HBR Guide to Managing Up and Across: A book review by Bob Morris

Posted on: June 5th, 2013 by bobmorris

Managing Up and AcrossHBR Guide to Managing Up and Across
HBR Editors and Various Contributors
Harvard Business Review Press (2013)

How and why to manage up to nourish and manage across to connect extensively within and beyond the given enterprise

This is one of the first volumes in a new series of anthologies of articles previously published in Harvard Business Review, in this instance 24 of them plus two adaptations from books, in which their authors share their insights concerning a major business subject: managing up and across throughout the given enterprise. As is also true of volumes in other such series, notably HBR Essentials, HBR Must Reads, and HBR Management Tips, HBR Guides offer great value in several ways. Here are two: Cutting-edge thinking from 25-30 sources in a single volume at a price ($14.55) from Amazon in the bound version) for a small fraction of what article reprints would cost.

The material was selected to help those who read this book to improve in areas that include advancing an agenda — and a career — with smarter networking, building relationships that bring targets and deadlines within reach, persuading decision-making to champion initiatives, collaborating more effectively with colleagues, dealing with new and more challenging (even incompetent and/or toxic) bosses, and navigating office politics.

If you need assistance in any of these areas, this book will be of invaluable assistance now as well as in months and years to come.

These discussions of managing up were of greatest interest and value to me:

o “Winning Over Your New Boss”: Lew McCreary
o “Steps for Presenting Problems or Opportunities to Your Boss”: From Managing Up in HBR Pocket Mentor Series
o “How to Maker Your Boss Look Good”: Michael Schrage

And now these discussions of managing across:

o “The Discipline of Teams”: Jon R. Katzenbach and Douglas K. Smith
o “How to Deal with Office Products”: Linda A. Hill and Kent Lineback
o “The Ways Not to Persuade”: Jay A. Conger
o “Harnessing the Science of Persuasion”: Robert B. Cialdini

The other 19 articles are also of superior quality. It remains for each read to determine which subjects are of greatest relevance. All organizations need effective leadership and management at all levels and in all areas. Moreover, as Marshall Goldsmith correctly advises, “What got you here won’t get you there.” For individuals as well as organizations, measurable improvement must be continuous. The material in this book can make a substantial contribution to achieving that worthy objective.

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