Authors: Bob Nelson and Peter Economy
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons, Inc
Reviewer: Goke Ilesanmi
Bob Nelson and Peter Economy, co-authors of this text entitled “The Management Bible”, are brilliant management experts. Nelson is the founder and president of Nelson Motivation, Inc., a management training and consulting firm with headquarters in San Diego. He is an internationally recognised expert in the areas of management, motivation, empowerment and leadership. Economy is the associate editor of Leader to Leader, an award-winning publication of the Peter F. Drucker Foundation.
Nelson and Economy say this text is the most comprehensive text on management available anywhere, especially that it covers the entire range of essential topics for today’s managers and supervisors; and includes practical and effective solutions to common problems. It also includes proven tips and tactics that help managers grow into more effective and efficient leaders.
The text covers concepts such as hiring and retaining great employees; employee motivation; coaching, development and mentoring; goal-setting; delegation; employee performance and accountability; communication and teamwork; employee termination; office politics, etc.
Structurally, this text is divided into five parts of 16 chapters. Part one is based on the generic subject matter of the art and science of management and covers the first two chapters. Chapter one is entitled “What managers do”. According to Nelson and Economy here, “One of the first questions new managers ask – even if only themselves – is: What am I supposed to do now? Traditionally, when new managers are provided with an answer to this question…the answer has been the four classic functions of management that you may have learnt in school – planning, organising, leading, and controlling…While these classic functions are still, they do not tell the entire story. Managers and workers are entering into a new kind of partnership that is forming the basis of a new reality in the workplace….”
These authors educate that the new functions of management that tap into the potential of all employees include energising, empowerment, supporting and communication.
Chapter two is thematically labelled “The challenge of change”. According to Nelson and Economy here, “If there’s one thing you can count on, it’s that whatever business environment you’re living in today…will be different tomorrow – sometimes in small ways, but often in significant ways. Because the business environment is constantly changing, managers are increasingly expected not only to foresee these new conditions well in advance of their arrival but also to deal with them effectively when they arrive.”
Part two is summarily woven together as “Leadership: The people thing” and contains four chapters, that is, chapters three to six. Chapter three is christened “Hiring and retaining the very best people”. “Finding and hiring the best candidates for a job have never been easy. It’s your job, however, to first understand exactly what qualities you’re looking for in your new employees, and then to identify them in your job candidates,” educate Nelson and Economy.
They identify some of these qualities as hardwork, good attitude, experience, go-getting, team spirit, smartness, responsibility and stability.
In chapters four to six, these authors discuss the concepts of motivating employees; coaching and development; and mentoring employees.
Part three is based on the précis concept of getting the job done and covers four chapters, that is, chapters seven to 10. Chapter seven is entitled “Setting goals”. According to Nelson and Economy, “‘All performance starts with clear goals’ is one of the most time-tested principles of management. What is the primary duty of management? Setting goals is likely to be near the top of the list. If setting goals appears near the bottom of the list, you know there’s a problem. In most companies, top management sets the overall purpose – the vision – of the organisation. Middle managers then have the job of developing goals and plans for achieving the vision set by top management. Managers and employees work together to set goals and develop schedules for attaining them.”
In chapters eight to 10, they analytically X-ray the concepts of using delegation to your advantage; monitoring employee performance and building employee accountability.
Part four focuses on the broad concept of building high-performance organisations and contains three chapters, that is, chapters 11 to 13. Chapter 11 is entitled “Improving communication”. Nelson and Economy say, “Think about it for a minute: What would your organisation be like without communication? Our guess is that it would be a very lonely place. Not only could teams not coordinate their efforts and individuals seek feedback from and communicate their successes to their managers, but also customers would have a pretty tough time placing orders, products would have a pretty tough time being produced, and services would have a pretty tough time being delivered…In short, organisations are built on a foundation of communication; communication is the physical and mental network that ties everyone…together. It’s the oil that keeps the organisation running.”
In chapters 12 and 13, they discuss the concepts of working with teams and making meetings more effective.
Part five is generally labelled “Management challenges” and covers chapters 14 to 16. In this part, Nelson and Economy beam their analytical searchlight on the concepts of discipline and corrective action; terminating employees; and ethics and office politics.
Conceptually, this book is creative, deep and rich in contents. Stylistically, the text is an embodiment of success. Nelson and Economy tax readers’ knowledge and arouse their active participation by including Pop Quiz section at the end of every chapter where questions are asked to assess readers’ understanding and brilliance. Additionally, case studies, worksheets and interviews are included. The title of this text is a biblical allusion and a metaphor. It is suggestive of the fact that the text is an encyclopaedia of management concepts. The text also has a kind of textual appendage called “Epilogue” where further information is offered.
However, error of combination is noticed on page 111 thus, “Managers are immersed in goals – not only for themselves but also for their employees, your department, and your organisation”. It should have been “Managers are immersed in goals – not only for themselves but also for their employees, (their) department, and (their) organisation.”
On the whole, this text is a compendium of brilliant management tips. It is a must-read for managers, leaders and all those who want to enhance their management and leadership skills.
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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