Book Review: ‘Punk Rock People Management’ By Peter Cook

Once again, Mr Cook, he of ‘Sex, Leadership and Rock n Roll’, has me laughing out loud whilst underpinning his outrageous common sense with all the right theories, frameworks and models. And he makes it look so damned easy – if only!

Thirteen chapters, each one two pages long – what’s not to like about that? And Peter keeps it simple by grouping his ideas around three people management themes: Hiring, Inspiring and Firing.

HR Directors, Advisors, Consultants, Specialists… OK, anyone with HR in their job title, had better look away when Peter sets about his Punk approach to HR-speak. Whilst he’s all in favour of the overall aims and intentions of HR people and HR departments, he has a pretty Punk response (think of audiences at punk band concert…) to the jargon that HR often spews forth, and makes a strong case for ditching the lexicon in favour of some straightforward plain words.

Here’s a favourite about the nonsense that frequently shows up in mission statements from the Engagement chapter in ‘Inspiring’:

Pubs do NOT have mission statements that say:

    “We aim to encourage sociosexual networking and leverage mission critical knowledge, skills and wisdom through the use of addictive depressant substances in a relaxing lifestyle environment that encourages the suppression of societal norms of decency and so on”.

Each chapter offers three practical tips in the shape of ‘Punk Rock People Management offers us three chords on…’ each and every one of which I’m attempting to learn. They sound so much better (and buyable) than the stuff we tend to say instead.

Peter is rare: someone who’s played with John Ottway, Altered Images and the great Wilco Johnson, among others, and yet has an MBA and loads of management experience besides. So he’s uniquely qualified to include the likes of Robert Plant and Lady Gaga in this book, along with Maslow and Thomas Killman.

Well worth a look, and you can do that right here.

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