First Break All the Rules is a bookbased on two research studies conducted by the Gallup Organization whichinvolved 80,000 leaders across various businesses and over a million employees.It brings to bare how great managers attract, employ and retain their top mosttalents. It explores the challenges of many companies which comprisesrecruiting, assessing employee satisfaction and retaining employees.
Based on interviews with over amillion employees over a period of 25 years, the Gallup Organization realizedthat in order for a business to determine how it ranks in attracting andretaining the best talent, it was best to review the answers to the followingtwelve questions from employees;1. DoI know what is expected of me at work?2. DoI have the right materials and equipment I need to do my work properly?3. Atwork, do I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day?4. Inthe last 7 days have I received recognition or praise for good work?5. Doesmy supervisor, or someone at work, seem to care about me as a person?6. Isthere someone at work who encourages my development?7. Atwork, do my opinions seem to count?8.
Doesthe mission/purpose of my company make me feel like my work is important?9. Aremy co-workers committed to doing quality work?10. Do I have a best friend at work?11. In the last 6 months, have I talkedwith someone at work about my progress?12. At work, have I had opportunities tolearn and grow?The Gallup study revealed that thosecompanies that received positive answers to these 12 questions profited more,were more productive as business units, retained more employees per year, andsatisfied more customers.In order for employees to give oftheir best, employers need to satisfy the basic needs of its employees.
Thebasic needs are: knowing what is expected of the employee at work, giving herthe equipment and support to do her work right, and answering her basicquestions of self-worth and self-esteem by giving praise for good work andcaring about her development as a person.The great manager mantra is don’t tryto put in what was left out; instead draw out what was left in. You must hirefor talent, and hone that talent into outstanding performance.According to Buckingham and Coffman,in order for Managers to attract and retain the very best of available talent theymust First, Break All the Rules. That is, successful leaders broke all therules of conventional management wisdom.The second study involved theinterview of eighty thousand Managers in relation to how they create anenvironment that attracts, develops and keeps skilled employees.This concept separated thegreat managers from the lesser ones and it is the foundational idea that laysbeneath their four keys to success. Thesefour keys include the following;Firstly, Buckingham and Coffman believe that managers should hire employees based on talentrather than people with experience, intelligence and determination.
While greatmanagers agree that these are important, they believe that talent is the most significantreason for excellent job performance.According to the authors, talent isthe key for great performance in any role and it cannot be taught, you eitherhave it or you lack it. Knowledge can be acquired, skills can be taught, but noamount of training or coaching will create talents, you can’t make someone loveprecision, feel empathetic or become assertive. That’s why great managersselect for talent first, and then for knowledge and skills. The authors also recommendidentifying 3 key talents for what is needed for a particular role.Secondly, Managerial conventionsuggests that in setting expectations, leaders should define the steps forsuccess.
This is a rule that should be broken according to Buckingham andCoffman.The right outcomes should be set notsteps. That involves standardizing the end but not the means of getting there.
They point out that as long as employees stick to the organization and industrystandards, the means of getting there should not be the main focus. Employeesshould be given the freedom to choose the methods to achieve the end goal.Successful Managers define the outcomes,then let their staff decide how to get there. A benefit of this method is thatstaff take on responsibility.
By making the choice of how things will be done, theyare accountable for the outcomes.By letting staff take on responsibilityaccording to the authors, the following rule of thumbs need to be followed toavoid surrendering everything.The first rule of thumb, don’t riskit. Employees must follow certain required steps for all aspects of their rolethat involves accuracy or safetySecond rule of thumb states that standardsrule. Employees must follow required steps when those steps are a part of acompany or industry standard.Third rule of thumb dictates that don’tlet creed overshadow the message. Required steps are useful only if they do notobscure the desired outcome.
Lastly, there are no steps leading tocustomer satisfaction. Required steps only prevent dis-satisfaction. Theycannot drive customer satisfaction.
The authors mention that these ruleswill guide organizations to focus on outcomes rather than steps by identifyingwhat should remain and what should be given away.The third key is to focus on strengthsnot weaknesses. Convention suggests Managers should motivate employees byhelping them to identify and deal with weaknesses. This results in employees hearinglittle about their strengths and a lot about their shortcomings.
This bringsabout frustration which leads to sub-par performances from employees.Buckingham and Coffman point out thatthis is another rule that should be broken.Successful managers get to know eachof their employees and learn about their strengths, weaknesses, motivations,passions, goals and dreams.
Then they find ways to turn those strengths intoperformance. They help each person see and understand their personal style andwork with them to develop ways of using it effectively.The authors also point out that greatmanagers also make sure each employee is cast in a role that suits theirtalents, that is doing something that comes naturally to them.Finally, the last key is about findingthe right fit.
Conventional wisdom suggests Managers should help employeeslearn and get promoted. This is another rule that should be broken according toBuckingham and Coffman. Successful managers do well to provideemployees with feedback with respect to their work and this helps them to getbetter. They also look to promote employees based on their strengths and notjust for the purpose of filling spaces that have been created as a result ofretirement or some other reason.Key Ideas:The best managers reject conventionalwisdom.
The best managers treat every employeeas an individual.The best managers never try to fixweaknesses; instead they focus on strengths and talent.The best managers know they are onstage every day. They know their people are watching every move they make.Measuring employee satisfaction isvital information for your investors.
People leave their immediate managers,not the companies they work for.