High Output Management
Let Chaos Reign, Then Rein In Chaos
The Guys review Andrew S. Grove’s book, one of many, entitled High Output Management. Grove was one of the founders and the CEO of Intel Corporation, helping transform the company into the world’s largest manufacturer of semiconductors. As a result of his work at Intel, along with his books and professional articles, Grove had a considerable influence on the management of modern electronics manufacturing industries worldwide.
The central thought of this book is that the output of a manager is the output of his organization. Are you adding real value or merely passing information along? How do you add more value? One great answer: By continually looking for ways to make things truly better in your department or company.
Three basic ideas frame Grove’s view of high output management: 1) an output-oriented approach to management; 2) the work of a business is something pursued not be individuals, but by teams; and 3) a team will perform well only if the peak performance is elicited from the individuals in it. The Guys help drive these points home to make sense common in the manufacturing methods and service delivery avenues today.
Grove states some of the principles and discipline of manufacturing endeavors to stress the output of managers. He also says the output of a manager is the output of the organizational units under his or her supervision or influence. “You can’t be optimistic about the future until you have survived the crucible of change. The key to survival is to learn to add more value.”
Listen in to The Guys challenge the scope of adding more value with points from the book and real-life examples.
These concepts still apply today, even though the book was first written in 1983 and updated over a decade later. The changes have been in the increase of computer memory and the ease of communication through email. Globalization is also a by-product of these changes and simply means that business knows no national boundaries.
From a business standpoint, it’s either adapt or die. There are many things that can be done to adapt, though, and The Guys discuss them at length. Grove’s advocated motto, “Let chaos reign, then rein in chaos.” Perhaps he is aligned with Dee Hock’s ‘chaordic organization’ approach as well, where chaos to order is indeed a sense made common. No amount of formal training can anticipate changes like globalization and the information revolution.
How can companies or organizations prepare? Does it mean that planning is unnecessary? Quite the opposite. A responsive company plans for contingencies well in advance, like a fire department, so that potential events are considered and alternatives or processes to handle them are in place.
The Guys explore what it means to have fewer levels of management in today’s companies and what that means for meetings and direct reports. Good indicators and measurements of productivity are imperative for the new management methods to be successful, regardless of the industry or type of business. Managerial leverage is a way to increase output, too.
Listen to The Guys in-depth conversation about Managerial Leverage for more insights.
Clearly Grove’s knows what he’s writing about and the book is well worth the read, even today. Some things hold ageless wisdom and this book is probably one of them. His understanding of how to build a business and the opportunity he garnered with Intel is the perfect example. He has been called the “guy who drove the growth phase” of Silicon Valley. The Guys give a refresher on the principles and understanding he presented in his book. Ray also wrote up some great Crib Notes, too. Be sure to download them below.