Andrew S. Grove, the former president and CEO of Intel, offers remarkably clear, simple and workable guidance for managers.
Andrew S. Grove, the former president and CEO of Intel, also served as a professor at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business. So, between running one of the most thoughtful, process-aware companies in the world and teaching at Stanford, Grove understands how to communicate. And whether you’re managing a multinational corporation or a family store, he can help you boost your output.
Drawing on decades of experience, Grove shares his top tips for navigating today’s corporate world and offers methods for maximizing your leverage as a leader. He explains how to motivate people by acting in the best interests of your company and creating a culture that supports self-actualization. He also addresses a range of practical concerns, from making decisions to monitoring leading operational indicators.
Turning the workplace into a playing field can turn our subordinates into ‘athletes’ dedicated to performing at the limit of their capabilities – the key to making our team consistent winners.Andrew S. Grove
Grove offers an almost shocking departure from typical former CEO business books. This is neither an endless succession of pats on his own back nor a high-minded explication of his business philosophies. Grove offers sophisticated yet straightforward, wholly practical guidance. That is, this guide really can guide you. Whether you move page by page or chapter by chapter or use the index to see how he addresses a specific problem, Grove lays out how you should think, organize and proceed to solve pretty much every fundamental management challenge. He proves not in the least full of himself, especially given his accomplishments.
Famed business author Peter Drucker called High Output Management, “a great book,” and said, “Its elementary prescriptions form the basis of a highly effective management style.” The New York Times called it, “A highly credible handbook for organizing work and directing and developing employees.” If you seek a helpful ancillary read, Robert B. Cialdini’s Influence addresses parallel management issues.
Grove lays out management issues step by step. He notes that any kind of production requires first meeting basic requirements: responding to customer need by creating and delivering a product at a specific time, at the lowest cost possible at an acceptable level of quality. He recommends figuring out which production process is your most “limiting step” – the action that requires the most time and resources – and then designing your operations to tackle this step more efficiently.
Grove is adamant that the measure of success is your employees’ results, not the time they spend on their tasks. He recommends increasing productivity by prioritizing high-leverage activities – tasks that create high output – and by simplifying work, for example, using automation or other tools to increase production.
The art of management lies in the capacity to select from the many activities of seemingly comparable significance the one or two or three that provide leverage well beyond the others and concentrate on them.Andrew S. Grove
The useful structure of Grove’s book mirrors his advice to take a consistent approach each time you tackle the same task and to create a systematic way to deal with interruptions so you impose patterns on irregularities. Stifling irregularities is one of Grove’s crucial themes.
He recommends regularly scheduled, process-oriented meetings to share knowledge and information. If you plan a mission-oriented meeting, Grove suggests first determining what you intend to accomplish so you can decide if the meeting is really necessary. If you don’t know what you want to achieve, he says, don’t call the meeting.
Grove notes that skilled managers strike a balance between top-down and decentralized structures. As organizations grow and change, Grove calls for setting up teams to deal with new challenges and instituting peer-based decision-making processes.
He describes three stages of making a team or group decision. First, engage in free discussion in a gathering that provides an egalitarian forum for controversy and debate. Second, the leaders come to a clear decision. Third, and for Grove this is important, everyone involved supports that decision, even if it wasn’t the outcome they preferred individually.
Grove says flat out that managers are only as effective as their teams. He asserts that managers must understand why others are failing to do their jobs. To determine if underperforming team members lack capability or motivation, ask if they could perform their task if their life depended on it. If they could, Grove concludes, they lack motivation, not capability.
When the training process goes well, it is nothing short of exhilarating. And even this exhilaration is dwarfed by the warm feeling you’ll get when you see a subordinate practice something you have taught.Andrew S. Grove
The author maintains that managers must embrace coaching as part of building trusting relationships with team members. And, he insists, you must personally train the people who report to you. Grove always found training employees very rewarding and stresses that you will too.
For All Managers
Grove’s generous spirit and enthusiasm vest every page. He never talks down to the reader and, given the complexity of thought and strategy that made Intel such a powerhouse, his down-to-earth tone and keen appreciation of human foibles make his advice all the more welcome, intuitive and practical. Never mind the almost absurdly cheesy cover and horrible graphics; they might lead you to the erroneous conclusion that this is a slapdash work of little value. In fact, it’s a manager’s bible that every executive will be relieved to have on his or her shelf when a crisis – or just some everyday little problem – arises.