Book Recap: High Output Management by Andy Grove

High Output Management is a collection of recipes for squeezing more performance out of your organization.


The output of managers is an output of organizational units under their control or influence. All focus should be on increasing team, not personal, performance.

A lot of Andy’s findings bear similarity to SCRUM. Both seem to be influenced by Toyota. Both focus on continuous process optimization and setting up a system that keeps people challenged and motivated.

Solid Ideas

Impacts of defective products are impossible to predict. So, any compromises on quality are unacceptable. Recognizing it can lead to a big change in prioritization patterns. When you recognize reliability as an attribute that cannot be compromised on, saying no becomes easy. Since we decided to make reliability a priority for our Todoist for Windows 10 app, saying a confident no to projects that would divert our focus has become much easier.

A manager’s day ends when they’re tired and ready to go home, not when they are done. Managers are never done. It’s a feeling that’s hard to escape. Setting more explicit daily/weekly goals could be a good start to mitigate this feeling.

Eliciting peak performance means going against something or somebody. This is an idea shared with John Legere, T-Mobile US’s CEO. Having something to compare against can be a powerful motivator for some people.

During performance reviews, assess actual performance, not potential. Andy is very strict about assessing a person’s performance. Talking about potential is best left for 1:1s.

Finding a way to create such opportunities could help create a more aligned and connected organization.

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