rewarding.


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