High Output Management - Andrew Grove

High Output Management - Andrew Grove

Dive into the teachings of this highly suitable management manual to organize your work, direct and develop employees, and see how it can revolutionize your professional performance.

Management appears to be an overwhelming task. Managers are expected to be everywhere, whatever the situation, to communicate with their staff, plan and order workflows, reveal the best of their employees, and improve overall performance. Andy Grove will explain all of it in the book "High Output Management".

This work will show you what a manager's main responsibilities are and what you need to know about your employees and their role. You'll see how you can gather the fundamental information to adopt the right solutions, how to engage your team, and how to get it right.

Andy Grove exposes techniques for building highly productive teams, demonstrating motivational methods that lead to peak performance. The book is a hands-on guide to navigating real-life business scenarios and a powerful management manifesto with the ability to revolutionize the way we work.

Got interested to be a better manager? So stay with us in this summary!

About the book "High Output Management"

"High Output Management" was released in 1995. The author Andrew S. Grove combines conceptual elegance with a practical understanding of the real-life scenarios that managers encounter every day.

The book is made up of 272 pages that are divided into sixteen chapters over four parts, which are: "The Breakfast Factory", "Management is a Team Game", "Team Teams" and "The Players".

About the author Andrew Grove

Andrew Stephen Grove was born in Hungary but moved to the United States in 1956. He participated in the founding of Intel, becoming president of the company in 1979 and executive director in 1987.

In 1997, Grove was named the "man of the year" by Time magazine. A year later he left the position of CEO of Intel, retiring as chairman of the board in 2004. Grove was also a professor at Stanford University School of Business for twenty-four years.

To whom is this book indicated?

Created from Grove's experiences at one of America's premier technology companies, this legendary book is a staple of Silicon Valley, equally suitable for sales managers, accountants, consultants, and teachers. As for all people whose work involves a group seeking to produce something of value.

Main ideas of the book "High Output Management"

Adapting the innovations that made Intel one of America's most successful companies, the book teaches:

  • What techniques and indicators you can use to make corporate recruitment accurate and measurable as manufacturing;
  • How to turn your subordinates and coworkers into members of a highly productive team;
  • How to motivate this team to always achieve peak performance.

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[Book Summary] High Output Management - Andrew S. Grove

Overview: The Basics of Production - Delivering Breakfast

A manager's job is to find the most cost-effective way to deploy the resources at his or her disposal. This is done by considering three components: quality, time and cost. So, your goal is to deliver the best product, coupled with the lowest cost and the fastest delivery time possible.

For example, suppose your job is to provide a three-minute breakfast of boiled egg, toast, and coffee. That way you are already facing the essential requirements of production.

The first step is to identify the most difficult task to complete. In this case, the most complex step is to cook the egg, it is the one that demands the most time, but not only that, the egg is also the most important component for many customers.

Therefore, the other steps, preparing coffee and toast, must be done simultaneously within the time required to accomplish the most complex task.

Andy Grove states another key point in adding value: A manager must detect and correct problems as early as possible. So, if the kitchen has some rotten eggs, it would be ideal to discover them when they are still in the fridge, not after they are boiled or placed on a customer's plate.

Overview: Indicators as a key tool

Indicators are essential to maintain a good operation. Good indicators define a specific direction in which you should focus, they need to measure actual output, not just the activity itself.

According to Andy Grove, a good example would be to evaluate a salesperson by the number of sales he makes, not by the number of calls he makes.

Well, let's go back to our breakfast example. You could choose at least five indicators every day. They are:

  1. What are the sales forecasts, that is, how many breakfasts will be delivered today;
  2. The levels of the products in stock. You need to know how many eggs, bread, and pounds of coffee you have in reserve;
  3. What are the conditions of the equipment. If something broke the day before, you will need to replace it or recover it;
  4. You also need to pack up your labor. If any of the waiters are ill, you will need to find a replacement;
  5. The last of them would be a quality indicator, that is, were the customers satisfied with the breakfast?

In addition to looking at the indicators in isolation, you can also combine them. Then, by putting together the sales forecast and inventory levels indicators, you can understand if what you have in reserve is critical or not.

Overview: Management Leverage

A manager's outcome cannot be assessed by the amount of work he performs. He must be considered by observing the production his subordinates have under the direct influence of his work.

If the manager also has the ability to influence other teams in the organization, his work must also be measured by that impact or influence.

Andy Grove says that business is a team operation. It takes a team to win. So, the manager must always think about how their actions can create the most positive impact on the organization.

And to achieve this, you can make use of the information in two ways:

  1. Get information: Reports are an excellent tool for generating self-discipline in the people who write them. They force the person to think about their operation and thus find solutions to possible obstacles;
  2. The other way is to convey information: The manager must focus on sharing a corporate culture. Sharing culture is the most important task as it allows for the successful delegation of responsibilities.

The information will also help you in making decisions. We'll talk about this later.

Another point addressed by the book "High Output Management" is the number of subordinates you must have. If the work is widely supervised, a good number would be between six and eight people. Three is not enough and over ten is too much.

