THE SUPERMANAGERS: Managing for Success, the Men Who Make It Happen, the Reasons Why by Robert Heller
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THE SUPERMANAGERS: Managing for Success, the Men Who Make It Happen, the Reasons Why

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If you had to choose a single management book to cover the latest in ideas and examples, it might be this Suporagenda for Supermanagers: ten multiple ""steps,"" from How to Develop Drive and Overdrive to How to Manage the New Industries--expounded with zest by a British management guru (The Naked Investor, The Business of Business, etc.). Heiler has taken his cues (who hasn't?) from Peters and Waterman's In Search of Excellence: America is rebounding, it still has overwhelming advantages; but ""you lose even where you have all the cards, by playing them poorly."" After that, the text gets personal: what the Would-Be Millionaire needs (ambition); how to turn it to profit (the leveraged buy-out--to engage ""perfectly proper selfish interests""); why GM stumbled (know-it, all aversion to market research, for one)--and how it recovered (an up-to-date rundown); where the Peters-Waterman ""critique of analysis"" breaks down (a battery of physical/mental/emotional self-tests). The eclectic pattern continues in succeeding sections. Risk, and ""sane assessment,"" brings word (among other things) of how Honeywell saved its faltering aircraft fuel-gauge business with a $20,000 investment--in physical partitions (""left to sink or swim, the gauge men swam""); the moral--diversification per se isn't doomed. ""In the house of business, there are many mansions, many recipes."" But we can learn from experience--and experts. On goals, Heller cites Japanese demythicizer Kenichi Ohmae; the history of a ""once-small printing company""; the need ""to specialize in certain types of customer and certain products."" Re learning from mistakes: ""an unbreakable cord connects the happy user at one end and the efficient producer or purveyor at the other""--and when does it pay to advertise? Apart from a running comparison between Japan and the US (what we have to learn from what they learned from us), the underlying theme is the need for today's managers to indeed be Supermanagers, with multiple skills. It's an attractive carrot--and there's lots to learn.

Pub Date: April 24th, 1984
Publisher: Dutton