The topics and scenarios discussed in Individual Performer to Manager, and the advice offered, come from the author’s educational grounding in sociology, science, and business, but primarily from the experiences that he lived through, working with people day in and day out, starting as an individual performer, then progressively rising through the ranks to become a team leader, supervisor, manager, then manager of a Systems Engineering Center, and last as a credentialed project manager, all over a thirty-year career with a large multinational corporation.
Captured in this book, are some of the most noteworthy experiences over those years, where the author has had to compare and contrast the work and contributions of many employees.
He’s had to assess people's performance; confront people face-to-face with performance issues, including terminating employees; provided guidance on how to improve performance; ranked people one above the other with justifications that are scrutinized and challenged; determined who will receive perks, bonuses, and salary increases; decided on who earned promotions and new opportunities; and also had the painful and demoralizing experience of having to lay many people off, not because of performance issues, but due to corporate cutbacks.
The author recognized and celebrated with people and teams on individual and project successes, but also had to call together and stand up at all-hands meetings to announce to everyone of impending budget cutbacks and salary freezes, as well as layoffs, while trying to sell the reasons for these corporate-driven decisions.
First and foremost, the author’s goal with Individual Performer to Manager is to help people to enhance their success as an individual performer, and this comes from the perspective where the author always wondered himself whether he had the “right stuff” to keep advancing in his career.
He hopes to reach people who think, like he once thought, that they don’t have the needed traits or aptitude, or may not be smart enough, or who think they are too quiet and timid to progress to higher levels in their careers. Even if the reader has no desire to move into management, the topics on management should broaden the reader’s perspective and understanding of that role, and provide him/her greater insight into how their work is being assessed and judged by management, to help them enhance their performance and value.
If the reader is targeting a management career track, this book, through many examples, covers some of the key aspects that will help to prepare the reader to face many of these new challenges, including project management.
The author discusses these subjects on a very personal, experiential level, and not from a typical business management textbook perspective.
Oshiro's clear account of his career—including both achievements and failures—gives readers confidence in his advice, and he advocates for readers, advising them to believe in themselves and to move on from employers who don’t sufficiently value them. He shows managers how to encourage top performances and balance work and life demands. Oshiro also offers an unflinching and realistic look at doing what one must do to stay afloat during hard times, using his short-lived sales career as an example. Admirably, Oshiro focuses on the positives of his former employers, and he is especially generous in praising his time at Ross Perot’s company Electronic Data Systems, singling out Perot as a guiding light in his working life.
Suitable for executives and would-be managers at all levels and stages of their careers, Oshiro’s practical guide will serve as a handbook for success for those who follow its wise advice. His own sterling ethics are on display throughout, and his empathetic tone and well-paced narrative will easily draw readers in and invite them to soak up his knowledge.
Takeaway: Managers at any stage of their careers can benefit from this mix of thoughtful memoir and timeless business advice.
Great for fans of Bill George’s True North: Discover Your Authentic Leadership, Peter F. Drucker’s The Effective Executive.
Design and typography: B+
Marketing copy: B