High Output Management

The book opens with an introduction to manufacturing (managing a breakfast factory) and suggests a framework for managing knowledge work based on the same principals. The correlations are imperfect, but it is a useful optic. Part II focuses on how to manage by looking for the best leverage in improving your team and adjacent team’s output. Some tips on meetings and a good taxonomy of types of meetings and how to best utilize them. An interesting overview of hybrid (matrixed) organizations, some of the pitfalls but ultimately the necessity of them and how to maneuver in them for best impact. He uses a sports analogy which resonated with me, given Netflix similar approach for high performance teams. A great section on modes of control and when to employ different management styles based on a concept of Task-Relevant Maturity. “Put them on a racetrack” the power of competitive spirit.

References Parkinson’s Law which is one of my favorites. Has elements of Essentialism, finding the highest leverage activities and deprioritizing the rest. A bit dated in the performance and promotion sections, defends the Peter Principle as inevitable. In the technology sector at least we are beginning to unwind the societal pressures to move high performing technical people into management as the only outlet for career progression. While the performance in both areas is somewhat correlated, there should be glory for both - a hero in every role (First Break All the Rules).