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High Output Management (Anglais) Broché – 29 août 1995

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Foreword to the Vintage Books Edition
I first read High Output Management in 1995. In those days, there were no blogs or TED Talks teaching us about entrepreneurship. In fact, there was almost nothing of use written for people like me who aspired to build and run a company.
Against this backdrop, High Output Management had an almost legendary status. All the best managers knew about it. The top venture capitalists gave copies of it to their entrepreneurs, and aspiring leaders in Silicon Valley devoured its contents. It amazed all of us that the CEO of Intel had taken the time to teach us the essential skill of entrepreneurship: how to manage.
This was no small thing because Intel was known as the best company in the technology industry. It had pulled off the greatest transformation in the history of the business: moving from the memory business to microprocessors more than a decade after its founding. Beyond that, Intel ran with legendary precision, which gave it the ability to make multibillion dollar investments with high confidence. If you wanted to hire a great operational manager, then Intel was the place to go—but good luck getting one to leave the best-managed company in Silicon Valley.
Andy himself was a legendary figure. He had grown up Jewish in Hungary during a time when the country was occupied by the Nazis and, later, by the Soviet Communists. Arriving in New York, he spoke no English and had almost no money. He enrolled himself at the City College of New York, overcame his language deficiency, and went on to get a PhD from UC Berkeley. This non native English speaker would then write an important textbook on semiconductors in English while working at Fairchild Semiconductor. As a result, he was considered a scientific pioneer even before helping to launch Intel in 1968, building it into the seminal technology company of the era. Later, in 1997, Time magazine would recognize his nearly impossible accomplishments and name him Man of the Year.
This is in part what made High Output Management so extraordinary. Andy Grove, who built himself from nothing to run Intel, stopped what he was doing to teach us his magic. And not through some ghostwriter either—Andy wrote this book himself. What an incredible gift.
When I finally got my hands on the book, the paperback cover took me aback. The 1995 version featured a picture of Andy Grove standing next to the Intel sign. Unlike every other CEO photo that I had ever seen, Andy was not wearing a designer suit. He did not have perfectly combed hair, and he did not strike an arms-folded power pose. No, Andy Grove was dressed for work right down to his key card hanging from his belt. I did a double take. “Was that a key card? He didn’t remove his key card for the book’s cover photo?”
In retrospect, the cover was perfect. As you will see when you read this book, Andy Grove was all substance. He did not have time for pretty photo shoots or self- promotion. He wrote the book for us, but if we had to be sold on it by how he looked in the photo, then that would be our loss. The time that he did not spend styling fancy photos, he put into writing the book. He did not just give us the lessons; he articulated them in a way that connected both logically and emotionally. We would come to understand him and feel what he meant in our core.
I immediately got a jolt of this style with the title of the very first chapter: “The Basics of Production: Delivering a Breakfast (or a College Graduate, or a Compiler, or a Convicted Criminal . . .).” Okay, I am interested. What does making a soft-boiled egg have to do with how many prisons we build? It turns out quite a bit. High Output Management opens by teaching us the importance of proper system design even when we are dealing with a system of human beings—especially when we are dealing with a system of human beings.
Andy then shows us how you can use these same principles to understand how society should operate. It doesn’t accomplish anything to declare that we need more kids going to college than to jail and demand that we build more schools than jails. In fact, it’s counterproductive. Identifying complex system problems is one thing. Solving them is something else entirely, and Andy lays out the tools to do just that.
Over the years, I have come to consider High Output Management a true masterpiece, and there are at least three core aspects to its genius. First, in as little as one sentence, it lucidly explains concepts that require entire books from lesser writers. Second, it consistently uncovers brand-new management ideas or finds new insights into old standards. Finally, while most management books attempt to teach basic competency, High Output Management teaches the reader how to be great.
Andy introduces management with this classic equation:
A manager’s output = the output of his organization + the output of the neighboring organizations under his influence.
On the surface it may seem simple, but he clarifies the essential difference between a manager and an individual contributor. A manager’s skills and knowledge are only valuable if she uses them to get more leverage from her people. So, Ms. Manager, you know more about our product’s viral loop than anyone in the company? That’s worth exactly nothing unless you can effectively transfer that knowledge to the rest of the organization. That’s what being a manager is about. It’s not about how smart you are or how well you know your business; it’s about how that translates to the team’s performance and output.
As a means to obtain this leverage, a manager must understand, as Andy writes: “When a person is not doing his job, there can only be two reasons for it. The person either can’t do it or won’t do it; he is either not capable or not motivated.” This insight enables a manager to dramatically focus her efforts. All you can do to improve the output of an employee is motivate and train. There is nothing else.
As he describes the planning process, Andy sums up his essential point with this eloquent nugget of wisdom: “I have seen far too many people who upon recognizing today’s gap try very hard to determine what decision has to be made to close it. But today’s gap represents a failure of planning sometime in the past.” Hopefully, the value of this short insight is not lost on the young reader. If you only understand one thing about building products, you must understand that energy put in early in the process pays off tenfold and energy put in at the end of the program pays off negative tenfold.
The book has an entire section dedicated to an often neglected, but critically important management tool: meetings. Andy makes us see this oldest of business principles in a new light. He teaches meetings from first principles, beginning with how to conduct a one-on-one. It seems incredible that the CEO of Intel would take the time to explain how to have a one-on-one.
Why is he doing this? It turns out that the one-on-one is not only a fundamental element in the manager/employee relationship, but perhaps the best source for organizational knowledge that a manager can get. In my experience, managers who don’t have one-on-ones understand very little about what’s happening in their organizations.
It is by understanding the simple things that Andy goes deep. For example, when people visit today’s technology companies they often remark about how casual the environments are, but with very little explanation about why they are that way. In fact, many CEOs do not understand why as they simply follow the trend, but Andy explains it perfectly:
A journalist puzzled by our management style once asked me, “Mr. Grove, isn’t your company’s emphasis on visible signs of egalitarianism such as informal dress, partitions instead of offices . . . just so much affectation?” My answer was that this is not affectation, but a matter of survival. In our business we have to mix knowledge-power people with position-power people daily, and together they make decisions that could affect us for years to come.
In this fashion, the book quickly gets to the heart of complex issues. It raises and deals with the stickiest management issues. Andy asks the question of whether you should be friends with the people you manage:
Everyone must decide for himself what is professional and appropriate here. A test might be to imagine yourself delivering a tough performance review to your friend. Do you cringe at the thought? If so, don’t make friends at work. If your stomach remains unaffected, you are likely to be someone whose personal relationships will strengthen work relationships.
By breaking down the process, he makes hard things manageable.
Ultimately, the power of High Output Management is that it creates expert rather than merely competent managers. A great example of this is the section on task-relevant maturity. This part of the book became very personal for me as it taught me how to formulate the most useful management question that I use in interviews: “Is it better to be a hands-on or hands-off manager?”
It seems like a simple enough question, but it sorts out the 95 percent of managers who never think deeply about their craft from the 5 percent who do. The answer, as Andy explains, is that it depends. Specifically, it depends on the employee. If the employee is immature in the task, then hands-on training is essential. If the employee is more mature, then a delegate approach is warranted. Andy presents a great example of this: “The subordinate did poor work. My associate’s reaction: ‘He has to make his own mistakes. That’s how he learns!’ The problem with this is that the subordinate’s tuition is paid by his customers. And that is absolutely wrong.”
Perhaps the chapter that best reflects Andy Grove is the last, “Why Training Is the Boss’s Job.” Often, people who manage in the so-called knowledge economy believe their employees are so smart that they need no training at all. Andy brilliantly corrects this notion by explaining why as customers we are flabbergasted when we encounter employees who are insufficiently trained at relatively simple tasks such as taking restaurant reservations. He then challenges us to imagine how furious customers of complex jobs will be if an employee isn’t properly trained. Finally, he reiterates his thesis that there are only two ways in which a manager can impact an employee’s output: motivation and training. If you are not training, then you are basically neglecting half the job.
Throughout the chapter, the reader feels Andy’s intense passion toward training and teaching, because in the end—more than anything else—he is a teacher . . . in the very best sense of the word.
Many years after reading High Output Management, I met Andy for the first time. Upon seeing him, I was so excited that I immediately blurted out how much I loved the book. In classic Andy Grove style, he shot back: “Why?” I did not expect that. I thought that he would say, “Thank you” or “I appreciate that,” but not “Why?” But that was Andy. He was always teaching and always expecting more from every student.
Caught completely off guard, I scrambled for the reason and came across a good one: “Every other management book that I’ve read explains the trivial, but yours gets to the real issues.” Upon hearing that, the master teacher softened and replied with a priceless story:
It’s funny that you say that about management books. I recently ran out of space on my bookshelf at home, so I was faced with a choice. I either had to throw away some books or buy a bigger house. Well, that was an easy decision, but which books to throw out? Then I thought, the management books! But I had a problem. Nearly every management book that I’d received was sent to me by the author and was autographed with a kind inscription. I felt badly about throwing away all those nice notes. So, I went through each book and tore out the inscription page then threw away the book. So now I have a large stack of pages of nice notes to me and plenty of space for good books.
I have never met anyone other than Andy Grove who would have a story like that. He uniquely balances the highest standards for clear thinking and performance with an undying belief in the underlying person. Who else would require so high a bar for writing that you had to be good enough to fit on his one bookshelf and still be so touched by the fact that you wanted him to read your work that he would save the page that you inscribed?
Later, in 2001, I met with Andy again and I asked him about a recent run of CEOs missing their numbers despite having told investors that their businesses were strong. The bubble had burst for the first wave of Internet companies nearly a year prior, so it surprised me that so many many of them had not seen this coming. Andy replied with an answer that I did not expect:
“CEOs always act on leading indicators of good news, but only act on lagging indicators of bad news.”
“Why?” I asked him. He answered in the style resonant of his entire book: “In order to build anything great, you have to be an optimist, because by definition you are trying to do something that most people would consider impossible. Optimists most certainly do not listen to leading indicators of bad news.”
But this insight won’t be in any book. When I suggested he write something on the topic, his response was: “Why would I do that? It would be a waste of time to write about how to not follow human nature. It would be like trying to stop the Peter Principle.* CEOs must be optimists and all in all that’s a good thing.” This is classic Andy Grove. He is amazingly perceptive and can see every flaw in every person, yet despite that he believes in human potential more than anyone. Maybe that’s why he has spent so much time teaching us to be better.
It has been an honor for me to learn from Andy Grove through the years and I am excited for everyone who is new to High Output Management to join me in this experience. I know that you will enjoy this marvelous book written by the best teacher that I have ever known.
Ben Horowitz, 2015
* The Peter Principle is a concept in management theory in which the selection of a candidate for a position is based on the candidate’s performance in their current role, rather than on abilities related to the intended role. Thus, “managers rise to the level of their incompetence.”

Revue de presse

"An organizational Baedeker for managers at all levels. . . . A highly credible handbook for organizing work and directing and developing employees." —The New York Times

“[Andy’s] book played a big role in shaping my management style.” —Mark Zuckerberg, cofounder and CEO of Facebook

"A good book, generous enough with advice and observations to be required reading." —The Wall Street Journal

"A great book. . . . Its elementary prescriptions form the basis of a highly effective management style." —San Francisco Chronicle

"An important book which says some very important things . . . beautifully and with style." —Peter Drucker 

High Output Management is a bible that every entrepreneur and every manager in the country should look at, read and understand.” —Bill Campbell, former Intuit CEO

“Andy exemplifies the best of Silicon Valley. Andy built the model for what a high quality Silicon Valley company could be.” —Marc Andreessen, creator of the original Mosaic and Netscape web browsers

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Première phrase
To understand the principles of production, imagine that you're a waiter, which I was while I went to college, and that your task is to serve a breakfast consisting of a three-minute soft-boiled egg, buttered toast, and coffee. Lire la première page
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Couverture | Copyright | Table des matières | Extrait | Index | Quatrième de couverture
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31 internautes sur 33 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
A great primer for middle managers 1 janvier 2012
Par J. Schulte - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
I'm a Vice President at a small public company, and I've been managing people for over ten years, and have an MBA from a top ranked business school. Still, I wish I had read this book when I first started managing people.

This certainly appears to me to be a book written by Andy Grove for his own managers at Intel, and I found it interesting to see how he thinks about management. Not surprisingly, he has a very pragmatic, operational view of what good managers do, and he presents a comprehensive guide for all the basics. His whole orientation is that managers are responsible for the total output of their teams, and his focus is always on accomplishments and outputs, not activities.

Topics that are included
- Looking at your operations and finding the bottle necks
- How to monitor and check your processes for high quality and high output
- How managers should spend their time, run team meetings, and stay in touch with subordinates through one on ones
- How to hire, coach, and provide feedback to build your team

What you won't find in this book
- How to think about strategy
- Competitive advantage
- Building a brand
- Competitive analysis

The book has been around for a while, and it's not a trendy management book. There is no new catch phrase or research based on fMRI or paradigm shift. There is nothing sexy or trendy. But it is a very solid introduction from someone who has proven to be among the best at managing. This is one of the great CEOs of our times, and I brilliant mind, passing along what he wants his managers to know. I think that many managers could vastly improve their performance if they studied and mastered the basics covered here rather than the nifty new concept from the latest HBR.
17 internautes sur 18 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Great book for teaching individual contributors the value of middle management 27 mai 2010
Par Christopher R. Carlson - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
I spent the first 10 years of my engineering career happily as an individual contributor for startup type organizations. One day the VP of engineering asked me, "I would like you to to hire a few people under you to grow the team. We need to be at 50 people by the end of the year." My reaction was very mixed. On the one hand I liked being recognized with an implied promotion, on the other hand I was being asked to manage. From my perspective at the time the harder problems to solve were technical and I did not covet the job of a professional meeting goer. And besides I already pretty much managed myself, so what value do managers really add anyway?

I wish someone had handed me a copy of Grove's book: "High Output Management" earlier on. In it Grove, one of the worlds most successful and talented engineers, explains the essential value of middle management to an engineering organization. He also explains, among other things, many of the essential the tools for successful middle managers: how to think about priorities, the value of communication, a useful framework for scheduling and illustrating trade-offs and how people are intrinsically motivated. He comes across as credible, concrete and analytical. I.e. as a great engineer who manages great engineers.

I now hand out copies of this book to every engineer I find either considering making the transition to management or ones early in their managerial career struggling with finding self affirmation in the role. Like many great tools or resources, my only complaint is not finding this book sooner.
11 internautes sur 11 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Solid management advice 18 mars 2014
Par Alberto Vargas - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
I got this book because it was recommended by Ben Horowitz in The Hard Thing About Hard Things, another solid management book.

This book (High Output Management) dates from 1983 and it shows in the tone and subject matter. The book predates widespread email and talks a lot about manufacturing. However, these are not shortcomings. In fact, it is great that the author is not distracted by things like agile, lean, kanban, etc modern marvels. He makes an analogy between a fast food restaurant and other processes, including knowledge work and HR, and the analogy holds up. Of course, he also gives examples from his work at Intel.

Key highlights:

- what are high leverage activities and how to focus on them
- how many direct reports are optimal
- different types of meetings and how to run them, including 1:1s
- task relevant maturity (TRM) of employees and how to manage them accordingly
- how to give performance feedback
- compensation and promotions
- why and how you should invest in training programs
- how to try to keep an employee who is quitting

Everything is meat and potatoes of people and process management, and to the point. As I was reading this book, much of it resonated with my own experience, and at other times I was amazed at insights that showed me how Andy Grove truly was a top manager, after starting as a researcher and engineer.

I wish I had a mentor or manager as wise as Andy Grove.

Highly recommended.
9 internautes sur 11 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Management in a nutshell 15 février 2000
Par Adam F. Jewell - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
Grove does an excellent job of relating production methods to something we can all understand, a food and beverage establishment. Aside from the production model, Grove opens the hood and examines compensation systems, meetings, employee review procedures and processes, and briefly discusses motivation ala Maslow's heirarchy. It's good, easy reading, and may be very informative and thought provoking to the open mind looking top gain a better understanding of Industrial Management.
6 internautes sur 7 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Great teaching tool 23 octobre 1997
Par George N. Wells - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
I came upon this book many years ago while an internal consultant for AT&T Bell Laboratories Technical Education. Since then I have found it to be a valuable tool in teaching the basics of management to students inside and outside of corporate structure. I still use it as a member of the faculty of Bloomfield College's Materials Management Institute.
Grove has managed to capture the essence of what a company is all about by using simple examples. No, this isn't a high concept leading edge management text. However, it does communicate the fundamentals of running a manufacturing company clearly and simply. It provides a foundation on which you can build the knowledge of the leading edge theories.
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