Management: back to basics

mgmt basicsLet me tell you about something I call the “ER syndrome”. A few years back, a friend of mine in the medical profession jokingly said that if you go to the Emergency Room with a headache, chances are that you will get a Computer Tomography Scan before someone thinks to give you a regular painkiller. With everyone being in the “emergency mind-set”, common conditions can be overlooked. Of course, doctors are more professional than that, and the point that I am trying to make is that in the complex world in which we operate as managers, sometimes we tend to forget about the simple things. How do we avoid the “ER syndrome”? By being well-anchored to good management practice.

Here are my favourite resources on management basics and not-so-basics, available in three different media types (a traditional book, web articles and audio podcasts) to suit any moment of spare time. These can equally help junior as well as seasoned managers, as they bring tried-and-tested good practice examples, and also fresh perspectives on concepts that one might have learned about but not practiced.

What is your go-to management reference?


The Essential Drucker”, Peter Drucker, 2001 (book can be found at all major online book retailers)

Mind Tools

The Mind Tools is an initiative started by James Manktelow in 1996. The freely available Toolkit is an excellent resource where one can review a broad range of concepts, from strategy, to team management, to leadership. Each area is explained clearly, and in most cases short video presentations or tutorials are further supporting the points covered in text. A broad collection of management and analysis methods and tools is found here as well, explained and categorized. You can find pretty much everything from SWOT analysis, to the Hoshin planning system to the SCAMPER improvement technique. The Mind Tools were awarded a Queen’s Award for Enterprise (the UK’s top business award) in 2012.


This is a different type of resource and equally valuable: this is a collection of podcasts with managerial and career advice, from Michael Auzenne and Mark Horstman, from the management consultant company Manager-Tools. The podcasts can be downloaded, or you can listen to them on the site, and they cover a broad range of management issues (see their Universe Map), offering sound and down-to-earth advice. I would consider the Manager-Tools podcast “mandatory” listening for young managers, and a good reference point for more experienced ones. The separate stream on career advice (Career Tools) is simply just great, and had a positive impact in my personal development (so thank you, Mike & Mark).


Note: I am not affiliated in any way with the sites/companies mentioned above.