Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The One Minute Manager, Kenneth Blanchard & Spencer Johnson

"Short, simple, maybe even simplistic, but useful in practice."

That's a classic book arguing that management of people can be simple (one minute) by applying three basic concepts: Goal setting, praising, reprimand.
There is one key concept stating that it's easier to learn by knowing what to do (i.e. what is right), instead of knowing what not to do (i.e. what is wrong).
This is achieved by putting in place clarity with written goal setting, praising of right behaviours, and reprimanding bad behaviours when the goals and the right behaviours are known.

One Minute Goal Setting
  • Agree on goals, and write each goal on a single page with less than 250 words.
  • Take a minute regularly to look at your performance and check if your behavior matches your goal.
One Minute Praising
  • Praise people immediately and tell them specifically what they did right.
  • Tell people how you feel about their behaviour, and how this impacts the success of other people and the whole organization.
  • Encourage them to do more of the same.
One Minute Reprimand
  • Reprimand people immediately and tell them specifically what they did wrong.
  • Tell people how you feel about their behaviour.
  • Explain that you reprimand the behaviour, and still you value the people.
  • When the reprimand is over, it's over.

Even though the model is quite simplistic, there is one extremely powerful concept that can be used in practice, which is: "Catch people doing something right".
The reason is simple: It's much easier to learn by knowing what to do instead what not to do.
This is indeed a huge motivator for employees, who are rewarded for their successes.
Additionally, when people are rewarded for their good job, they accept more easily the critics (or reprimands).
In my team, this turns out to be a powerful tool.

  • rating Amazon - 4.1/5.0 (212 reviews)
  • my rating - 4.0/5.0
  • fun factor - 4.0/5.0
  • simplicity - 4.5/5.0
  • impact - 5.0/5.0

Monday, December 27, 2010

Motivation, Formats, and Metrics

I use to choose my books by reading the reviews in Amazon.
In general, the metrics I use are:
  • Average rating - the higher the rating, the higher the quality (really?)
  • Amount of reviews - the more reviews, the more credible the rating
Even though this is an excellent starting point (I love Amazon), I still have two open questions for my "business" reading:
  • Is it funny and easy enough to read in my rare free time?
  • Is the content really useful for me, my team and/or my startup?
This last point is very important, because I don't just want to learn new things, I also want these new things to improve my own work, and the work of my team.

I will try to stay as simple as possible, by posting:
  • Summary - the shortest summary I can distill
  • Models/concepts - a compact description of the models/concepts
  • Impact - my experience in the application of those models/concepts
Additionally, I will post few metrics (see next section).

Well, as you can imagine, I will use metrics answering to my needs (in the hope that they are useful for someone else):
  • Rating Amazon - average rating (amount of reviews)
  • My rating - my general rating about the book
  • Fun factor - how funny or boring is the book (there are a lot of boring books in management)
  • Simplicity - rating of structure and style for easy reading
  • Impact - how much and how easy to apply

That's it.

Stay posted...