Friday, December 16, 2011

What Management Is: How It Works And Why It's Everyone's Business By Joan Magretta

What Management Is: How It Works and Why It's Everyone's Business

What Management Is: How It Works and Why It's Everyone's Business
By Joan Magretta

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Product Description

"This book will help managers in any type of organization, including nonprofits and the public sector, do their jobs better."

-- Michael E. Porter

Harvard Business School

Whether you're new to the field or a seasoned executive, this book will give you a firm grasp on what it takes to make an organization perform. It presents the basic principles of management simply, but not simplistically. Why did an eBay succeed where a Webvan did not? Why do you need both a business model and a strategy? Why is it impossible to manage without the right performance measures, and do yours pass the test?

What Management Is is both a beginner's guide and a bible for one of the greatest social innovations of modern times: the discipline of management. Joan Magretta, a former top editor at the Harvard Business Review, distills the wisdom of a bewildering sea of books and articles into one simple, clear volume, explaining both the logic of successful organizations and how that logic is embodied in practice.

Magretta makes rich use of examples -- contemporary and historical -- to bring to life management's High Concepts: value creation, business models, competitive strategy, and organizational design. She devotes equal attention to the often unwritten rules of execution that characterize the best-performing organizations. Throughout she shows how the principles of management that work in for-profit businesses can -- and must -- be applied to nonprofits as well.

Most management books preach a single formula or a single fad. This one roams knowledgeably over the best that has been thought and written with a practical eye for what matters in real organizations. Not since Peter Drucker's great work of the 1950s and 1960s has there been a comparable effort to present the work of management as a coherent whole, to take stock of the current state of play, and to write about it thoughtfully for readers of all backgrounds. Newcomers will find the basics demystified. More experienced readers will recognize a store of useful wisdom and a framework for improving their own performance.

This is the big-picture management book for our times. It defines a common standard of managerial literacy that will help all of us lead more productive lives, whether we aspire to be managers or not.

Product Details
  • Amazon Sales Rank: #77329 in Books
  • Published on: 2002-04-30
  • Released on: 2002-04-30
  • Original language: English
  • Number of items: 1
  • Dimensions: .90" h x 6.46" w x 8.56" l, .81 pounds
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • 256 pages
Editorial Reviews Review
What Management Is, by former Harvard Business Review editors Joan Magretta and Nan Stone, identifies management as the driving force behind key innovations of the past century and presents a jargon-free look at the way its core principles work. Designed to promote "managerial literacy" up and down the business food chain, as well as among those who simply "want better communities and a better world for our children," the book uses concrete examples to explain fundamental concepts and practices like value creation, the 80-20 rule, and decision analysis in a way that sheds light on them for the uninitiated while providing needed perspective for the more experienced. "Think of this book as everything you wanted to know about management but were afraid to ask," Magretta and Stone write. A comprehensive exploration of the overall process rather than a traditional how-to, in its first section What Management Is examines why and how people work together; the second section shows how ideas are translated into action. With case studies ranging from Old Economy stalwarts like Ford to New Economy upstarts like Dell, along with pioneering nonprofits such as the Nature Conservancy and India's Aravind Eye Hospital, the authors explicitly lay out the basics along with a framework for employing them in a wide variety of situations. --Howard Rothman

From Publishers Weekly
Before they can treat patients, physicians must attend medical school. Before trying cases, attorneys need to pass the bar. But businessmen and managers can work without ever going to business school. It's no wonder they are often lost or unsure when it comes to fundamental management principles. Former management consultant Magretta, with Stone's help, provides these wanderers with a map. In simple, engaging prose, Magretta and Stone, contributor and editor-in-chief, respectively, of the Harvard Business Review, offer an explanation of what a manager does. They logically begin with a description of what's required to be a manager, then explain, generally, how to do it. Along the way, they draw on the lessons of management authorities from Michael E. Porter ("the essence of strategy is choosing what not to do") to Peter F. Drucker ("results are obtained by exploiting opportunities, not by solving problems"), and also quote more tangential gurus, such as Albert Einstein ("not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted"). The authors do not discuss specifically how to manage people, prepare a budget or deal with shareholders, but that's not their intent. Magretta and Stone set out to provide the overall framework for thinking about how to be a manager, and in that, they succeed. The book also has a useful appendix listing related readings.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist
"Management is the discipline that makes joint performance possible." So state Magretta and Stone, contributors and former editors of the Harvard Business Review, as they instruct us in the business of management, which is to build organizations that work. This book offers powerful ideas and presents them concretely through stories about real people and organizations. For beginners in the realm of management as well as experienced readers, the book covers such topics as value creation, business models, competitive strategy, the 80/20 rule, performance metrics and decision analysis. Part one defines the conceptual core of management, and part two addresses execution, which requires discipline and judgment. Questions management must ask itself to stay on track include is there clarity of purpose and has this purpose been effectively conveyed to everyone in the organization; has management articulated its theory of how the organization will accomplish its purpose; and will management deliver the results it has promised. This basic book on management is instructive for today's challenging business environment. Mary Whaley
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews

