Saturday, December 10, 2011

Book Review: Management Mess-Ups


What Not to Do


Sometimes it's fun to define things by their negative...if you're not quite sure what you DO want, at least you can start with what you DON'T want.

I have taken this approach myself with a high-level look at management practices.

The subject of today's book review is the crown jewel of this strategy: Management Mess-Ups - 57 Pitfalls You Can Avoid (and Stories of Those Who Didn't) by Mark Eppler.

This is a great read for growing managers. Eppler provides an exhaustive list of essential management practices and real-world illustrations in a format that is easy to read and understand.

The 57 Pitfalls in Management Mess-Ups are organized into 13 sections including categories such as: Leadership, Communication, Motivation, Managing Change, Personal Development and, finally, "The Big One". More on this at the end the post.

Examples of specific pitfalls included in the list:
  • Believing leadership is power instead of influence.
  • Not meeting routinely with customers.
  • Believing people will keep planting seeds if they don't participate in the harvest.
  • Failing to manage conflict constructively.

The Big One

Eppler concludes Management Mess-Ups with a pitfall that garners its own section titled "The Big One". This management and leadership mess-up definitely deserves its own section and is particularly relevant for readers of this blog:

Failure to practice in reality what you learn in theory.

Final Thoughts

There is one danger in sources that tell us what to avoid - we can become so focused on avoiding trouble that we lose our focus on what we should be doing. (See I Looked for the Dry Places for more on this.) Management Mess-Ups is not one of these. Every mess-up is clearly related to what you DO want to do.

I strongly recommend Management Mess-Ups for any growing manager. It's fun and you'll recognize yourself in at least one or two stories.

Happy Reading,

David M. Dye

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David shares twenty years experience teaching, coaching, leading, and managing in youth service, education advocacy, city governance, and faith-based nonprofits. He currently serves as Chief Operating Officer for Colorado UpLift and enjoys helping others discover and realize their own potential.

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