You can follow any business guru you want, be it Peter Drucker or Tom Peters. You can adopt any new management concept, from reengineering to "empowering people." But Samuel A. Culbert has one caveat: no matter what managerial "religion" you chooseand there are many sound onesbefore you can lead, manage, or team up effectively, you must comprehend the mind-sets that direct the people with whom you are interacting. In Mind-Set Management, Culbert provides a model for thinking about other peopleabout their self-interested motives and about their biased views of work eventsas he shows managers at all levels how to use psychology instead of manipulation in giving valid, even great, advice.
The essence of leading and managing, says Culbert, is "staging the conditions for others to be effective," which today entails giving advice and feedback, not issuing directives. This is particularly true with today's "empowering" management styles. But, as most managers know all too well, advice is often resisted, resented, and ignored. The problem, Culbert contends, is that managers don't have the other person in focus: When they formulate advice, they think they are attuned to the other person, but in fact the person they have listened to most is themselves. Mind-Set Management will help you focus on the person you want to advise, explaining what you need to learn and to know in order to give advice that is great because it is advice that actually gets used. It will prompt you to ask yourself (and will help you answer) such questions as: Why do people insist on seeing events with their own particular biases and distortions? Why do they resist my best ideas and advice about how they can function most effectively? Why can't I get people to change how they reason and think? Why do people have so much difficulty putting internal politics aside? What's needed for people to trust one another and listen to advice? Why are some people blind to the obvious logic behind the feedback and advice they receive? Culbert has packed the book with vivid case illustrations and stories that people, whether CEOs or project staff, will identify withweaving the concepts and stories together to present evidence that makes the lessons personally compelling. With these lessons, you will find yourself reading essential, previously unseen dimensions of what is critical in the other person's thinking. You will be better able to see where other people's interests lie and how they view the corporation and the task at hand, and you will be able to give great advice, advice that will be followed because it serves the interests of the person who receives it even as it advances the company's goals.
Today there are many new and progressive ideas about how to manage more effectively, but without the psychological component that Samuel Culbert provides in Mind-Set Management, you are simply putting old wine in new bottlesas what seems "new" quickly becomes business as usual. Thus this is an important, groundbreaking work. Indeed, Warren Bennis, in the Foreword, calls it "one of the lasting contributions to our understanding of corporations, the psychology of people who work in them, and perhaps most of all, a contribution to understanding ourselves."