“Why training is the boss’s job” is the last chapter of High Output Management, a widely praised management book by former Intel’s CEO Andy Grove. I am moving jobs in a few weeks and stumbled on this book looking for something written on how to manage a research lab. The first chapter of the book explains how the same principles can be applied to understand and design any system with human beings. This was my first interest in the book, to use those general organisational principles into my new job. All of Mr Grove’s book is full of useful ideas explained in a characteristic straightforward style so easy to understand. His management proposals are also like that, simple and effective. The last chapter though is absolutely brilliant. Training employees should be a flexible, ongoing process and the direct responsibility of the boss, their primary management role. Even more in a knowledge based organisation. There are two different training tasks: teaching new employees the skills needed to perform their job, and teaching new ideas, principles, or skills to current employees. Not everyone needs training in the same way, some are better off being delegated, and others will need a hands-on manager that shows how to perform critical tasks. Realising who to train and what for – others and oneself – is the backbone of good management.
A good summary of this exceptional book can be found in this blog.