30 Key Questions that Unlock Management

Brian Sutton, Robina Chatham

Published by

IT Governance

ISBN

9781849283441

RRP

£49.95

Reviewed by

Anthony Sutcliffe, P G Dip CCI, MBCS

Score

10 out of 10

It’s often said that managers generally fall into one of two types. There are those who were ordinary staff promoted into management and have limited people management skills; or those who have worked within the business and may have the relevant managerial skills, but don’t understand the technical issues or the people who work within those departments. 

This book is aimed at both types and offers a way to try to make any manager of people more effective in their role and improve their value to their company.

The book is very highly structured around the “30 Questions” that are referred to in the title. It makes effective use of a variety of standard literary methods such as mind maps, bullet point lists, key item dialogue boxes and mini exercises throughout the chapters; this is all designed to provide the reader with a way to absorb and understand the key topics of how to frame the questions and find the right answers.

There are also a considerable number of suggested additional reading items to add to the material contained within the pages.

Although the book could easily be read straight through, it is clearly designed to be read in smaller sections according to the needs of the specific reader.

It would also be quite possible to highlight the key sections that are of the most interest and to then work primarily on those without losing the overall message of the book; and as such it would also be useful as a reference work for ideas on resolution of the occasional problem.

It could be argued that sometimes things don’t always quite fit into the neat four headings of the standard quadrant chart that is used throughout the book.

People and circumstances generally have a way of blurring the lines between the different categories; but this shouldn’t detract from the principles offered. Much of the material is based upon sound management practice with a proven background and applicable in a wide variety of different environments.

For the most part, the exercises offered are examples of the typical sort of problems faced by managers at every level of the business. The authors discuss a variety of reasons for the issues to occur and take the reader through the logical process of how to approach defining answers to these issues; and there are a number of very practical solutions.

I found the book to be very enjoyable to read; although the writing style could almost be described as conversational, it does also carry a certain gravitas to the subject matter.

The key issues are very well detailed and the authors provide a well-considered justification for each item, breaking it down into the reasons why you should ask the relevant question and highlighting the impact that the topic will have on the organisation. These could easily be adapted for use within the reader’s own business and so provide a starting point for the improvement process.

This is an excellent book for anyone involved in supervising people and will provide a means to improve those management skills.

March 2013