The Corner Office: How Top CEOs Made It and How You Can Too by Adam Bryant

This book was recommended to me by an amazing lady (thanks Sue!) so I thought I’d give it a whirl.

I’m so glad I did, because it’s full of tips for managers at any level (not just CEO’s) and it’s given me these two fabulous analogies to add to my list.the-corner-office-400x400-imadz7fzucgj5g3d

1. Be a coach, not a critic
2. Hire Tiggers, not Eeyores

I love number one and find it such a useful theme/reminder for me. It also ties in beautifully with another statement I recently read on a management document: “I coach them through the game; I don’t play it for them. The coach doesn’t play on the field.”

Number two just makes me smile – I bet we’ve all worked with an Eeyore or two before!

The book follows the rough format of interviews with different/famous CEO’s (though the chapters are on themes not people/interviews) and what can be learnt from all of them. I was mostly drawn to the people management tips, but there is also wisdom on time management, measurement, career advice and delivering results.

One of my other favourite tips was around the ‘rule of three’ in terms of being a great manager; competence, confidence and caring. Such a simple mantra to keep in mind – I agree with the author that if you get these three right then you’ll be winning!

Here’s the explanation

1. Competence
“The first is competence—just being good at what you do, what ever it is, and focusing on the job you have, not on the job you think you want to have.”

2. Confidence
“The second one is confidence. People want to know what you think. So you have to have enough desirable self-confidence to articulate a point of view.”

3. Caring
“The third thing is caring. Nothing today is about one individual. This is all about the team, and in the end, this is about giving a damn about your customers, your company, the people..”

7 more tips from the Corner Office

(headings = mine, quotes = directly from the book)

1. Ask better questions
“Though CEOs are paid to have answers, their greatest contribution to their organizations may be asking the right questions—a skill that starts with passionate curiosity.”

2. Get out of your comfort zone
“I say yes to things that I really don’t want to do, or I get involved in things that are difficult for me to be involved in, for what ever reason. (Steve Hannah, CEO of The Onion)

3. Hire Tiggers
Mindy Grossman of HSN uses Winnie-the-Pooh as a reference point. She says she likes to hire people who are Tiggers, not Eeyores.

4. Be a coach
Here’s another approach: Be a coach, not a critic.

5. Focus on improvement
And if I spend my time focusing on everything that’s bad, I’ll get nothing done. Or I could say, what are really the best things about the people I have? What makes them great, and how can I really improve them one or two notches? And if I spend my time on that, then I’ll have a great organization.

6. Tell people when they’ve peed on the carpet
Carol Bartz of Yahoo prefers the “puppy theory” feedback.
“When the puppy pees on the carpet, you say something right then because you don’t say six months later, ‘Remember that day, January twelfth, when you peed on the carpet?’

7. Appreciate and praise wherever you can
“People leave companies for two reasons. One, they don’t feel appreciated. And two, they don’t get along with their boss.”

Grab your own tips and the book over here on Amazon 

Happy reading,

C x

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