4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Dealing with the talented,
This review is from: Clever: Leading Your Smartest, Most Creative People (Hardcover)
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The classic management books are full of tips and techniques to suit different styles of management. "Clever" turns things around, and focusses on leadership, as opposed to management. This is a crucial difference, because the book is about dealing with those seriously talented individuals within the organisation, whose abilities can help the organisation spectacularly take off and fly - or crash, depending on the quality of the leadership on offer.
As someone whose day to day work involves dealing with "clever" people, I loved this book. It's led me to think about how I work with them, and has given me a number of ideas to take things forward. The background of the book is clearly academic, the reader is shown to the historical philosophy of Marx and Weber in the Introduction, and there are pointers to other articles and recent developments throughout. This was backed by the notes pages at the end, which were not the dry references you might normally expect, but a set of conversational pointers to other texts.
The book has developed primarily from the research of conversation both with "clever" people, and those who lead them. This comes across in a highly readable and engaging style; some of the anecdotes had me laughing out loud. This style described the message, all about the ethos of a "clever organisation", one which enables the "clever" people within to soar, with the result that the entire organisation benefits.
The most fascinating aspect for me came out in the discussions of modern organisations, and the thinking behind how they are run. It illustrates the changes in style, from the ivory tower approach to innovation, to the more modern approaches which seeks to generate innovation from all levels. It looks at how simple "perks" may have an enormous difference. I was struck by the comparison of the removal of free sandwiches for certain groups in the NHS, with a leading technology organisation which has free canteens for its staff. There was a comparison of how important free food can be to people, but equally the issue of fairness, that when only one group is rewarded, that this can have a very negative effect overall.