Good middle managers are crucial to successful business operations. Too many middle managers, however, "appear to have a Master's degree in mediocrity," says management consultant and author Mary Elston. "That's because no one ever taught them how to get started as a middle manager, how to take on a management challenge and get the job done right, right from the start."

Too much of today's middle management operates by trial and error, what Elston calls management by default. In her book Master Your Middle Management Universe, Elston says the key to successful middle management is "Moga Moga." It's a phrase coined by Elston's father to mean "Get a move on!" Elston has expanded that into an acronym for middle managerial growth: Motivate, Organize, Guide, and Achieve.

Moga Moga Management lets the manager succeed using three steps:

  • Take stock of the way things are done now, identifying anything that may be hindering productivity and success. This should take the form of team meetings followed by one-on-one assessments.
  • Address process issues, eliminating any processes that are inherently chaotic, and making sure that individual contributions are maximized.
  • Use the results of the first two steps to fine-tune a system that will include what Elston calls the Four E's: eliminate overlap, enable ownership, engage process, and enhance productivity.

Worksheets and straightforward business examples included in the book make the process easy to understand and apply to a wide range of business environments. Great ways for managers to hold meetings that get things done are part of the methods Elston outlines as well.