Author: Steven Brown
Publisher: Fleming H. Revell
Reviewer: Goke Ilesanmi
Most corporate organisations collapse today as a result of ineffective management. This is because most people find themselves in managerial positions without prior training or preparation. Many fatal errors are therefore committed by such managers which negatively affect their organisations. It is therefore necessary for managers to read this book entitled “13 Fatal Errors Managers Make and How You Can Avoid Them”. It is written by Steven Brown, president of the Fortune Group.
Brown says for many years, the Fortune Group and himself have been helping businesses to succeed and managers to manage. He adds that when managers fail, it is not because they cannot master numbers, but because they try to master people, manipulate them or ignore them.
According to Brown, this book is for managers or anyone that wants to be one someday. He adds that it is equally for old managers and young people just starting their career as it is about perfecting one’s leadership and managerial skills by avoiding the common errors managers make with the people they manage.
The book is segmented into 13 chapters based on the identified number of errors. Fatal error number one is refusal to accept personal accountability. According to Brown here, five prerequisites for business success are quality or unique product; proper timing; adequate capital; people resources; and effective management.
He explains that if you lack the fifth element, that is, effective management, you will not have the first four. Brown stresses that this is because in business, everything begins and ends with management, adding that in order to work effectively, management must be accountable.
Failure to develop people is identified as the fatal error number two. According to him, management has a major purpose: to provide for the continuation of the business over time. “Moreover, your permanent absence due to transfer to another position, retirement, poor health, or even death must not cripple the company. If it will, then you are neglecting your obligations as a manager,” expatiates Brown.
In chapters three to seven, the consultant examines the fatal errors of trying to control results instead of influencing thinking; joining the crowd; managing everyone the same way; forgetting the importance of profit; concentrating on problems rather than objectives.
Chapter eight is based on fatal error number eight, that is, being a buddy, not a boss. Brown says so often, managers want to be the employees’ buddy after hours, then come into the office and manage the following day. He stresses that the employees will not allow it. In his words, “It is an either-or situation: You must be the buddy or the manager. Successful hybrids do not exist in such a situation. Most managers have received advice through the years concerning how they should conduct themselves when in the company of those they manage. I believe that most of the advice is an expression of the personal convictions…of those passing on the advice.”
In chapters nine to twelve, Brown X-rays the fatal errors of failing to set standards; failure to train your people; condoning incompetence; and recognising only top performers. He educates that if you take all the top performers in your industry and hire them for your company, at the end of a year only one person would hold the number-one spot.
Brown adds that you cannot hire all the top performers, and you cannot build any department within a company with only top producers. He stresses that no matter how great your financial resources are, recruiting abilities or connections, you cannot achieve this.
Chapter thirteen, the last chapter is based on the fatal error number thirteen, that is, trying to manipulate people. According to the author, “As managers we can change the attitudes of our people, but we must also take care in the methods we use to influence those on our staff. Good influences will add to the self-esteem of those on our staff and will make them more productive. Bad ones will cause the staff to feel manipulated, and production will be negatively affected.”
Brown also looks at the sub-concepts of taking attitude into account; knowing your people; making management work; approaches to increased productivity; corporate philosophy, etc.
Conceptually, there is no disputing the fact that brown has been able to display a high level of didactic prowess in this text, given the quality of his discussed ideas.
As regards stylistic diagnosis, Brown’s efforts deserve commendation. The language is simple and embroidered with good word-ordering which enhances comprehension. Brown is also very creative in the way he handles his concepts, making everything interesting.
He uses graphical embroidery to achieve visual reinforcement of understanding. The author includes “Fortune Action Contract”, an exercise section, at the end of every chapter to arouse readers’ active participation.
In the words of Dennis Waitley, author of “Seeds of Greatness”, “In the flood of ‘success’ books, this is a stand-out in style … and applications…Brown gives us a needed dose of preventive management medicine.”
However, fatal errors two and ten should have been merged because the concepts are similar.
Do you want to become a great manager by avoiding fatal errors managers make? If you are responding in the affirmative, then this conceptually insightful and illuminating book is highly recommended to you. You need to read it and adopt series of strategies offered.
GOKE ILESANMI (FIIM, FIMC, CMC), CEO of Gokmar Communication Consulting, is an International Platinum Columnist, Professional Public Speaker, Career Mgt Coach and Certified Mgt Consultant. He is also a Book Reviewer, Biographer and Editorial Consultant.
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