Thinkers50 Management: A book review by Morris

50 Management5Thinkers50 Management: Cutting-Edge Thinking to Engage and Motivate Your Employees for Success
Stuart Crainer and Des Dearlove
McGraw-Hill Education (2014)

Which concepts are the central focus of today’s cutting age thinking about management?

This is one of the volumes in a series published by McGraw-Hill Education and co-authored by Stuart Crainer and Des Dearlove. They wrote it in response to that question.

I really like the basic concept: Crainer and Dearlove selected a major business subject such as management and then asked, “Which cutting edge thinkers should we consult to share their thoughts about this?” They had already read many of their books and articles and even interviewed several of them. A generous selection of the most valuable material they obtained is provided in this volume. The first chapter is called, appropriately, “How We Got Here.” That is, how perspectives on management have evolved over time.

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Here is one of the Q&As from an interview of Gary Hamel:

How to increase positive and productive employee engagement?

We’re going to have to get much better if we really want to engage people. Number one is dramatically reducing the level of fear in organizations. Number two is depoliticizing decision making so that people don’t feel that decisions are basically a function of political power and access but really a function of good ideas; creating a democracy of information where you have complete transparency and people don’t hold information, don’t use it as a political weapon, reducing the power of the traditional hierarchy; doing all kinds of things to unleash real human potential in an organization.

Here is another Q&A from their interview of David P. Norton:

Who came up with the phrase the “balanced scorecard”?

In the 1990s, U.S. companies in particular and Western companies in general were getting badly beaten by the Japanese and there was a lot being written about short-term America and how we were doing it to ourselves with this quarterly focus on financials. That was the front-end of the problem. Bob Kaplan and I were looking for a better way. Our first conclusion was that you can’t throw away the financials – that is the lifeblood – but you’ve got to somehow make it long term as well as short term. [begin italics] Balancing [end italics] just came naturally to describe that. We’re balancing long term and short term, we’re balancing lead indicators with lag indicators, and so it was a natural outcome. I can’t remember seeing a flash of light, and it didn’t happen in the shower in the morning.

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Other thought leaders who contributed to this volume include Jim Champy, Howard Gardner, Daniel Goleman, HCL Technologies Ltd, Sylvia Ann Hewitt, Rosabeth Moss Kanter , John Kotter, McKinsey & Company, Daniel Pink, Edgar Schein, and Dave Ulrich.

Those who share my high regard for this book are urged to check out the Thinkders50 volumes on innovation, leadership, future thinkers, and strategy. Also, Crainer’s The Ultimate Business Library: The Greatest Books That Made Management , published by Captone/A Wiley Imprint, and The Management Century: One Hundred Years odf Thinking and Practice, part of the J-B BAH Strategy & Business Series. I also greatly admire Dearlove’s The Ultimate Book of Business Thinking: Harnessing the Power of the World’s Greatest Business Ideas and Business the Richard Branson Way: 10 Secrets of the World’s Greatest Brand Builder (Big Shots Series).

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