First, Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently

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Senteo Rating 2.5
04/27/23
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Author:Marcus Buckingham, Gallup Press, Jim Harter - foreword
04/27/23
views 12856
comments0
Author:Marcus Buckingham, Gallup Press, Jim Harter - foreword
DIAMOND
RATING
Senteo Rating 2.5

First, Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently
Marcus Buckingham & Curt Coffman Simon & Schuster, 1999
Senteo’s Review information

Good, bad, or otherwise, the employees of a business are an extension of the manager that leads them. Sifting through 25 years’ worth of Gallup surveys, Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman analyzed managers from companies large and small to dissect what it is that successful managers do. Focusing on a small handful of key points, they piece together a few of the pieces of a good manager:

  • How to select an employee for talent
  • How they set expectations for him or her
  • How they motivate people
  • How they develop people

Using this information they created a 12 question test to gauge the strength of departments in comparison to one another. Acting as a bar, this questionnaire measures a company’s strength from an employee perspective and provides an internal way of measuring a business’s health. Culminating in this book, the authors’ studies synthesize the findings into vital lessons for managers of all levels that they can apply to their own workplace.

The strongest aspect of this book is the level of research that went into it. Many books dealing with business are based on very limited research or personal experiences, whereas Buckingham and Coffman apply their expertise through a study of Gallup surveys over the course of a quarter of a century. From this information stems their findings, which are presented in clear fashion and explained in great depth; the amount of substance found within this book is far greater than others we have read. We also were fond of their presentation through the 4 Keys of Great Managers. This is a simple, quick way to identify managers and apply the findings of the book into a realistic situation. Their questionnaire also provides a way to assess the level of appeal within an organization, at least from the employee perspective.

Being that the book is a decade old, there are bound to be points of contention in terms of their methodology. We also noticed that ideas that were once revolutionary now find themselves commonplace in the grand scheme of business. The book asserts that autonomy is a groundbreaking concept, but now has become a core concept for many businesses. There were also claims that may need reworking. We disagree with the authors’ belief that weaknesses should not be addressed. Yes, the emphasis should be on employee strengths; however effort should be made to fix weaknesses if possible. On a similar note, the business environment has become a much more complex beast that cannot be tackled by individuals; it requires teams. We would have liked to see some sort of mention of the team aspect of business, possibly in a revised edition.

The greatest managers in the world seem to have little in common. They differ in sex, age, and race. They employ vastly different styles and focus on different goals. Yet despite their differences, great managers share one common trait: They do not hesitate to break virtually every rule held sacred by conventional wisdom. They do not believe that, with enough training, a person can achieve anything he sets his mind to. They do not try to help people overcome their weaknesses. They consistently disregard the golden rule. And, yes, they even play favorites. This amazing book explains why.

Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman of the Gallup Organization present the remarkable findings of their massive in-depth study of great managers across a wide variety of situations. Some were in leadership positions. Others were front-line supervisors. Some were in Fortune 500 companies; others were key players in small, entrepreneurial companies. Whatever their situations, the managers who ultimately became the focus of Gallup’s research were invariably those who excelled at turning each employee’s talent into performance.

In today’s tight labor markets, companies compete to find and keep the best employees, using pay, benefits, promotions, and training. But these well-intentioned efforts often miss the mark. The front-line manager is the key to attracting and retaining talented employees. No matter how generous its pay or how renowned its training, the company that lacks great front-line managers will suffer.

Buckingham and Coffman explain how the best managers select an employee for talent rather than for skills or experience; how they set expectations for him or her — they define the right outcomes rather than the right steps; how they motivate people — they build on each person’s unique strengths rather than trying to fix his weaknesses; and, finally, how great managers develop people — they find the right fit for each person, not the next rung on the ladder. And perhaps most important, this research — which initially generated thousands of different survey questions on the subject of employee opinion — finally produced the twelve simple questions that work to distinguish the strongest departments of a company from all the rest. This book is the first to present this essential measuring stick and to prove the link between employee opinions and productivity, profit, customer satisfaction, and the rate of turnover.

There are vital performance and career lessons here for managers at every level, and, best of all, the book shows you how to apply them to your own situation.

The book utilized examples focusing on the banking industry, making this a book that provides relatable experiences and reference points for bankers seeking to apply the information. Those who read this would most likely be managers looking to increase productivity and create a workplace environment that fosters potential and growth. Additionally, managers would be able to apply the information in their consideration of individuals during the hiring process so that they select those who are best for the company’s present and future needs.

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    First, Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently
    Marcus Buckingham & Curt Coffman Simon & Schuster, 1999
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