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What is the problem you are trying to solve?

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Or as Peter Drucker said, “I was taught that you make a diagnosis before you operate. And nine times out of ten, when you make the diagnosis, you don’t operate.”

There is a huge array of management tools out there. Some are well established; others are of more recent vintage. The common denominator of all these tools is that they all promise to help business owners tackle critical areas of management: defining an organisation’s strategic direction, managing customers and costs, boosting workforce performance, and more.

A key question facing all business owners is: Which tools will work for me?

Review of management tools
The late Jeremy Hope, and co-author Steve Player, have done the business world a huge service by conducting a critical review of the huge choice of common management tools used by companies to improve performance. Their review book highlights 40 relevant-for-today tools including: Mission Statements, Strategic Planning, Stretch Goals, Knowledge Management, Benchmarking, Sustainability, Loyalty Management, Activity-Based Costing, Key Performance Indicators, Performance Appraisals and Executive Compensation. While the book is written for leaders of for-profit enterprises, non-profit leaders and managers will certainly find huge value in this toolbox.

Only 30% of management tools work
The authors reach a surprising and unsettling conclusion: only 30 per cent of the tools available actually deliver. While most tools are sound in theory, they are often not fit for purpose, or are misused. Too many executives buy and implement even well-known management tools without first asking, “What is the problem we are trying to solve?”
In their hard-headed but easy-to-read analysis of which management tools make the cut – and which don’t, the authors do not pull any punches. They explain how to select the right tools, how to implement them correctly, and how to extract maximum value from each.

 Beyond Performance Management is a vital addition to any business owners tool-kit. It provides a highly accessible overview to owners who may have heard about these tools, but who don’t know enough about them or how/when to use them. This book will help you avoid the temptation to choose a particular management tool just because everyone is talking about it.

They add, “Too many organisations rush into buying and implementing tools without first considering the fundamental question: which problem are we trying to solve? Framing and answering this question would avoid many expensive mistakes.”

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