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High Impact Middle Management
by Lisa Haneberg
Adams Media © 2005, 240 pages, $19.95 (ISBN 1-59337-158-6).
Solutions for Today’s Busy Managers
Most people would agree that great people make a great organization. The real difficulty for most organizations is figuring out how to keep people great over a long period of time. According to management trainer Lisa Haneberg, keeping people great depends on the success of middle managers — those who have the power to either execute positive results or cause a company to stagnate. In High Impact Middle Management, Haneberg describes a distinct system that is made up of a set of principles that can help middle managers maximize productivity and profits while nurturing employee careers and creating a healthy work environment.
High impact middle managers, Haneberg writes, are timely and on target, know how to think strategically and transition well between tasks, and their ideas are provocative in ways that help move work forward. She adds that they also “produce results and imbue the workplace with energy.” To offer a positive vision of more effective middle management and a solid method for achieving a superior level of performance, she has created a management system called High Impact Middle Management, or H.I.M.M. Her system, she writes, gives busy middle managers an integrated set of practices and techniques that maximize results and success.
Who Is a Middle Manager?
Middle managers can hold the title of vice president, director or manager, and they are responsible for managing at least one function within the company. Although they are not CEOs, they are still expected to comprehend and participate in creating business plans, budgets and other planning documents. Since there are few resources that target the unique needs of middle managers, Haneberg explains that she wrote High Impact Middle Management to provide middle managers with the observations, tools and suggestions that can help them do their jobs better.
Haneberg starts her book by describing what the middle managers at Black & Decker did right to launch its new DeWalt line of power tools, and how their work made a significant contribution to this companywide achievement. To show other managers how to get similar great results, Haneberg describes the basic principles of the H.I.M.M. system. These include:
Principle #1: Being a middle manager is exciting. Middle managers are close to the action, but also get to make things happen while progressing in their career.
Principle #2: Middle management is a craft. Weighing competing demands and making choices about how to manage time takes practice and development.
Principle #3: Great managers do what others don’t or won’t. Great managers do things that others put off.
Principle #4: Beliefs determine behavior. Breakthroughs occur when beliefs line up to get a desired outcome.
Haneberg also offers four other principles to complete the backbone of her system for making the work of middle managers more fruitful. She writes that H.I.M.M. builds middle-management capacity by developing results-oriented responses (RORs) that can have an immediate effect on work. By providing a chart that depicts both RORs and low-results responses (LRRs), she describes the choices that managers make and the ways they can respond to tasks more effectively.
For example, one ROR is “Being an Owner.” This entails assuming responsibility for the outcome, taking initiative to make things better and doing whatever it takes to get ideal results. It also means the heart is committed and the mind is engaged. The corresponding LRR is “Being a Custodian,” which entails doing only what is required, waiting for others to act, hoping someone else will take ownership, and avoiding unpleasant tasks. It also means behavior is compliant and the heart and mind are not fully engaged. By showing middle managers how they can focus their time and energy where they will create the greatest benefit, she shows them how they can improve their performance, results and career success.
To demonstrate how high impact middle managers think, Haneberg offers insights from a variety of people who have aligned their thinking with the larger objective and obtained positive results, including Michael Dell, Johnsonville Sausage CEO Ralph Stayer and FedEx CEO Fred Smith. ~
Why We Like This Book
High Impact Middle Management offers valuable management insight in a compact, easy-to-reference guide that provides mountains of hands-on advice about removing bottlenecks, overcoming skill deficiencies, and reducing error rates. By describing smart time-mastery techniques and clear examples of ways to help others make personal breakthroughs, High Impact Middle Management contains a balanced combination of specific management principles and practical applications to make them work. ~