Beryl Cuckney’s Your Turn: 26 Weeks to Become a Competent Manager is a professional development book designed to train a novice in the basics of management. Inspired by his own ascension to management at a young age, Cuckney has provided an accessible, self-directed field course for those who have been promoted – or thrown – into roles that require both technical management and soft skills.
The book is divided into 26 weekly “briefings” that address key management topics, such as Statistics and Reporting (Week 13) and Managing Conflict (Week 22). Each briefing is comprised of a two-page concept overview, a discussion outline for a half-hour meeting with a mentor, an open page for relevant notes, and a “FROG” action plan. FROG is an acronym for identifying: the first step, resources, and others who can support you, and going to “a definite step which you can take immediately to put feet to your decision.”
The amount of concepts Cuckney tackles in this slim book is daunting, and in another author’s hands would likely result in a frustratingly empty guide. However, Cuckney’s mission is clear: help new managers get their arms easily around their role requirements. This simple mission has allowed him to touch on many subjects at a level of substance that perfectly suits his audience’s needs.
Cuckney provides a roadmap for how emerging managers can integrate continuous learning throughout their careers. Additionally, his strategy of having short but regular educational and rapport-building discussions with a mentor is exceptional for its concrete ideas. For example, his discussion outline for Week 17, “Planning,” includes: “What parts of my job should I be planning? What software, if any, should I be using to plan? What is your view of any plans I have done already in my management work?”
Don’t let the size of this book fool you – it is an indispensible resource for a first-time manager that outlines baby steps to basic management technique in perfectly portioned doses.
Also available as an ebook.