Peter Drucker once said, “I learn by listening, mostly to myself.” And many experts on learning have confirmed that the best way to discover what you know is to write. So that’s how I learn.
While I specialize in strategy, I’ve written 13 books (15, if you count two that were complete rewrites) on a range of management topics. I also edited another, Trends Transforming South Africa.
What’s Wrong With Management And How To Get It Right was published in August 2015 by Penguin Random House. Here’s the publisher’s sales message:
The role and responsibilities of business today are different than they were in the past. They, more than any other social institution, will determine our future. Yet companies worldwide continue to under-perform.
In his latest book, top strategy consultant Tony Manning brings managers the insights and advice they need for the coming decades of turbulence and hypercompetition.
Drawing lessons from 100 years of management history, he highlights the failure of the management advice industry to produce new ideas, identifies eight critical strategy practices that have stood the test of time, and explains how to apply them
Based on extensive research and practical experience, this fascinating and practical advice is a must read for anyone interested in improving business results (read more here).
My latest book, The Critical Core (Penguin Random House, April 2017) focuses on the principles and practices that every company needs. It’s a quick read, that will give you lasting benefits. A copy should be on all your managers’ desks.
THE GORDON INSTITUTE OF BUSINESS SCIENCE ACUMEN REVIEW
Chris Gibbons, Editor, August 2017
With more than 30 years as one of South Africa’s leading business consultants, Tony Manning knows a thing or two about strategy. Amongst his key insights is the fact that there has been little truly new in management thinking or practice over the past 60 years, and that despite bookshop shelves groaning with texts that purport to tell you otherwise, there is no such thing as a quick fix or a silver bullet.
Instead, Manning, who is also a member of GIBS faculty, has brought his considerable experience to bear and sought answers to a series of fundamental questions which include: “Why do some companies, facing similar challenges to others, stand out from the crowd and consistently get superior results to others?” and “Why, with so much information and advice so easily, widely, and quickly available, is corporate performance so different from company to company, and so erratic within them?”
Pondering these brings him to one central question: “Are there must-do practices that make companies competitive, and if so, what are they?”
His conclusion, after extensive review of his own experience along with a mass of external evidence, is that there is “a small set of practices that show up repeatedly, meet a set of rigorous criteria, and are necessary in all companies, in all industries, across the world.” He calls these practices “the critical core” and they first made an appearance in his 2015 book, What’s Wrong With Management And How To Get It Right.
The Critical Core follows, after requests from his readers for a shorter version of the book, with “the ‘how-to’ material to be more accessible.” Shorter it is indeed, but nothing it contains leads me to change my opinion as I gave it when I reviewed What’s Wrong With Management for an earlier edition of Acumen.: “Apply Manning’s eight practices to your business with rigour, and you will have to think as hard as you have ever thought about anything.” (Acumen 14, Q4, 2015, P.82) Take Manning’s lessons to heart – all of them, because none of them stands in isolation – and I would be greatly surprised if you didn’t find yourself playing in a very different league.
STRATEGY ALWAYS THE FOCUS
Although I’ve covered various topics in my books, the four always has been strategy. Unfortunately, most of my books are now out of print, though some are still available online.
My “little red strategy book,” Making Sense of Strategy, which was published in South Africa, the United States, and the Netherlands, sold phenomenally and is available as a Kindle download from www.amazon.com or as an e-book from www.takealot.com.
Tony Manning’s Management Toolkit and Competing Through Value Management are available the same way.
(A copy of Discovering The Essence of Leadership was recently available from an Amazon reseller for $180!)