March 21, 2005

Getting Results: Five absolutes for high performance

University of Michigan Business School (UMBS) management series. Written by Clinton O. Longenecker (boy, what a surname!) and Jack L. Simonetti.

Preface - p.xiv. "This book is for managers of all levels who are looking for ways to improve the performance not only of themselves but also of the people they are directly responsible for."
cover NLB Call No.: 658.314 LON - [Biz] (under "Business" section)
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The authors posits that there are 5 "absolutes" (defined as "something that possesses the characteristic of being complete in nature") for high performance. Extracted from p.6 (comments in [ ] are my own):
Absolute 1 - Get everyone on the same page: Focus on the purpose of your organisation.
[Manager to create & maintain focus on desired results for him/ herself, staff, and operations. Also to create a means to measure performance.]

Absolute 2 - Prepare for battle: Equip your operations with tools, talent, and technology
[Hire good people, develop effective planning practices, have ongoing training, ensure staff gets the tools they need to do their jobs.]

Absolute 3 - Stoke the fire of performance: Create a climate for results
[Create the climate to continually and systematically measure performance, solicit feedback, a climate that motivates people, and removes barriers to performance.]

Absolute 4 - Build bridges on the road to results: Nurture relationships with people
[This chapter talks about building trust and communicating with staff in meaningful ways. Suggests there are 4 key practices: forge effective 360-degree work relationships, demonstrate trustworthy leadership, practice all facets of effective communication, and fostering teamwork and cooperation.]

Absolute 5 - Keep the piano in tune: Practice continuous renewal
[Basically advocating the need to continually review and improve. Also talks about maintaining worklife balance. Being willing to develop others, and to develop a balanced worklife for ourselves.]
Observation -- the "Absolutes" are progressively harder to achieve. E.g. building in performance measurement on continual basis is relatively easier than nurturing relationships with staff.

The book contains worksheets for self-assessment and practice. Each chapter has a summary. Easy to read, and fairly practical as far as management books go. Writing style is kinda conversational. Pretty useful book. I'd recommend it.

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