"First, Break All The Rules, what the world's greatest
managers do differently" by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman
of the Gallup Organization is an exceptional book. We recommend that
you purchase and read it. This memo is based on the book but it
should not be a substitute for buying and reading the book. The
authors deserve your purchase and you will be rewarded for it.
The authors' recommendations are based on Gallup's interviews of
over 80,000 managers in over 400 companies across numerous
industries -- the largest study of its kind ever undertaken. This
book helps explain why job fit is so important when selecting
employees. The authors' define a "talent",
(page 71) as "a
recurring pattern of thought, feeling, or behavior that can be
productively applied...The emphasis here is on the word 'recurring.'
Great managers say 'Your talents are the behaviors you find yourself
Job matching identifies the recurring patterns of behaviors of top
performers (page 103) so that
managers can identify which job applicants have the same recurring
patterns of behavior. If the authors are correct, and we think they
are, this book is a reliable source of insight into how to select
and manage your people. According to the authors (page
28) measuring the strength of a workplace can
be simplified to 12 questions
- Do I know what is expected of me?
- Do I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work
- At work, do I have the opportunity to
do what I do best every day?
- In the last seven days, have I received
recognition or praise for doing good work?
- Does my supervisor, or someone at work, seem to care
about me as a person?
- Is there someone at work that
encourages my development?
- At work, do my opinions seem to count?
- Does the mission/purpose of my company, make me feel
my job is important?
- Are my coworkers committed to
doing quality work?
- Do I have a best friend at work?
- In the last six months, has someone at work
talked to me about my progress?
- This last year, have I had opportunities
at work to learn and grow?
Questions that have everyone answering "Strongly Agree"
are weak questions.
The authors repeat the following four lines several times in the
book (pages 67, 79).
- People don't change much.
- Don't waste time trying to put in what was left out.
- Try to draw out what was left in.
- That is hard enough.
Great managers look inward...Great leaders, by contrast, look
outward...Great managers are not simply managers who have developed
sophistication (page 63).
When hiring, Conventional Wisdom says (page 66)...
- select a person...based on his experience, intelligence and
- set expectations...by defining the right steps.
- motivate the person...by helping him identify and overcome his
- develop the person...by helping him learn and get promoted.
When hiring, Great Managers say...
- select for talent...not just experience, intelligence or
- define the outcomes...not the right steps
- focus on strengths...not weaknesses
- help find the right fit...not the next promotion
Conventional Wisdom says...
- Experience makes the difference.
- Brainpower makes the difference.
- Willpower makes the difference.
Great managers agree with the three items above but great managers
label willpower a talent and it is almost impossible to teach
(page 72). Only the presence of talents can
explain why, all other factors being equal, some people excel in the
role and some struggle (page 73).
As manager you need to know exactly which talents you want.
(page 101) Great talents need great managers
if they are to be turned into performance. (page
Each employee breathes different psychological oxygen.
(page 151) You cannot learn very much about
excellence by studying failure...Excellence is not the opposite of
failure. (page 157)
Whereas conventional wisdom views individual specialization as the
antithesis of teamwork, great managers see it as the founding
principle. (page 173)
In the minds of great managers, consistent poor performance is not
primarily a matter of weakness, stupidity disobedience, or
disrespect. It is a matter of miscasting (page 209)
Here are the Four Keys that senior managers can use to break
through conventional wisdom's barricades (page 236):
- Keep the focus on outcomes.
- Value world class performance in every role.
- Study your best.
- Teach the language of great managers.
here for more quotes.