Book Review – Lead Well and Prosper

[tweetmeme source="leanisgood" service="ow.ly"] Lead Well and Prosper | Nick McCormick | Be Good Publishing

Nick McCormick’s Lead Well and Prosper, subtitled 15 Successful Strategies for Becoming a Good Manager, follows fictional manager Joe “Joker” Kerr as he inflicts his leadership upon poor Wanda B. Goode, who must suffer Joe’s dysfunctional management for our benefit, allowing us to learn by Joe’s poor example.   The book is a quick and simple read.  A few pages to develop a topic in each chapter followed by “DOs, DON’Ts, and ACTIONs” to finish each chapter (these are all summarized in the appendices for easy reference.)  I won’t review each chapter but I will hit the ones the resonated with me as well as the ones that I found poignant to leading inside the lean paradigm.

The book starts strong hitting on two of my favorite leadership principles before the second page of chapter one.  Chapter one’s title is “Adopt a Serving Attitude” which takes me back to the first set of leadership principles I learned – those of the Corps, and about a page into chapter one Nick asks, “What do your team members need?  Get your butt out of your office and find out!”  Nick sends us to the gemba early.

Chapter two is simply titled “Teach.”  Nick confronts the paradigm of the manager who wants to hire ‘experience’ then simply direct with this, “Part of a manager’s job is to teach.  If you don’t spend any time teaching and developing your team members, you’re not  good manager.”  That’s the simplest and best recapitulation of Toyota’s “the teacher is the leader” mantra that I’ve read.

Chapter three, “Provide Honest and Timely Feedback”,

Chapter eleven, “Clean Up Your Own House First,” touches on hansei (reflection),

Don’t blame others for problems.  As Ghandi said, “Turn the searchlight inward.”  Look to yourself and to your group. What can you do to improve things?

Chapter fifteen is titled “Plan Your Week,” and strikes as similar to what a lot of organizations call ‘leader standard work.’

The book has seven appendices: a List of Dos, a List of Don’ts, a List of Actions, a sample Action Plan, a guide for Planning Your Week, a quick test – Am I a Good Manager, and a Recommended Reading List.

In summary, Lead Well and Prosper is a quick read that lists 15 topics to help people be better leaders.  It is set up very logically and in an easy to apply format with the ‘dos’, don’ts’, and ‘actions.’  I think it might be particularly useful to use to help you build a common professional jargon around management and leadership in your group especially if you have people who don’t like to read longer and more philosophical book.

Bruce

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