It's The Manager by Jim Clifton & Jim Harter

8 Jun 2020 8:49 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

This fascinating book reveals groundbreaking insights into the 52 discoveries from Gallup’s study of the future of work. Based on new research, it provides insights into key skills, and the importance of managers.

As the fourth industrial revolution drives rapid change the demands on managers are also changing. Remote workforces, diversity, inclusion, increased automation, gig-workers, and remote working and requiring new working practices. Gallup represents that managers must be developing new skills to handle this new world of work.

As the nature of work, and the demographics or workers, have changed dramatically in recent years, management practices have been stuck in the past. Millennials, and Generation Z make up more and more of workforces and they don’t want to work for command-and-control bosses. Traditionals (the generation before the Boomers) may be the most engaged of all generations, yet they are slowly disappearing from businesses. Younger generations expect something different, both as consumers and employees. Organizations need to keep pace with these changes and ahead of competitors to remain relevant. Managers are the most influential and powerful 'lever' an organization has for answering this need. More than any other role, managers can increase an employee's engagement, and with it, productivity. Yet, just like the needs and expectations of today's workforce, the role of managers is also changing.

Unlike usual management books, It's The Manager, is written to be helpful for CEOs, CHROs, and managers. Doing so could well improve an organization's performance and profitability. Chapters are short and punchy. Ideas are deftly explained and presented in actionable ways. Authors Jim Clifton and Jim Harter begin by identifying declining economic dynamism and productivity as the # 1 problems for the world's organizations. Acquiring other businesses has become the most common strategy of organizational growth for all Fortune 1000 companies. Quite obviously, this is an unsustainable option. Maximizing human potential must replace this method of growth and increase profitability if businesses are going to thrive. Replacing the old 'boss' mentality with a new and improved coaching method for management is part of this. This new perspective has the potential to catapult businesses into a future that is both profitable and sustainable. When team inspiration grows, clients, revenue, and quality earnings grow with it. Managers are the key to unlocking an organization's potential, now and into the far future.


With five sections – Strategy, Culture, Employment Brand, Boss to Coach, and The Future of Work – the authors lead us through how managers can influence teams and ultimately a business' viability at each of these junctures. This structure allows readers to dive into these pages at the point most relevant to their organization. The clear chapter titles make it simple to find scientifically-backed advice on any number of organizational questions leaders or managers may have. Written to be returned to time and again, this business and management book is based on more than 30 years of data, collected across 160 countries through interviews with employees and managers working in a wide range of industries.

A core theme within the text is that people today aspire to have a good job more than almost anything else. Individuals engage with work that supports their lifestyle, development, idea of who they are, and whom they want to be. More than any other single thing a company can do to provide this ideal is to develop great managers because great managers are the facilitators of good jobs.

When it comes to strategy, companies need to provide their workers with more than just a task and paycheck at the end of the month. Employees now want purpose with their paychecks, development with satisfaction, ongoing conversations with their managers, and managers who are more like coaches than bosses. Organizations need to develop their teams' strengths rather than focusing on eliminating weaknesses. Job seekers and employees are, above all else, looking for work that supports their life and growth as well as an income.


To aid this aspiration, managers at all levels need well-defined, articulated missions, and purposes that they can convey to their teams with passion and enthusiasm. They need to be able to help everyone on their team relate to the work they do each day and understand how it is an integral part of creating a bigger picture and meeting a grander purpose. Managers need to feel inspired and valuable to do this; it is up to leaders to develop them. When managers feel this and work together with other managers, organizations can change and evolve with the demands of their market.

The authors tell us culture begins with purpose, determines your brand, and has a direct, measurable impact on performance. A definite purpose leads to better employee retention. ALL organizations have a culture – yet only a small number have intentionally cultivated theirs. Lack of attention to developing the organization's culture is detrimental to the employees, managers, and leaders' motivation and thereby to the entire business. To understand a company's culture, leaders should be asking themselves some key questions:

  1. How well do our purpose, brand, and culture align?
  2. How clear is our purpose to employees?
  3. Are our employees committed to our culture?

Once a leader has answered these questions, they can identify their culture and nurture it. Helpfully, the authors have supplied the tools to do just that. Healthy organizational cultures attract world-class talent. They can maximize the organic growth delivered from customer-employee interactions and are agile when responding to market needs. Simply put, organizations need strong cultures to remain competitive.

In today's hyper-connected world, your company's employment brand is more important than ever. Millennials seek jobs that fit their lifestyle, bring them opportunities to learn, advance, and develop professionally. The quality of a business' managers and interesting, engaging work is more important to them than pay. What's more, these job seekers can research, review, and gain insights into most organizations before they even apply.

Hiring experiences are shared far and wide – if they're negative, expect them to be shared far and wide.

