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May 16, 2006

Excerpts: Your Management Sucks by Mark Stevens

By: Dylan Schleicher @ 3:05 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture




From the author known for his first book, Your Marketing Sucks, comes his latest rant, Your Management Sucks. His lessons are interesting and told well. Below you'll find the first 500 words for his latest; it's just enough to give you a feel for his writing style. ----- One morning in the year 2001, I woke up and thought to myself, Ive built a nice company. There are fifty-seven people in my employ . . . Ive got a full client roster . . . MSCO Inc. is profitable. Very profitable. Then I meandered downstairs to have coffee with my wife and said, Honey, Im going to fire everybody. She said, What are you talking about? (I get that a lot.) So I explained. Weve got a team of good people. And good people can build a nice company . . . but they cant build a great one. So Im going to fire everybody and start recruiting only the really top performers in every business discipline. When we built this business, we viewed it as a work in progress, always tinkering with all gears and levers to make it better. And better. But one day, for who knows what reason, we stopped. Or maybe I should stay I stopped. But no more. Looking back, Im not sure my wife believed I was serious. More like first-thoughts-in-the-morning wishful thinking. But I knew from the moment that I announced my war plan over a bowl of Shredded Wheat, I was armed and dangerous and ready to go. Not that it was a whim. For a year or so Id been thinking about it, ruminating over it, assessing the risks, dreaming of the benefits, and exploring the implications. I founded MSCO on the principle that the marketplace was lacking a new kind of entitya hybrid between a marketing firm and strategic consultancyand I pulled it all together and developed a methodology and created a brand and built a team and secured clients and went through the trial and error, the donnybrook, the roller-coaster wonder of making it all work. The roots of the business trace back to a warm June day right around my twenty-second birthday. As a hard-core, antiestablishment, Ill-do-it-my-way 1960s kid, I had taken a zigzag route to career and the workplace. High school held little interest for me. (Living in the New York City borough of Queens, I could alwaysany time of yearpick up a girlfriend and drive out to Jones Beach. So who the hell wanted to sit in a dreary cell of a room in the dreary prison of a building called Bayside High School? Not Mark Stevens.) Next I meandered through a third-rate collegetook off a semester to care for my family upon the death of my father (who left us $84, no hard assets, and Himalayan bills), and later on I took off another semester student-partying in Paris. Funny story there. I went to Paris with the $300 I inherited when my grandmother died (I lost my dad and my beloved maternal grandparents all in eighteen months). Naturally, Im living in pathetic dumps, but the wine is cheap and the girls are amazing and I spend my summer days as the only guy lying in the sun on a French houseboat (the Piscine Deligny) with two hundred women in Band-Aid bikinis. Life was good, and then it got better. -------- From Your Management Sucks by Mark Stevens. Copyright 2006 by Mark Stevens. Published by Crown Business, a division of Random House, Inc.

About Dylan Schleicher


Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.