Primal Management

Primal Management

Review in the Journal of Personnel Psychology:  

"The book is clearly written, strongly and convincingly argued, insightful, provocative, stimulating, and interesting to read."

Paul's Blog

Are decisions really 80% emotional?
As some of you know, I'm a graduate of the University of Chicago, a very rational place where, according to legend, "Fun goes to die."  I expect to be tarred and feathered at the next U of C management conference  for this provocative and contrarian post.  
Advertisers, like Kevin Roberts, CEO of Saatchi and Saatchi, claim that the buying decision is 80% emotional and 20% rational.  According to Roberts, "Reason leads to conclusions.  Emotion leads to action."  What about other decisions, like the decision on the part of our employees to work hard?  Is this also 80% emotional?  What is going on here?  If emotions are so important in decision making, why was the word never uttered in any of my econ classes?
Amazon Review (Former Enterprise Rent-a-Car Exec, Larry Underwood) PDF Print E-mail

I have read hundreds of books related to management, but this is the best one I've ever read. Rarely do I write reviews, and rarely do I use exclamation points (as I did in the review title!), but after reading "Primal Management", by Paul Herr, I wanted to make sure I got your attention.

For the first time ever, the secrets to what really motivates employees in any company, anywhere in the world, are revealed. What?

Sure, there have been many, many books, chapters of books, articles on the subject of "employee motivation" written; and if you're in business, the subject has undoubtedly come up a few hundred times in various meetings, to the point of "motivating" the meeting participants to doze off, wander off for another cup of coffee, or remain seated with that glazed look on their blank faces, pretending to be listening.

Paul Herr finally gets it right, because he had the audacity to "prove it" after three decades of research. Corporate America should be glad he was so persistent, because his findings will revolutionize the way Corporate America will be managing its employees, which so far, has been lousy. But we already knew that.


The beauty of Herr's findings, is its simplicity (yet why did it take us so long to figure it out?). Just like humans need food, clothing, shelter, and the desire to procreate (you know), they have an equally predictable "social appetite" which makes up the five components of employee motivation, which I'm going to quote, verbatim from a nice chart you'll find on page 27 of his book:

1) Cooperation (warm family feel)
2) Competency (self-esteem)
3) Skill deployment (elation experienced with a win)
4) Innovation (curiosity and the eureka pleasure)
5) Self-Protection (feelings of security)

These days, if you're the CEO of a company which has successfully avoided laying off any of its employees, chances are, you're already using the model, but didn't even know it.

Congratulations for using simple common sense. "Common semse" still lives in certain segements of society, and that's worth an exclamation point!

The fact of the matter (according to the Gallup Organization), only 31% of employees truly care about their work, meaning the other 69% don't care. So they prove it by doing a lousy job in whatever capicity of their organization they're screwing up.

This leads to the obvious conclusion: The reason Corporate America is failing and is begging the government for "bail-out money", is they stink at managing their employees! They thought they had to act like a "corporate hierarchy" in order to rule their empire, but that approach is antiquated and should suffer the same fate as the dinosaur---become extinct.

The new and improved Corporate America, by reading this book, and implementing its simple strategy, will have motivated, happy, and productive employees generating a great deal more profit for Corporate America. The Stimulis Package would never have been an issue, which in turn means that huge budget deficit we're facing wouldn't be such a problem.

Here's what got me so excited about "Primal Management". Herr's fairly conservative estimate of what this increased productivity would do for the economy: Add somewhere between one and two trillion dollars to Corporate America's bottom line! That wasn't a typographical error, and neither was that exclamation point I used in the prior sentence.

But when you're talking about that sort of impact on an economy which is currently on life support, it bears repeating: "Primal Management" has unlocked the secret to generating another one or two trillion dollars of revenue for this country. And I'm sure Wall Street wouldn't mind that at all. Can you say, "Bull Market"?

So yes, I recommend this book. Now go buy it!