THE MANAGEMENT MASTERCLASS
BY EMMA DE VITA
HALLELUJAH. In a world filled with pseudo-intellectual management books, at last comes a thoroughly practical, easy-to-use one bereft of posturing and pretension. If you want a book that gives you a quick-fire tour of the current state of management theory, then this is it. A journalist for Management Today, the author has read all the books so that you don’t have to, and boils down their wisdom into 175 sparsely-worded, concise pages of “practical, no-nonsense advice whether you’re a chief executive, a graduate trainee or a fledgling entrepreneur.”
There are lists galore – 10 ways to motivate, 10 ways to inspire, 10 to handle rumours; there are “crash courses” in managing a crisis, managing a virtual team, chairing a meeting and so on. It’s all easy-to digest, but every word is wise and there’s no fat.
There are sections on words like “network” and “bonus” which are snappy and helpful (“don’t worry if your network has holes – it’s meant to”), memorable examples – the Kray Brothers’ downfall, we are told, was due to poor delegation skills; instead of getting somebody else to do the dirty work, they did it themselves.
Then there are well-chosen quotations. The section on authenticity reminds us that Dolly Parton said: “Find out who you are, and do it on purpose.” How brilliant is that? Far more memorable than rattling out some reheated maxim from Lao-Tse for the umpteenth time.
Although it’s short, it’s got a broad focus, and my favourite section was The Numbers, which deals with things like bidding for internal resources, cutting costs and dealing with falling sales. Did you know that Oscar Wilde said: “The salesman knows nothing of what he is selling, save that he is charging a great deal too much for it”? A cracking little book.