I finished Managing Humans from Michael Lopp today. I knew of Lopp through “Rands Leadership”, the Slack community
he created. I enjoyed learning from the people in the community and thought I’d pick up his book. I’m not sure what I
expected going into the book. I think I expected tips and rules that I can follow. After trying to summarize the book, I
think what I wanted and got was a set of mental models that I am happy to add to my toolbox.
I caught myself thinking “when is this going to get good?” a few times as I went through the book. This is not a knock
on Lopp’s skill as a writer and a story teller. I went into the book looking for prescriptions of management tips. But
the book is more of a series of stories from Lopp’s experience as a manager. What I synthesized from these stories,
then, is a set of Mental Models on how I approach management. The ones that come to mind are:
Free electrons are master ICs. This is what they look like, what they do, and how to manage them. Who are the Free
Electrons on your list.
You have a list of Amazing People That You’d Love to Work With, right? When you need to recruit someone, you always
reach out to them first.
The VP Who Cannot Decide
They exist. What do you do with them? Spoiler: Lopp didn’t give an answer.
The Completionists vs Incrementalists
Lopp wrote about this more than once. They are both needed.
New Guard vs Old Guard
How to think about transitioning from a Start-Up to maturity and the clash between the old and new guard.
Fez failed to manage his career. What do you do as his manager?
Manager, Lead-of-Leads, and the Director
Where he names and gives roles to three different types of leaders.
The Importance of Values
The importance of debating about Values. Why determining Values is often more important than the Outcomes.
Will vs Skill
Situation Leadership was already a part of my Mental Models. Lopp described this as Will-vs-Skill.
Tell, Sell, Consult, and Participate
Different styles of delegation. Lopp actually didn’t talk about this. But there are two sentences that led me to explore
this particular Mental Model for people-management.
How to Run a Meeting
Becaus Meetings are important, dammit.
Stuff I Ignored
There were tools I didn’t add to my tool box. I can’t put my finger on why they are not compelling to me. I’d say they
are likely outside my sphere of experience/daily problems, thus not particularly meaningful to me.
- Saying No
- DNA Meetings
- Subtlety and Subterfuge
- The Mandate
- The Rands Test
- The Soak
- The War Room
- The Reorg
PS - I thought I had written about Mental Models. But clearly I have not. So look for a future article on it.