Unlearning management - short stories on modern management, comprises a sequence of true stories from work life. The work in question is sizeable and so offers a comprehensive range and depth of management and leadership situations. The stories provide very fertile ground for management and leadership learning. They could be used both in a range of very practical and learning based situations. Blair's stories of his own experiences and observations about others are authentic. They provide the reader with a cross-sectional view of organizational life. It may mirror your own experience or it may differ. As such it can be useful as validation (or not) and challenging in preparing you for what might be ahead.
The inclusion of a series of questions at the end of each story encourages reflection with the intention of action. And so Blair's experience of knowing how to learn from what is happening to you and around you as a manager is included. Because being excellent at learning from your experiences is what maintains and develops you as a manager, the gift of these short stories is extremely valuable and, all at a very good value price.
I've had responsibility for staff for nearly 20 years, have professional management qualifications, have been on numerous 'management' courses with different employers and held a number of different managerial posts levels, so why would I be interested in more material on management?! For a start I'm signed up to the 'you never stop learning' but more importantly recognise that management isn't easy if you are going to do it well - and as this material really makes you think about real life work/management scenarios it's really helpful.
This compilation of short stories has something for everyone who has ever been in a position of managing people or resources at whatever level or in whatever field. It doesn't say that management is easy and raises some of the issues that many managers avoid talking about. Dealing with a capability case, changing the culture of a team or just getting people to work well together can be exhausting, even debilitating - these materials cover these type of management issues where there isn't a black and white answer and the author accepts that black and white answers can't be given. The stories have resonance and get you thinking, helping you reflect on your management style and values. The stories aid internal thought and debate with peers or your management team. The breadth of the areas covered in this material confirms the many complexities and the ever changing demands that a manager can face.
At sometimes almost irreverent but real life! An accessible read that I recommend - and ideal for dipping in and out of.
These materials [so much more than a book] will prove invaluable to managers who want to 'step up to the plate' and lead. The pithy, often witty short stories reflect a wealth of experience, well-applied. They maintain the reader's interest - and pack a punch, covering all of the bases. The set of questions at the end of each story provide a real opportunity to reflect - and grow. Overall, the format prompts one to move from a 'Tell and sell' style of approach to an altogether more powerful 'Ask, then task' type of leadership - essential in these complex times. I particularly liked the stories about organisational culture [e.g. 'Taking the fear factor out of management in public services']. It was no less than W Edwards Deming, the father of 'Quality', who said that 'Whenever there is fear, you will get wrong figures'. Blair's materials will help you and your team to get to the right figures - with a real sense of collective achievement, with team members having been listened to and heard !
I don't like management books, which usually hide their pearls of wisdom behind fancy theories and fine words. This book is different, being down to earth with each section brief and pithy. The sections also concentrate on issues which are real for almost all of us, `do you trust your manager?, `how to get the best out of interviews', 'having difficult conversations' - issues that most of us, brought up on the big ideas of Drucker and co, would not even recognise as worthy of being in a `management book', despite the fact that these are the things that keep people awake at night. Some of the ideas and comments are tendentious and I wouldn't agree with all of it but as discussion starters each of sections has something to offer - and for action learning sets or informal discussion groups the questions at the end of each section offer simple guidance.
As a local authority manager over the last 25 years, I found so many of the scenarios posed in this book to be true to life either in terms of what I have directly experienced or know of colleagues who have. We each have so little time to reflect on situations as they happen that the stories within this book provide managers at all levels with the opportunity to think through how would they deal with such situations if they were faced with those circumstances. It is written in an open style that enables readers to either work through from beginning to end or to dip into specific issues - which is particularly helpful to people who are coaching or mentoring other managers and may want to encourage a more reflective approach to their personal and professional development.
Once again Blair McPherson offers the reader a reflective study based on experiental knowledge. The stories enable reflective study and development and are a good source of information for new and aspiring managers, but will also sound with great resonance for experienced manager who wish to re-affirm past learning. It is easy to navigate through the book reading the sections that are appropriate to your learning at any given stage of your development. The supportive tasks are invaluable in aiding self directed learning. This is a good resource and should be part of any developing managers must read list.
Blair McPherson's no nonsense pragmatic style has produced an accessible guide to management, useful both for the manager at the beginning of their career and the more seasoned professional who would benefit from considering different perspectives. The manual includes a range of scenarios, thought provoking examples, and questions to prompt self analysis. A range of topics are covered including guidance on how to handle sensitive issues such as managing poor performance, managing diversity and bullying. A useful tool for managers at all levels in any organisation.