Author: Aubrey C. Daniels
Thickness: 190 pages
Tagline: “13 Management Practices That Waste Time And Money (and what to do instead)”
Gosh! It sure has been a while since I last posted a book review, as per my personal commitment to read, read, read (and review, review, review…of course). I realise that much of the challenge may not be the lack of time to read, but possibly the lack of time to review them! I already have a growing stack of books that needs reviewing…
Anyway, I was recommended to read this book which was supposed to shed some refreshing insights on Management Practices…13 to be exact. The lure of the book is basically getting to know what are 13 normal management (or mis-management, rather) practices that may have been over-used worldwide and what we could or should do instead.
The book is written by one of the more renown management gurus, Mr Aubrey Daniels, so it was certainly worth a read.
For those who are working or specifically in management or HR, the content is very much relevant and hits the nail on the head most of the time.
As you read through the 13 practices, you’d more often than not find yourself chuckle and go “Yeah…that makes sense!” It’s also shocking to see how many of these practices are still widely promoted in many companies around the world!
For example the books shares that the “Employee of the Month” practice (which is very widely used all over the world) is essentially a no-no because the largest number of people impacted positively by this method is exactly…ONE! Everyone else would be visibly upset. Besides, it is also not personal, not immediate, not contingent and not frequent.
Another one that I liked is the popular practice known as ‘The Sandwich’. It is aptly named as a method for correcting performance where criticism is sandwiched between two positive statements. The book mentions that this practice will do well to ensure the main message is missed altogether! Check out this sample ‘sandwiched’ message that clearly confuses the intended employee:
“You are one of the best employees we’ve got, when you are here. If you don’t improve your attendance in the next two months, we are going to have to terminate you. Why, you have more talent in your little finger than most people have in their whole body and that is why I am so concerned about you.”
The suggested method to use instead would be one where the corrective feedback is given in a more straightforward manner by emphasizing on the specific, desired behaviour to take place. The alternative address to the sample above is as follows:
“Tim, you have been late three days this week. I have spoken to you about this before and you know how important it is for you to be here on timebecause other employees cannot complete their work until you do yours. If you are late again this month, you will be terminated. Do you have any questions? Now, what can I do to help you be punctual?”
Good stuff, huh?
Although this is supposed to be a management book (read: boring), I found the writing of Mr Daniels very easy to follow. Even if I had no prior knowledge or background in HR management, I would still be able to understand the message he is trying to deliver.
Mr Daniels has managed to avoid too many business jargons and kept me interested through simple layman illustrations as he goes through each of the management practices. Nice!
Glue Factor (difficulty of putting the book down!)
It’s a management book…sheesh!
My way of saying that management books are typically not glue-y at all. Nevertheless, Mr Daniels has managed to inject some humourous illustrations and cartoons too that surely helps in keeping the reader not putting down the book for too long!
Overall, an excellent book that critically debunks many of the more popular management practices and offers more refreshing and innovative solutions instead.
Of course, as with all management books, for every book that promotes Method A, there will be another book that will promote Method B. So whilst I tend to agree with most of the content of the book, I also believe that not all methods or suggestions can work for every company.
Definitely worth a read!