Sometimes it’s hard for business owners to know how to take their businesses to the next level of growth and profitability. If you’ve been stuck at the same revenue or profit level for a while, it could be because knowing how to scale your business is not a skill in your skillset — yet.
Enter a classic management book on scaling: High Output Management by Andrew Grove, ex-chairman and CEO of Intel. While it was written in 1983, it has made a recent comeback in Silicon Valley but is still not well-known outside of the Bay area. Many people who have read it say it’s the best management book they have ever read, life-changing even. It is certainly a timeless and invaluable read for business owners and managers.
In the book, Grove applies the principles of engineering and manufacturing production to management. It’s all about process: developing processes and procedures so that you can track what’s going on and measure the results, or output, every step of the way. Only then can you improve the process so that it leads to high output.
Measurement is an important concept in the book. No matter what business you’re in, you can apply the ideas of developing processes, measuring them, and improving upon them in your business.
Grove gets into how managers can motivate their team members and affect production outputs. He talks a lot about leverage, which enables scaling both positively and negatively, and how it can affect employees’ output. One example of positive leverage is when managers can add a “nudge” activity to enable their employees’ work. A negative example is when managers meddle and get in the way of the employee making progress.
In the section on meetings, Grove breaks them down by purpose and lends his ideas on how to run each type better. He touches on other key topics such as decision-making, planning, motivation, performance reviews, and values.
One significant highlight from the book is that if you’re motivated to become a better manager, and wish to improve the output of your organization, then there is nothing more important than training yourself.
Reading this book is a wonderful way to spend time learning new business skills you can use and benefit from immediately.