Overview: Meetings - The Medium of Management Work

The meeting is a means by which management work is done. Do not think of it as an end goal, but as a way of providing information and knowledge, explaining the proposed method for a given activity, and helping with decision-making.

Thus, meetings should be highly efficient. Among the possible types of meetings, Andy Grove highlights two:

Process Oriented Meetings

The purpose of these meetings is to share knowledge and exchange information. They must be scheduled and occur at regular intervals. They can be done in three ways:

  1. Individuals: Meeting between manager and subordinate. The frequency of these meetings should decrease as employee matures. Being prepared by the employee, the topics covered may be: performance numbers, indicators, and issues that have increased since the last meeting;
  2. Team meetings: A meeting between the manager and all his employees. This meeting has no set time, it should be used to discuss any issues that arise. The manager's job is to make sure that the meeting stays with a purpose and that the final goal is achieved;
  3. Operation reviews: The purpose of the meeting is to present the results of an area to managers or other staff not directly related to that area.

Mission-oriented meetings

The purpose of these meetings is to solve a specific problem, that is, leaving the meeting must have an activity to be performed related to the problem. And the key to its success depends on what the chairman of the meeting does because he is the one who convenes the meeting.

It is essential that the chairs ask themselves the following question before calling the meeting: What am I trying to accomplish? Do I need a meeting? Is this desirable? Is it justifiable?

Overview: Decisions, Decisions

Making decisions and participating in the process by which they are made is a fundamental part of a manager's job.

Andy Grove points out that the best decisions should be made by people who are interested in the outcome of the decision and have the technical knowledge of its implications.

Typically, the decision-making process takes place in three stages: free discussion, clear discussion, and full support.

In the first step, the subject is freely discussed by all involved. The goal at this stage is to gather as many views and information as possible.

In the next phase, clear discussion, we should be able to articulate why we are choosing a specific decision. This means that we can clearly explain the advantages and disadvantages of the decision to all the people involved.

Finally, everyone needs to fully support the decision, that is, everyone must commit to the decision made.

As a final warning: Be sensitive to the consequences of a decision. If it harms others, it is necessary to clarify and give them the opportunity to ask questions. Otherwise, it will not be well-received.

Overview: Relevant Task Maturity

The most important assignment of a manager is to get the best performance out of all his employees. To define how to manage them most effectively, you need to look at the relevant task maturity or TRM.

It is a combination of the degree of guidance and readiness to achieve, as well as education, training, and experience. All this for a specific task. Andy Grove gives the following levels:

  • Low TRM: is one that offers very accurate and detailed instructions. The manager tells the subordinate what needs to be done, when and how;
  • Medium TRM: More communication, emotional support, and encouragement. The manager pays more attention to the individual than to the task at hand;
  • High TRM: The involvement of managers should be kept to a minimum and should mainly involve agreement on objectives.

Regardless of the type of management, a supervisor should often closely monitor a subordinate's work to avoid surprises. This is the difference between delegating a task and abandoning it.

The most important thing is to increase the maturity relevant to your employees' tasks as quickly as possible. This allows us to have managerial leverage.

If a person changes responsibilities, his TRM will change as well. We must adjust our management style to this.

What do other authors say about it?

In "The New One-Minute Manager", Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson point out that the most effective managers guide themselves first, and understand that people's presence is the true profit they make. They care about the results, but first and foremost about people.

In "The Effective Executive", Peter Drucker says the manager should better plan recurring events to save time. Also, having too many people involved in an activity can be a waste of time, as multiple distractions can occur.

Sandro Magaldi and José Salibi Neto explains in "Managing Tomorrow" that we have to be constantly updating our company, understand the impacts of technology in the business results.

Okay, but how can I apply this to my life?

In the end, Andy Grove gives some guidance that, he says, will make you a clearly better manager. They consist of the topics: Production, Leverage, and Performance.

Production

  • Identify the operations in your work, such as process, assembly, and production;
  • Identify half a dozen new indicators for your team's output. They must measure the quantity and quality of production;
  • Install these new indicators on a routine basis in your work area and regularly review meetings;
  • What action plan are you following now? Describe the demand that motivated you and your status. Is your strategy likely to result in a situation that is satisfactory to you or your organization if successfully implemented?

Leverage

  • What are the organizational outputs that you can influence? List them in order of importance;
  • Analyze your information and knowledge collection system;
  • Describe how you will monitor the next project you delegate to an employee. What are you looking for? What is the frequency?
  • Generate an inventory of projects you can work on at discretionary times;
  • Make an individual appointment with each of your subordinates. Explain to them in advance what this is about. Make them prepare for it;
  • Forecast the demand on your time for next week. How much of your time will be spent in meetings? Which of these meetings is process-oriented? Which ones are mission-oriented? If they exceed 25% of your total time, take steps to reduce them;
  • Define the three most important goals for your organization over the next three months. Support them with the main results;
  • Have your subordinates do the same for themselves after a thorough discussion of the set generated above;
  • Generate an inventory of pending decisions for which you are responsible. Take three and structure the decision-making process for them using the six-question approach.

Performance

  • Rate the job-relevant maturity of each of your employees as low, medium, or high. Evaluate the management style that would be most appropriate for each one. Compare your own style with what it should be.

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