16 of 18 people found the following review helpful.
4Good introduction to managerial principles
By Patrick Merlevede
This book, written by 2 former editors of Harvard Business Review, isn't a "how to" book on management, but rather a book giving the "big picture": clearly describing the rules and concepts that underlie the discipline of management. Written in easy language, this book fully "compatible" with what I've been "preaching" over the last 7 years, but that also means there weren't many new things I learned from it (which explains my 4 star rating). I think that most experienced managers won't learn too much from this book (at least that's what I hope, but maybe I'm too optimistic, especially given that books as "The Dilbert Principle" seem to be a "fair" presentation of the reality of management in some organizations).

That said, let me give you an overview of what you'll get:
The first part, entitled "design", discusses business issues such as value creation, business models, strategy and organization. This is clearly a book from after the era, stressing that it's not technology people want to by, but a product that fulfills a real need, and that this consideration of real added value should drive the business plan (something that many entrepreneurs seemed to have forgotten). Once you have your business model, your strategy will make the difference in the marketplace, where you have to face all sorts of competition, and try to outperform them. Organization, then, is about figuring out how you will structure your company for reaching your strategic goals: what will you do yourself? What will you outsource, how will the organizational chart and command structures look like?
Where the first section makes clear that good management means having a clear idea of your business, the second part is about making it happen, and thus is called "executing". Here the authors discuss topics as mission, innovation, dealing with uncertainty and focusing in order to deliver results. I especially liked the last chapter of this section, because it stresses that people should be hired for having the right attitude and fitting with the organizational culture (having the same values), an area my company, is focusing on. If you want to know more about the Southwest Airlines example that is discussed in this chapter, I recommend the book "NUTS!" by Kevin Freiberg, et al.

Overall, you get a solid book explaining the "why's of management in an integrated way I've rarely seen before. If you are looking for a "how to" book on management, I recommend PDI's "Successful Manager's Handbook" in addition to this book. If you are looking for a how to book on leadership, another new book that I like is "Alpha Leadership" by Deering, Dilts & Russell.

Patrick Merlevede, MSc - co-author of 7 Steps to Emotional Intelligence.

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful.
5friendly and jargon-free
By Maxim Masiutin
The book is about the management basics that aren't always obvious. It offers a concise synthesis of important ideas and practices:
- value creation
- business models
- competitive strategy
- the 80-20 rule
- performance metrics
- decision analysis.

With various remarkable examples it shows that the value creation is the managers' chief responsibility in the modern world. It also shows that the managers shouldn't overlook the rest of practices to be successful.

The book is amazingly friendly and jargon-free.

I would also recommend "How to Survive the E-Business Downturn" by Colin Barrow and "Leading the Revolution" by Gary Hamel in addition to this book.

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful.
5An Urgently Needed Briefing
By Robert Morris
Hundreds (thousands?) of books have already been published on the general subject of "management" so it is reasonable to ask: Why another? What Magretta offers (with the substantial assistance of Nan Stone) is, in my opinion, the best single-volume introduction to what Magretta refers to as "the discipline of management," a subject which is relatively new (i.e. mid-19th century) and, until Drucker's The Practice of Management (1954), not generally understood. According to Magretta, it is "one of the transforming innovations of modern civilization." I agree with her that management's "real genius is transforming complexity and specialization into performance." (This precisely what Bossidy and Charan had in mind while writing Execution: The Discipline of Getting Results.) Magretta's goal is to "present a coherent view of the whole, of the work known as [in italics] general management." Her purpose is to explain "the underlying [in italics] why of both the theory and practice of management....Our mission is to see the forests for the tees, and present what can be complex ideas simply, but not simplistically. We will present a sense of how management thinking has evolved and how the big ideas relate to one another."

Magretta and Stone succeed brilliantly. They carefully consider various subjects which include value creation, business models, "the logic of superior performance," organizational parameters, "which numbers matter and why" (the real bottom line), innovation amidst uncertainty, using focus to achieve results, and those values which are most effective when managing others. I think this volume will be especially valuable to relatively inexperienced executives. However, any decision-maker in any organization (regardless of size or nature) will find an abundance of information, useful observations, and practical suggestions which can guide, direct, and enrich their performance. I just hope this book attracts the readership it so eminently deserves. More to the point, as presumably Magretta would concur, I hope it can help to nourish and enhance business acumen at a time when the need for "discipline" in management has never been more urgent.


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