Book Review: “Multipliers:How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter” by Liz Wiseman and Greg Mckeown

It’s the battle of Multipliers vs. Diminishers, often within ourselves. This is a good read. Now I’m more equipped to see what types of leaders I’m looking at and what kind of leader I want to become.

Key concepts:
Multipliers get 2x productivity from people than Diminishers plus 5~10% more growth. “People are smart and will figure this out” vs. “They will never figure this out without me.”

Five disciplines of the Multipliers: 1. attract and optimize talent. (Talent magnet vs. empire builders) 2. create intensity that requires best thinking (liberator vs. tyrant). 3. extend challenges (vs. know-it-all). 4. Debate decisions. (debate maker vs. decision maker), 5. Instill ownership and accountability (investor – instill accountability vs. micromanager).

Common characteristics of Multipliers:
1. A Hard edge: Multipliers aren’t “feel-good” managers. They look into people and find capability, and they want to access all of it. They utilize people to their fullest. They see a lot, so they expect a lot.
2. A great sense of humor (George Clooney)
3. The accidental diminisher.

Deep dive into each of the disciplines:
1. Talent Magnet: a. Look for talent everywhere (appreciate all types of genius, ignore boundaries). b. Find people’s native genius. (look for what’s native, Label It. c. Utilize people at their fullest (connect people with opportunities, shine a spotlight). d. Remove the blockers (get rid of Prima Donnas, Get out of the way). Diminishers’ approach to managing to talent: acquire resources, put people in boxes, let talent languish. On becoming a genius watcher: 1. Identify it, 2. Test it, 3. Work it.(define 5 roles for that person)

2. Liberator: three practices: a. create space (operate consistently, level the playing field), b. demand people’s best work (defend the standard), c. generate rapid learning cycles (admit and share mistakes, insist on learning from mistakes. In contrast, Diminishers dominate the space, create anxiety, judge others. To become a Liberator: 1. play your chips (to count your interruptions), 2. label your opinions (soft vs. hard), 3. make your mistakes known (get personal, go public).

3. Challenger: 1. seed the opportunity (show the need, challenge the assumption, reframe problems, create a starting point), 2. lay down a challenge (mission impossible, extend a concrete challenge, ask the hard questions, let others fill in the blanks), 3. Generate belief (helicopter down, lay out a path, co-create the plan, orchestrate an early win. In contrast, the Diminishers’ approach to setting direction: tell what they know, test what you know, tell people how to do their jobs. To become a challenger: a. a serious case of curiosity, go extreme with questions, take a bus trip to see the real thing, take a massive baby step (en mass visibly together).

4. The Debate Maker: The decider vs. a team of rivals. a. frame the issue (define the question, form the team, assemble the data, frame the decision), b. Spark the debate (create safety for best thinking – the yin, demand rigor – the yang), c. drive a sound decision. To become a debate maker: 3 rules to share inquiry: discussion leader only asks questions, must supply support evidence to support their theories, everyone participates. Ask the hard questions, ask for the data, ask each person.

5. The Investor: a. define ownership (name the lead, give ownership for the end goal, stretch the role), b. invest resources (teach and coach, provide backup), c. Hold people accountable (give it back, expect complete work, respect natural consequences, make the scoreboard visible). On becoming an investor: 1.let them know who is the boss, 2. let nature takes its course (let it happen, talk about it, focus on next time), 3. ask for the F-I-X, 4. hand back the pen.

Lazy-way strategies: 1. work the extremes (focus your development on the two extremes – bring up your lowest low and take your highest high to the next level), 2. start with the assumption, 3. take the 30-day Multiplier challenge (pick one practice within one discipline and work it for 30 days.) To sustain momentum: 1. build it layer by layer, 2. stay with it for a year, 3. build a community.