Authors: Denny Strigl and Frank Swiatek

Publisher: McGraw-Hill, 2011

ISBN-13: 978-0071759137, 224 pages


Denny F. Strigl, former CEO and president of Verizon Wireless, is a no-holds-barred type of guy. Writing with performance consultant Frank Swiatek, Strigl offers straight-shooting advice for managers and those who aspire to the role. The authors lay out exactly what’s required of you every day to become a great manager. They present no sweeping concepts or grand theories, and little here will surprise you. Nevertheless, the authors outline the proper activities, behaviors and characteristics of a quality manager. getAbstract recommends this simple yet savvy book to any manager or manager-in-training.

No one knows what you are supposed to do – so be sure to do it well

As a young executive in the telecommunications industry, Denny F. Strigl was excited about his promotion to a managerial support position. He didn’t know much about his new job, so he arrived early on his first day of work. He went to meet his new boss and get his instructions. An assistant told him that the boss had not yet arrived and probably would be behind schedule most of the day. Strigl returned to his own office. Because Strigl didn’t know what his job was or what his duties were, he had nothing to do until his boss appeared two days later.

The boss said he had no idea what Strigl’s job entailed, but urged the newcomer to do his “best every day.” He suggested that Strigl meet with the department head to learn his duties. Strigl tried to connect with the department head for several days. Finally, Strigl ran into him in an elevator and asked if they could meet. The executive suggested that Strigl schedule an appointment through his assistant. Strigl explained that he had been trying to do that for days. The department head told Strigl that “he was a busy man.”

After another week of passive ignorance, Strigl “camped out” next to the department head’s office until they could meet. The department head told Strigl, “Your job is to carve out a niche for yourself and perfect it.”

Strigl soon learned that no one in his department knew their jobs, either. After six months, he was grateful to transfer to another department. He took with him one lesson: Managers must provide “clear goals and direction.” Strigl swore that during his future managerial career he would never cast such a “negative shadow.”

Strigl rose through the ranks, spending four decades in the communications business and becoming president and CEO of the telecommunications giant Verizon Wireless. During that time, he developed the philosophy that all managers, no matter what their fields, departments or industries, have one job: to deliver the results their organizations expect and require.

The manager’s job

Nothing matters except performance. In any company, measure managerial performance against the “four fundamentals”:

1. “Grow revenue.” Increasing revenue is not only the job of sales and marketing. It is every manager’s responsibility. To illustrate, a human resources (HR) manager might devise a program to increase sales.

2. “Get new customers.” Every manager can build the company’s client base. For example, an information technology (IT) manager could develop a more efficient ordering system to attract customers.

3. “Keep the customers you already have.”Every employee in the company can optimize customers’ experiences to keep them loyal and happy.

4. “Eliminate costs.” Managers must figure out ways to operate more effectively and less expensively.

If you focus your management efforts on these four fundamental objectives, you’ll prosper. But if you get caught up in the extraneous activities that accompany management – filling out forms, emailing, attending conferences – you’ll suffer…

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