Good management is six hours a week, How not to fire, 5 lessons from German soccer, The talent management alliance.

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Welcome to my weekly take on better management for the future of knowledge work.

This week there’s a lot of big thinking about talent management. Bill George at Harvard Business School looks at what managers can learn from Germany’s World Cup victory. Reid Hoffman (Founder of LinkedIn) is on the promotional circuit for his new book “The Alliance: A Manifesto for 21st Century Management”. Microsoft has shown everyone how not to manage large scale redundancy. Plus there’s a range of other interesting reading (including a trend to employees demanding a say in new CEO appointments).

I hope it’s a great week.

Steve

This week’s best reading

Why managers should spend exactly six hours a week with each employee
Leadership IQ conducted a survey of 32,000 people to find the sweet spot for management support. In general there’s a strong relationship between more time with your boss and engagement. “As people rose from one to six hours spent with their direct leaders, they became 29% more inspired about their work, 30% more engaged… 16% more innovative, and 15% more intrinsically motivated.” But results start to plateau and even decline above six hours a week (as micromanagement kicks in).

Very interesting research with direct implications for corporate structure (if you think about it the number of people you can realistically manage is capped at 5-6).

Josh Bersin reviews “The Alliance: A Manifesto for 21st Century Management”
Reid Hoffman (and co) have released a new book on talent management for the 21st century. Hoffman has reshaped the global talent market once by founding LinkedIn. This book (and the thinking behind it) might be act 2. “In brief, Reid’s team describes a new “employment contract” taking place – one where workers and employers work in a free agency-like alliance. Each party gives to the other, and as long as both are gaining value, the alliance works.” There’s some big thinking here around the future of the employment relationship that’s well worth reading if you have interests in this space.

Here’s another review and interview from the Wall Street Journal: Job Hunting in the Network Age

And a separate, but interesting view from Strategy+Business on why a portfolio approach to talent makes sense: Stop Hiring and Start Attracting Talent

More interesting reading

5 Lessons Business Leaders Can Learn From German Soccer
Bill George is a professor of Management Practice at Harvard Business School. Here he discusses five lessons from the German soccer team’s world cup triumph. The five lessons: “The team is more important than any individual”, “Develop a broadly-based cadre of emerging stars for the long-term”, “Rely on your veterans, but give emerging stars their chance to shine”, “As the coach, position your players in their “sweet spot” on the field” and “You’re building for the long-term, but you must win today’s game”

Killing the competition: Military lingo in the workplace
Does the military lingo that ‘dominates’ the modern workplace implicitly discriminate?

How not to cut 12,500 jobs: a lesson from Microsoft’s Stephen Elop
“[Elop] sent Nokia staff 1,100-word email, devoting just two sentences to cuts two-thirds of the way through. The worst of it, of course, is the time it takes Elop to get to the job cuts. When he does, he devotes just two sentences to the subject… Then he’s back to banging on about “iconic” tablets and “new interaction models”.”

The case for employees to pick their CEO
“On Friday, hundreds of employees from Demoulas Market Basket grocery store chain protested outside the company’s Tewksbury, Mass. headquarters. They weren’t there to demand higher pay or better benefits; they were there to demand a say in who serves as Market Basket’s CEO.”

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