MultipliersBook Review: Multipliers, by Liz Wiseman
Book Review: Multipliers, How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter by Liz Wiseman with Greg McKeown.
According to her bio, Liz Wiseman is a researcher and executive advisor who teaches leadership to executives around the world. She is the CEO of the Wiseman Group, a leadership research and development firm headquartered in Silicon Valley, California. Some of her recent clients include: Apple, AT&T, Disney, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Nike, Salesforce, Tesla, and Twitter. Liz has been listed on the Thinkers50 ranking, and in 2019 was recognized as a top leadership thinker in the world.
She is a frequent guest lecturer at BYU and Stanford University and is a former executive at Oracle Corporation, where she worked as the Vice President of Oracle University and as the global leader for Human Resource Development.
Wiseman believes that the right leader can make the difference between a failing follower and a successful follower.
She starts the book with a story about an 18-year-old tank commander in Israel. He started his training in the Golan Heights where he excelled in his training.
After six months he and six classmates were provided the opportunity to complete the remaining three months of basic training deployed to the border with Lebanon because there was an urgent need for soldiers.
After three months of real-world experience, his commanders considered him a star. He returned to basic, entering a more advanced tank commander training.
His new commander publicly mocked Gabriel and his team when they failed to find designated way points. The commander barked orders, controlled every detail and found every mistake.
The new commander recommended dismissal. As a final test, the company commander took Gabriel out for an exercise.
The company commander showed Gabriel a model of the battle field, pointing out terrain and asked questions. Gabriel felt like he was working through the solution with the commander rather than being tested. In the tank, Gabriel completed the complex maneuver perfectly. This time he passed.
Gabriel’s experience shows that a change in command can mean a change in capability.
In her research Wiseman divided leaders into two groups: Multipliers and Diminishers. She interviewed 150 leaders and conducted 360 reviews of those leaders.
Multipliers make everyone around them smarter and more capable, while diminishers are so absorbed in their own intelligence that they stifle others and dilute the organization’s intelligence and capability. They become so involved in details that they become a bottleneck in the organization.
She breaks multipliers and diminishers into five disciplines.
· The Empire Builder hoards resources, denying employee opportunities for growth and development.
· The Tyrant, creates a tense environment that stifles thought and capacity.
· The Know-It-All, shows off their knowledge without acknowledging other’s.
· The Decision Maker, makes all the decisions without input from others.
· The Micro Manager, personally involved with everything, directs employees every action.
· The Talent Magnet, attracts talent, allows them to contribute, and allows them to move on when ready.
· The Liberator, creates an intense environment that enables employees to hone their skills.
· The Challenger, gives employees stretch goals.
· The Debate Maker, makes decisions through healthy debate.
· The Investor, gives ownership to others, gives credit for success and takes blame for failure.
She devotes a chapter to each of the Multipliers. She offers an example of each and how to implement the discipline. She also describes it’s opposite
In the Challenger chapter she says that Diminishers (Know-It-Alls) give answers where Challengers ask hard questions. They want you to think and to rethink. They ask questions that people can’t answer with their current knowledge. Answering the question is a stretch goal. Answers to these questions help the organization to grow.
One CEO said, “I don’t need 100 percent answers. I need a 30percent answer in two days.”
With that answer the organization can decide if the question is worth pursuing. If it is, they look for a 50 percent answer. If they like that result, they block time to search for the 100 percent answer.
Challengers want discussion and debate. They are comfortable not knowing everything. They also know when to back off. Ask the hard question, start the wheels turning, then step back and let your people work the problem.
She closes each chapter by giving practical advice about how to close the knowing doing gap. She gives tips on how to implement that discipline of Multiplier.
She brings it all together in the last chapter. She provides a 30-day challenge to go from a Diminisher to a Multiplier. She provides examples here too showing that people can change, if they want to. She even points out that most Diminishers are working too hard.
She writes, “I’ve noticed that the more important something the more likely a lazy man’s approach will work best. When something is based on sound design, it doesn’t need to be forced. It just needs the right amount of effort applied in exactly the right place or the right way.”
According to Wiseman, your leadership affects the productivity of your followers. According to her research, followers give Multipliers 2 times more than they give Diminishers.
And most important, she shows you how to close the knowing doing gap by outlining the 30 day challenge to help would be Multipliers build lasting habits.
This is a good book for people who have been told that they are micro managers or people who want to increase their skills in servant leadership. Wiseman’s writing style is accessible while putting forward solid leadership advise.
Multipliers receives a thumbs up for applicability and closing the knowing doing gap.
Link to my reading list and Amazon links: