Cover image for It's OK to ask 'em to work-- : and other essential maxims for smart managers
It's OK to ask 'em to work-- : and other essential maxims for smart managers
McNair, Frank.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : AMACOM, [2000]

Physical Description:
xvii, 154 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Subject Term:
Format :


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Material Type
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HD31 .M38595 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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Dozens of humor-filled, down-home ""management maxims"" that help managers do their job better. When it comes to managing people, author Frank McNair has seen first-hand what works and what doesn't. In this breezy book, readers get a refreshing dose of real-world advice in what McNair calls 'maxims for smart managers."" His sage and witty suggestions include: ""Don'tsend your ducks to eagle school!"" ""Pay off in currency that matters to the employee."" ""Don't confuse motion with progress."" ""Ignoring poor performance is the same as applauding it."" Covering the whole gamut of people-management skills, the author presents maxims on: planning * motivation * expectations * teaching and coaching * measuring performance * rewards and consequences * relationship management, self-management * leadership. Each maxim is illustrated by a real-life story and pithy, practical insights that managers can put to instant use or store away for future situations." "

Author Notes

Frank McNair (Winston-Salem, NC) has lived this book first, in a decade working for several companies (including R. J. Reynolds and Sara Lee) and now in another decade, heading up his own management consulting practice.


Reviews 1

Booklist Review

Most collections of aphorisms and maxims seem designed only to serve up feel-good nostrums. Although McNair, too, includes a fair share of oft-repeated bromides, many of his insights are meant to make managers squirm. McNair himself is a former corporate manager who now heads his own public-speaking firm and is a partner in a training and consulting business. Observations such as "Pay attention to the middle," "What you count is what you get," and "Ignoring poor performance is the same as applauding it" may spark a flash of recognition in some managers and start them thinking about problems and solutions. McNair groups his maxims into categories such as vision, planning, motivation, expectations, coaching, feedback, performance management, rewards and consequences, and leadership. He also summarizes the meaning and explains the implication of each of his messages. --David Rouse

