For anyone who has been newly promoted into a management role, the One Minute Manager is an essential read, introducing best practices in people management in a simple, easy to understand way.
Told in the form of a parable, it tells the story of a young man who looks to find a manager who can demonstrate he is both effective in terms of results and in terms of managing people and places an equal priority on both. At first, he despairs, as any manager he meets is either focused on one or the other. Then he hears the story of a manager who has managed to do both successfully, so goes to interview him to uncover his secret.
This book is both easy to read and at under 100 pages long, can be done so in one sitting, None the less contains useful insights which mean even the experienced manager will find it relevant. In simple terms these break down as follows:
- Rule 1 – One-minute goal-setting – Have a weekly meeting with your team where goals are set. People are accountable for their outcomes and just as importantly solving their own problems.
- Rule 2 – One-minute praising – Identity with people in your team ways in which they are successful and give precise praise for that as soon as you can.
- Rule 3 – One-minute Reprimands – Just as importantly, when people do something incorrectly, give them instant reprimands.
Indeed the whole book is dedicated to explaining these three rules, why they are important and how they work, where the protagonist takes the form of the eager student, asking questions to determine more. With that, the book sets out the exact rules for each area. So for a one-minute goal setting, the rules are as follows:
- Agree what the goals are
- Outline what good performance looks like
- Write out each of the goals on a single sheet of paper, using less than 250 words
- Constantly be re-reading each goal, which only requires a minute or so each time you do it
- Take a moment periodically, to look at your performance and see if it matches your goals
Overall incredibly simple and seemingly obvious, none the less the point is that for many people, their managers fail to outline exactly what is expected of them or what good looks like and instead just point out failures.
In the same way, the book then outlines the rules behind one-minute praisings and reprimands and with that how to do them in an effective way and why they are critical, where once you have read the book, if you are the manager, you will feel a sense of clarity if you are the manager in terms of how to engage with people in your team where it will give you a different approach for people under-performing, similarly if you are being managed, it will give you a way to manage upwards.
The final insight I will share that I took away from this book which I thought pertinent, is that it is very true that there are only three ways you can hire.
- You can recruit winners. They are hard to find and cost a premium.
- Or you can hire someone with the potential to be a winner and systematically train them until they get to that point.
- If you are not willing to invest either the money or time, there is only one choice left. Pray and hope the person works out.
Truth indeed. So decide which of the first two kinds of managers you are and act accordingly.