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Lunch » Tags » Books » Reviews » The 12 Simple Secrets of Microsoft Management: How to Think and Act Like a Microsoft Manager and Take Your Company to the Top » User review

Easy to List...Difficult to Implement

  • Jan 12, 2000
As indicated in The Empire Strikes Back, the Yoda would agree with one of the 12 ("Perform, Perform, Perform"), advising Luke Skywalke:, "Do or do not. There is no try." Paradoxically, Microsoft's emphasis on performance (eg dominance of a market) co-exists with Microsoft's requirement of calculated risks because, as Thielen explains, "Fast failure is acceptable; slow failure is not. But even more unacceptable is no failure. If people never fail, then they are not trying hard enough. They are not pushing the envelope....There is no penalty for understandable failures on the road to success (aside from exceedingly stupid things), and there are substantial rewards for success. So employees at Microsoft will make attempt after attempt for success without worrying about the failures the unsuccessful attempts led to." But not indefinitely....

Throughout The 12 Simple Secrets of Microsoft Management, Thielen provides hundreds of specific examples of HOW these so-called "secrets" are consistently applied each and every day throughout the entire company. At least in theory, the Microsoft management strategies (with appropriate modifications) can be effective for any other organization, regardless of size or nature. For example, a family-owned dry cleaner experiments with several different coupon promotions until it finally comes up with one that substantially increases business. Past "failures" are often a necessary cost of eventual success. However, I caution those interested in this book to keep in mind that listing and then explaining 7-75 "secrets" is relatively easy; implementing them effectively and then remaining committed to them is (obviously) much more difficult. My own experience suggests that such a commitment should continue unless and until certain realities require the modification or even the replacement of a strategy. The corporate juggernaut we know as Microsoft is in a process of constant self-transformation. The same should also be true of that hypothetical family-owned dry cleaner.

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About the reviewer
Robert Morris ()
Ranked #169
Professionally, I am an independent management consultant who specializes in accelerated executive development and breakthrough high-impact organizational performance. I also review mostly business books … more
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About this book


You may admire him for his chutzpah or detest him for his audacity, but you can't deny that Bill Gates has developed a company capable of dominating any market it resolves to enter. This is not an accident, contends David Thielen--a 20-year veteran of the technology industry who once toiled at Microsoft as a senior software developer on Windows 95 and other projects--and in fact stems directly from the chairman's own unique attitudes on corporate administration.

The 12 Simple Secrets of Microsoft Management, subtitled How to Think and Act Like a Microsoft Manager and Take Your Company to the Top, is Thielen's inside look at the way Gates and his lieutenants have successfully harnessed those particular practices that initially put the firm on the map and subsequently used them to build their business into one of the world's largest. "Microsoft's management style is its core strength," writes Thielen. "There are other companies that produce better software, market better, and make fewer mistakes, but no other large company manages its business as well." In chapters with titles like "The Top 5 Percent," "Require Failure," and "Shrimp vs. Weenies," he dissects Redmond's specific methodologies on hiring, quality control, budgeting, performance expectations, and more. --Howard Rothman

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ISBN-10: 0071342486
ISBN-13: 978-0071342483
Author: David Thielen
Publisher: Mcgraw-Hill

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