In short, snappy chapters, Steve O’Hara’s Managing by Slogan: A Light-Hearted Look at How Managers Use Slogans to Lead Their Teams provides clever slogans and pithy advice for managers looking to improve their organizations. Working his way up the ranks in major corporations such as Procter & Gamble to become the chief executive officer of Rawlings Sporting Goods and Angelica (the largest healthcare linen supplier in the United States), O’Hara gathered a collection of business and management slogans that leaders can use to motivate staff, improve communication, and inspire teamwork.
In Managing by Slogan, O’Hara writes in a straightforward, conversational style infused with a great deal of humor. He incorporates his own experiences along with those of his business colleagues. The book is organized in a logical manner with four sections covering popular business topics: motivation, communication, management, and teamwork. Readers will find an emphasis on a currently hot management topic: communicating an organization’s values and culture. Many of the slogans O’Hara includes are fairly common: “It’s game time!”; “Behold the turtle. He only makes progress when he sticks his head out”; “It is what it is”; “Turn lemons into lemonade”; and “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.” These familar adages help the reader relate to O’Hara’s messages on motivation, teamwork, and communication.
O’Hara attempts to document the origins of the slogans, but his research techniques are far from rigorous, consisting primarily of online searches and casual surveys of friends and family. For example, he turns to Wikipedia for information “analysis paralysis,” noting that the online encyclopedia reports evidence of the concept in some fables by Aesop and plays by Shakespeare. Other expresssions have been used so broadly that the author found their lineages difficult to trace. He includes favorite quotes and motivational expressions from business executives who have risen to major leadership positions at Fortune 500 firms, management and marketing counsulting agencies, and nonprofit organizations. Each chapter has a clever illustration by Dave Allred that further illuminates a slogan.
Almost anyone in a management position will find this little guide to be an enjoyable and handy reference. For some readers, it will provide personal inspiration; for others, it will be a source for slogans to use in team meetings and staff e-mails as well as on the office bulletin board. There certainly are longer, more carefully researched management books, but Managing by Slogan’s organization and easygoing humor make it accessible to all levels of management.
To manage by slogan may seem like an oversimplified approach, but it could be helpful to a harried executive. O’Hara sums up his advice with the simplest of slogans: “All we can do is try our best.”