Book Smarts

This book was published in 1982 and was No. 1 on the New York Times best-seller list for many weeks. This is one of the best books on managing people. For those of you who have read it, dust it off and read it again. It has a wealth of practical management techniques.

This is one you can apply right away: “Help people reach their full potential, catch them doing something right.” In my 25 years of sales training I have found those few owners who do this get outstanding results. It is the natural tendency of owners and managers to catch their people doing something wrong. This begins to wear on employees and is certainly not the way to motivate them. Jewelers have no idea what this costs. The authors give a good reason why you should catch a person doing something right: “Because people who feel good about themselves produce good results.”

The book is written like a story about a young man looking for an effective manager because he wants to become one. Then he heard marvelous stories about a special manager called The One Minute Manager and interviewed him. He discovered that all his management techniques were done in one minute. There is the one-minute goal setting, one-minute praising, and one-minute reprimand.

This book is loaded with statements that put the blame where it belongs: “What’s wrong with most businesses today is that their people really do not produce. Much of the reason for this poor business performance is simply because the people are managed so poorly.” A good example is what the authors call the “Leave ’em alone and zap ’em mentality.” A manager waits six months or a year for a performance review and overwhelms a person with what they are doing wrong. Instead, a performance review should be an ongoing process. That makes good sense.

The authors do not beat around the bush. For instance, here is the one-minute goal setting for a manager: “Take a minute: Look at your goals. Look at your performance. See if your behavior matches your goals.”

This book is different from most management books in that you can easily apply it to your salespeople as well as all the employees in your jewelry store. However, I recommend their One Minute Reprimand should be used only for a serious offense, such as walking away and leaving a showcase open or jewelry on top of the counter.

Read this book for more sound management techniques that you’ll want to apply right away to increase your sales. I’m sure you’ll agree with the authors that “the best minute I spend is the one I invest in people.”