High Output Management

High Output Management by Andy Grove is the best management book I’ve read. It is also the only one, but I don’t think that matters; it’s a classic for a reason. Written before I was born, the advice is timeless even if some of the terms aren’t. I had to look up what a “tickler” file was (a low tech reminder system).

Your job as a manager starts to make more sense if you change your thinking to consider how you and your team can be leveraged, i.e. making your team more effective. Prior experience leaves me realizing many managers don’t think in this way.

What is a manager’s job?

On Working

On Taking Notes

On Planning

What is the current environment?

What is the environment in 2 years?

The present status?

How to close the gap?

On Decisions

Before decision making processes occur, determine the following

On Results

On Training

Management Styles

On one-on-ones

On Performance Reviews

On Interviewing


Grove even provides a scoring mechanism to guide your activities.

Production Points
Identify the operations in your work most like process, assembly, test production 10
For a project, id limiting steps, map out flow of work around it 10
Define the proper places for equivalents of receiving inspection, in-process inspection, final inspection of work. Decide if monitoring is step or gate-like. Under which conditions can things be relaxed or sampled. 10
Id six new indicators for group output, measuring quantity and quality 10
Install new indicators as a routine, establish regular review with staff 20
What is the most important strategy you’re pursuing? Describe environmental demand that prompted it, current status, momentum. Will it work? 20
Simplify your most tedious time-consuming task. Eliminate at least 30% of total steps 10
Define your output: What are the elements of the org you manage and can influence. List w/ importance 10
Analyze your information- and knowledge- gatheringsystems. Balanced headlines, weeklies, etc. Redundant? 10
Tour your office, production, etc. Create a once-a-month excuse to do so 10
Describe how you will monitor the next project you delegate to a sub. What will you look for, how, how frequent? 10
Generate an inventory of projects to work on at discretionary times 10
Hold a scheduled one on one with subs, make sure they understand the point, have them prepare. 20
Look at your calendar for the last week. Classify l/m/h leverage. Plan of action to do more high-leverage, what will you reduce 10
Forecast demand on your time for next week. If more than 25% mission oriented how to reduce? 10
Define 3 most important objectives for org over next 3 months. Support with key results/milestones 20
Have your subs do the same, discuss 20
Generate an inventory of pending decisions you are responsible for. Take 3, structure decision making process for them, using six question approach 10
Evaluate your own motivational state in terms of Maslow, do the same for subs 10
Give your subs a racetrack, define a set of performance indicators for each 20
List forms of task-relevant feedback your subs receive. How well can they gauge their progress 10
Classify task relevant maturity of each sub as l/m/h. Evaluate management style most appropriate for them, compare with yours and how it should be 10
Evaluate the last performance review you received, and the last set you gave. How well did the reviews do to improve performance? What was the nature of communication during each 20
Redo a review as it should have been done. 10

There you have it. If you haven’t read it, give it a read - it’s highly worth $5 and a few hours of your time.