Announcing My Next Book: “Management by Emoji” [April Fool]


Today, April 1st, is a day for BIG announcements. I am pleased to tell you about the logical (if not inevitable) follow-up to my wildly-popular #1 international best-selling book from 2019, Datum-Driven Lean: Harnessing the Power of the Data Point.

Datum Driven Lean (April 2019)

It's been fun exploring the concept from the book in my podcast, “What's the Point?” It's available exclusively in the Microsoft Zune Podcast App.

In 2019, I teased the idea of writing the follow up — and it's finally almost here! It was originally going to be called Management by Emoji: The Unassailable Laws of Emotion-Driven Management. But I iterated on the subtitle… scroll down to see.

As I announced about Datum-Driven Lean:

The “Process Behavior Charts” that I write about in Measures of Success strike some as too complicated. Instead of arguing that point with them, I thought I'd go all in on a book that teaches methods that do NOT require many data points.

Many organizations aim to be “data driven” but they can have trouble finding two data points at times.

Two data points are not a trend… but ONE can be powerful if it's used the right way.

Datum-Driven Lean only briefly touched on an even more powerful management tool and concept:


Note: Registered trademark is pending. Do not use this term without properly licen$ing it from me. My attorneys and I thank you.

Here is the new book with a snappier subtitle: Management by Emoji: How to Motivate People and Drive Performance One Clip Art Image at a Time.

I think the cover is spectacular. Click below for a larger, more glorious image.

I wrote a little bit about this in Datum-Driven Lean: Harnessing the Power of the Data Point, but this book takes it to a whole new level.

Again, from the description of that book:

“Oh, you say that data point is also better than the same month last year? Maybe we need an emoji on the metrics board for that?

Who needs charts and math? Embrace the data point! By the time you're done being happy or upset about this one — you'll have another.”

Datum-Driven Lean is sort of like the zen approach to leadership… taking things one datum at a time. Datum, datum, datum… there's no need to turn those into data. Context be damned!

Emoji is a Japanese-sounding word, which will give this method and the book a mystique that will certainly help sales, epecially in the Lean community.”

Now on to the latest and greatest book…

Datum-driven is one thing… but what about rare situations where we have two or more data points? When we have a chart? Oh you have charts? You fancy. Face with monocle emoji!

In my travels, both pre-Covid and more recently, I've seen more examples of “Management by Emoji” in many countries — which is why I know the time is right for this book! This a real phenomenon with practical use. This isn't some theoretical concept or something that I made up. High-five emoji!

Sometimes, it's Datum-Driven Management by Emoji, and sometimes, it's Chart-Based Management by Emoji. Whatever works for you and your team, that's what I always say. You do you. I mean, you don't have to really study and adjust. Just assume it works! Winking face emoji.

I love the color-coded emoji faces. Many organizations use red / yellow / green, but the addition of emoji technology makes this style of leadership accessible to the color blind!

“People are entitled to joy in work.”

W. Edwards Deming

So give them smiley emojis, I say!

Like what you see below… well, you get the smiley if your performance merits it. Otherwise, you might just get…

That huddle board with the smiling poop emoji. On that same board, they had a lot of notes written down about “employee engagement action plan” and “culture of safety.” I love it!

It all goes hand in hand! Well, not literally the poop. I mean, if it's a laminated emoji, that's OK then. But I digress. Nothing, I mean nothing, builds engagement and safety like the poop emoji! Look at the poop's encouraging smile! So motivating! I know I'd want to work harder…

As it said elsewhere on this super motivating board, Happy Caregiver Week, indeed! To that, I'd give a smiley face emoji!

Management by Emoji shares practical research-driven tips, including:

  • When to use which emoji
  • The fine line between sad, crying, and angry emojis
  • When to bring out the big guns (cursing red face emoji and the poop emoji)

You really do have to be careful about not overusing the poop emoji, otherwise workers become numb to it and it loses all efficacy. It's fine line between demotivating… and clever.

Organizations have proven, globally, the clear and undeniable connections betwen emojis and performance. I mean, it's pretty intuitive, but if I have to Emoji-splain it to you:

  • Sad face make people try harder
  • Crying face make people try more harder
  • Angry face make people re-evaluate life choices and why make boss sad
  • Poop emoji — again, be careful with this

There's still important research to be done about the intersection of emoji faces and the poop emoji. This will have to be done carefully, in highly-controlled settings with skilled counselors on hand… but looking at the impact of:

  • Smiling poop emoji
  • Crying poop emoji
  • Cursing poop emoji
  • Mind-blown poop emoji

Warning: Again, do NOT experiment with these cutting-edge methods unless working under the supervision of a skilled practitioner with training in Advanced Psychological Safety and Certfied Restraints Training. You can learn more in my upcoming book (2024): Management by Poopmoji.

It's unclear what the impact of color-coded poop emojis would be. More research needs to be done.

You love my books? You're welcome!

You Need This Book

AI is learning. How about you? Stay years ahead of the machines – use Management by Emoji!

Are you struggling? Maybe my interest should become your interest – Management by Emoji!

Fill in what you are missing. Learn from me. I'm the only one doing Management by Emoji in the pure form that was taught to me back in the day when emojis were drawn by hand on paper. Stay away from “Fake Management by Emoji!”

Early reviews are incredibly smiley face. Real comments from real people! I swear! “Mark and this book are terrific, he's an inspiration, and he's so down to earth!”

Just ask me!

Another fan sent me a message the other day. It said, “I personally consider you one of the foremost experts on the practice of emoji management and highly recommend your management training and books.”

Blushing emoji!

Two early reviews from readers lucky enough to preview the book can be found below. I just love it when the praise rolls in. Surrounded by hearts emoji! Flexing bicep emoji!

“This may be the most important book I have ever read. Mind blown emoji! I ran our CEO and management team through a book club on it today, and am already encouraged by the conversations it is spurring. Thank you! Heart eyes emoji!” 


“Your books are always thought provoking. Thinking emoji! They will demand your full attention. The signal to noise ratio is incredibly in favor of the signal. Every page has some hidden jewel… or hidden poop.”

Progress awaits you. Give it a read. I'm sure you will enjoy it!

I'll be sharing more about this approach in future blog posts, including the comprehensive history of the creation and the evolution of Management by Emoji. Sign up here to be notified about pre-orders.

My latest innovation is Management by Memoji. I hope you'll consider signing up for my mastermind group at a low monthly rate of $199 a month, where I'll coach you on these methods and my team will help you figure out how to make the perfect Apple Memojis for you! See an example below:

Management by Memoji Mark Graban

If you think your team loves Management by Emoji, Management by Memoji makes it even more relatable, fun, and engaging. If you think a round yellow generic crying face is motivating, wait until they see the Bossmojis!

The Deming Institute heartily endorses the new book:

“This book is… extremely… good.”

Oh, and you might want to also check out my other new book that should be availble by June:

The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation

Stay tuned for more!

What do you think? Please scroll down (or click) to post a comment. Or please share the post with your thoughts on LinkedIn – and follow me or connect with me there.

Did you like this post? Make sure you don't miss a post or podcast — Subscribe to get notified about posts via email daily or weekly.

Check out my latest book, The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation:

Get New Posts Sent To You

Select list(s):
Previous articleInterview with Mit Vyas: Insights on Learning from Toyota, Entrepreneurial Success, and Mindfulness Practices
Next articleWishing Tom Peters a Happy Retirement
Mark Graban
Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker, and podcaster with experience in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. Mark's new book is The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation. He is also the author of Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More, the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, and the anthology Practicing Lean. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.