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. xiii
Introductionp. xv
Chapter 1 Vision and Planningp. 1
If You Don't Read the Signs, You'll Fall Through the Bridgep. 2
Manage the Vision and the Strategy, Not Just the Business Operationsp. 3
A Plan Is Not a Straitjacket--Build Flex Into Your Planp. 5
A Business Is Not a Restaurant--Avoid "Strategy du Jour"p. 5
Give It Up! There Is No Lone, Perfect Strategyp. 6
Eighty Percent Strategy Executed With 100 Percent Commitment Always Beats 100 Percent Strategy Executed With 80 Percent Commitmentp. 7
Input Raises Buy-Inp. 7
If You Don't Know Where You're Going, You'll Probably End Up Somewhere Elsep. 8
If You Fail to Plan, Then Plan to Fail--Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performancep. 9
Chapter 2 Motivationp. 11
No One Can Motivate Anyone to Do Anythingp. 11
We Can Create Circumstances in Which People Motivate Themselvesp. 12
You've Got to Walk the Talkp. 13
Broadcast on Radio Station WII-FMp. 13
If You Listen Long Enough, People Will Tell You What Motivates Themp. 15
People Come in Two Types: Carrot People and Stick Peoplep. 17
If You Watch Long Enough, People Will Show You How to Motivate Themp. 18
You Can Waste a Lot of Time Feeding Carrots to Stick Peoplep. 19
The Managerial Golden Rule: Do Unto Others as They Would Like to Be Done Unto!p. 27
Chapter 3 Expectationsp. 30
Paint a Clear Picture of the Targetp. 30
I Can't Hit a Target I Can't Seep. 31
Everyone Wasn't Raised at Your Housep. 32
Common Sense Ain't Near as Common as It Used to Bep. 33
To Be Worth a Damn, a Goal Must Be SMARTp. 35
Most Work Gets Done the Day Before It's Duep. 37
A Detailed Examination of the SMART Method of Goal Settingp. 37
Chapter 4 Coaching: Them That Can, Does--Them That Teaches Are Pricelessp. 42
Common Sense Ain't Near as Common as It Used to Be IIp. 43
People Learn in Different Ways: To Be Effective, Teach in the Learner's Most-Preferred Stylep. 44
If You Observe and Listen Long Enough, People Will Tell You How They Like to Learnp. 46
Discovered Learning Always Beats Revealed Learningp. 48
People Never Argue With Their Own Datap. 49
It Is Easier to Listen People Into Learning Than to Talk Them Into Learningp. 49
To Be a Good Coach, Use the COACH Modelp. 50
Chapter 5 Feedback and Performance Management: What You Reward Is What You Getp. 57
People Will Respect What You Expect If You Inspectp. 57
What You Count Is What You Get, so Count the Right Thingsp. 58
Don't Confuse Motion With Progressp. 59
SMART Targets Are Foundational for Feedback and Performance Managementp. 60
To Give Useful Feedback, Be a SMART ONEp. 61
Life Is Mostly Packagingp. 64
The Feedback Flow Chartp. 65
Positive Feedback Encourages Behavior--Developmental Feedback Extinguishes Behaviorp. 66
Ignoring Good Behavior Extinguishes It--Ignoring Undesirable Behavior Encourages Itp. 67
Feedback Is a Process, Not an Eventp. 71
If the Employee Is Surprised at Review Time, It's Your Faultp. 72
You Don't Have to Be Mad to Give Developmental Feedbackp. 73
Developmental Feedback Is an Investment in the Employeep. 73
I'm Not Here to Prosecute the Guilty, I'm Here to Solve the Problemp. 74
Chapter 6 Rewards and Consequencesp. 78
Different Things Have to Happen to Good Performers vs. Poor Performersp. 78
Pay Attention to the Middlep. 80
Bad News Ages Poorlyp. 80
Pay Off in Currency That Matters to the Employeep. 80
It's Not Our Job to Make Value Judgments About Our Employees' Motivatorsp. 81
Match the Magnitude of the Payoffs--or the Consequences--to the Magnitude of the Performancep. 82
Ignoring Improvement in Performance Will Extinguish It--Ignoring Slippage in Performance Will Encourage Itp. 83
Just Do It--NOW!p. 84
For Different Results, Change the Patternp. 85
In General, People Change Behavior When the Pain of Changing Is Less Than the Pain of Staying the Same or When the Joy of Changing Is Greater Than the Joy of Staying the Samep. 86
Chapter 7 Relationship Managementp. 89
Everyone Is Keeping Score, and That's Okayp. 89
Use the Relationship Ledger to Know the Scorep. 91
What Is an Investment to One Employee Can Be a Withdrawal to Anotherp. 92
Absent Any Other Information, Assume Your Employee Is a Carrot Personp. 93
If You Listen Long Enough, People Will Tell You How to Invest in (Motivate) Themp. 93
It's the Manager's Job to Make the First Investment in a Professional Relationshipp. 94
When Expectations and Reality Are Not Equal, Stress Is Createdp. 94
Periodic Relationship Audits Can Identify the Stress Caused by Divergent Expectationsp. 97
Chapter 8 Self-Management: The Toughest Nut of Allp. 103
Know Yourselfp. 103
The Seeds of Our Destruction Are Sown in Soil Tilled by Our Giftsp. 104
Know Your Weaknesses: Grow and Staff Around Themp. 104
Nobody Is Sane--You're Looking for Compatible Crazinessp. 105
Take Yourself Onp. 105
It's Easier To Act Yourself Into a New Way of Thinking Than to Think Yourself Into a New Way of Actingp. 106
Be Your Own Best Bossp. 107
There Are Two Types of People: Them That Won't Work, and Them That Won't Quitp. 108
You Always Pass Out Before You Die!p. 108
Problems Live in the Past; Solutions Live in the Futurep. 109
Be Solutions-Focused: Concentrate on Win-Win Outcomesp. 109
The Madder You Get, the Dumber You Arep. 110
Friends Come and Friends Go, but Enemies Accumulatep. 110
In Twenty Years, the Only Person Who Will Remember That You Didn't Take Your Vacation Is You (and Your Family)!p. 110
Never Quit on the First Day Back!p. 111
It's Okay to Fire Yourselfp. 112
Chapter 9 Leadershipp. 115
Any Follower's Experience of a Group Is Most Directly Affected by the Leadership Style of the Leaderp. 115
You Can Best Read the Climate of an Organization by Surveying Those Who Actually Do the Workp. 116
Those Lead Best Who Serve Mostp. 116
It's Not What We Don't Know That Gets Us in Trouble--It's What We Don't Dop. 119
As a Manager, You Are a "Linking Pin"--You Link Your Work Group to the Larger Companyp. 120
People Don't Care How Much We Know Until They Know How Much We Carep. 122
Managers Don't Win If Their Employees Lose!p. 124
What Do You Want to Do: Win the Fight or Solve the Problem?p. 124
Make Your Leadership Style a Choice, Not a Defaultp. 126
You Can Be a Hardass, or You Can Be a Candyass, but You've Got to Be Consistent!p. 127
When Stressed, We Return to Our Most Familiar--and Most Comfortable--Behaviorsp. 128
Managing People Is Work!p. 128
Where You Stand Depends on Where You Sitp. 129
I Don't Care Who Drives as Long as I Get to Pick the Destinationp. 130
The Leader Doesn't Have to Do It All--The Leader Has to See That It Gets Done!p. 130
Chapter 10 Shaping Your Management Philosophyp. 133
A Hundred Percent of Nobody Don't Like Nothingp. 133
No Matter What Happens, Somebody Will Find a Way to Take It Far Too Seriouslyp. 134
It's Okay to Ask 'Em to Workp. 135
Get a Commitmentp. 136
You Can Help the People Change, or You Can Change the Peoplep. 136
Don't Send Your Ducks to Eagle Schoolp. 137
Once You Demand Excellence, Some People Will Move Up--Others Will Move On--Either Way, the Organization Winsp. 138
"Dynamic Tension" Builds More Than Strong Musclesp. 140
To a Kid With a New Hammer, Everything Looks Like a Nailp. 141
If You Keep Doing What You've Been Doing, You'll Keep Getting What You've Been Gettingp. 141
If You Don't Know What You Stand for, You'll Fall for Anythingp. 142
Your Job Is Not Your Lifep. 143
Endnotesp. 147
Indexp. 149