Powerful: Building a Culture of Freedom and Responsibility by Patty McCord
I was very surprised by this book. POWERFUL is a short, concise book--not much over 100 pages. Do not be fooled! POWERFUL is a KILLER book, unlike any other business book I have reviewed. I am astonished that this is apparently the first book by Patty McCord.
The book is written from the perspective of an HR professional, trying to get the best performance and the best people for the job. Many of the tips have to to with finding the absolute best person for the job. This often means paying the top salary. She also discusses how to create a work environment that allows your great talent to do their absolute best for the company. The author cites numerous examples from her many years at Netflix to illustrate her points.
The book is divided into eight chapters; you can read the chapters in any order. My favorite of all is Chapter Six, "Someone Really Smart in Every Job." In this chapter, there is an insightful (and funny) section, "Great Work is not about the Perks." The author recounts the time when she was (seriously) asked how a company should setup the employee "kegerator." Which department should be in charge of the kegerators?
She told her audience, "Companies don't exist to make happy employees." (Gasp!) Great work doesn't come from offering the best perks; rather, happy employees are those with the greatest job satisfaction; they are "deeply engaged in solving a problem."
The author advocates ideas at variance with many traditional rules. For example, instead of trying to set pay to the industry norm, she suggests paying the TOP rate and get the absolute best people.
The book has one great feature, that I wish other books included. At the end of every chapter is a set of "bullet points" that summarize the chapter. This is called "In Brief." This really makes it easy for the reader to quickly glean and review the top points from the chapter. (Why other authors don't do this is beyond me!) There are also some "Questions to Consider" at the end of each chapter.
I don't generally get too excited about business books purporting to show how to make your company great, etc. POWERFUL was a pleasant surprise. The author is a powerhouse of solid ideas. Plus, she has the experience to back up her ideas. I am very impressed.