Valid assessment systems, psychometric testing, and enriching the talent pool are all strategies this book identifies for enhancing your employment brand and increasing the success of hires. As an added benefit the book comes with a code to take the Clifton Strengths Finder assessment for free!

Businesses can augment college experiences with meaningful internships, providing mentors, or working with institutions to support semester-long projects. That will enable them to develop future employees for their organization while simultaneously filtering the talent that suits their needs. Students receive an enriched learning experience, and your company is future-proofing its hiring. From hiring to onboarding, through to exiting and succession planning, a company's employment brand and strategies can be adjusted and tweaked to protect the future while also improving the present. Managers are integral to each step of this process – encouraging teams, providing mentoring to students, listening to employees at exit interviews, and managing their path of development and engagement.

Tweaking the manager's role and adjusting the perspective from boss to coach is a significant key to influencing the retention and engagement of all individuals in their team.

It is estimated that poor management costs $7 trillion globally. Performance management needs to step aside for performance development. Eliminating weaknesses needs to be replaced with strengths-based coaching. Strength-based cultures consistently out-perform competitors. And who is best placed to implement these changes? It's the manager.

Continual coaching of employees powerfully impacts performance; when accompanied by progress feedback, teams become more engaged, increase productivity, and are less likely to be lured away by better benefits or higher pay. Engaged employees need to be paid at least 20% more by a competitor to be convinced to switch companies.


If leaders want to take advantage of these findings and boost their business' bottom line and shareholder's stakes, they need to invest in their managers. They need to equip them with the tools to become coaches. The manager's roles need to be redefined and expectations clarified, the resources required to coach their teams, and the professional development to make this switch of focus need to be delivered. Evaluation practices that accurately measure this performance need to be created.

This book shows how managers can help organizations adapt to a fast-changing world. All organizations need them. They are the cohort that can mobilize the workforce to meet the challenges the future is thrusting towards us. From remote teams to artificial intelligence, attracting talent, and organizational agility, great managers, is the answer to building your business into the future.

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About the Talent Transformation Guild

The Talent Transformation Guild provides resources for professionals that are preparing for upskilling being triggered by 4th industrial revolution and accelerated by Covid-19. Members include c-level executives, human resource professionals, consultants, and coaches. As a member-driven organization it promotes best practices via webcasts, webinars, podcasts, articles, white papers, research and conversations to improve and make the best of the talents of individuals for the benefit of themselves and the organisations they work for.

The Guild enable stimulating and meaningful discussions to help professionals prepare for talent transformations at individual, team and organizational levels. The Guild supports the Talent Transformation Pyramid, an open source model, designed specifically to recognize the widest possible range of talent influencers and skills. To date many decision-makers are caught in traditional, linear thinking and immediate concerns to consider this. The Talent Transformation Pyramid enables you to address the challenge by promoting more strategic thinking with a focus on an organization’s readiness to perform. https://www.talenttransformation.com/

About the Future of Work

According to the World Economic Forum, new and emerging technologies are affecting our lives in ways that indicate we are at the beginning of a Fourth Industrial Revolution. This new era will build and extend the impact of digitization in new and unimaginable ways. The Fourth Industrial Revolution can be described as the advent of “cyber-physical systems” involving new capabilities for people and machines. This will see new ways for technology to become embedded within societies and even our bodies.

With process automation, robotic automation, the internet of things the nature of work will change. Some analysts predict that more than 40% of tasks currently performed by humans will be delegated to machines. This does not mean that 40% of people will be put out of work but it does mean that most workers will have to upskill. HR experts are predicting this will dramatically change the landscape of our workforce.


About the Guild's Founders

Eric Shepherd is an accomplished leader of international businesses and associations focused on talent, assessments, and success. Eric recently stepped away from a CEO role where he worked to build a SaaS company into a multi-million-dollar international assessment software business. Eric has also led industry and standards initiatives to promote best practices for assessments, learning, and interoperability. He served on the HR Open Standards Consortium to further the goals of open, transparent and trusted approach for HR data standards development. Eric was instrumental in developing the IMS QTI interoperability standard and assisted with the US Department of Defense Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) initiative to define the Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM) and the Aviation Industry Computer-Based Training Committee (AICC) to define launch and track standards for Learning Management Systems.

Martin Belton has provided marketing solutions to organizations supplying HR and Learning solutions throughout Europe. After working with some of the UK’s leading PR Consultancies, he joined Questionmark where he was Sales and Marketing Director working alongside Talent Transformation’s co-founder Eric Shepherd. He was also Sales & Marketing Director at Kallidus (formerly e2train) for seven years before working as a marketing consultant to organizations supplying talent and learning systems including Netex and Saba. Most recently Martin has organized the eLearning Network Annual conference and exhibition.

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