This book is provocative and it challenges conventional wisdom in people management.
Gallup's thorough research presented in this book reveal the "Four Keys of Great Managers" that should unlock the potential of each and every employee (the "... not" statements represent conventional wisdom according to the authors)
1. When selecting someone, they select for talent ... not simply experience, intelligence, or determination.
2. When setting expectations, they define the right outcomes ... not the right steps.
3. When motivating someone, they focus on strengths ... not on weaknesses.
4. When developing someone, they find him the right fit ... not simply the next rung on the ladder
So great managers don't believe that a person can achieve anything he sets his mind to. They don't try to help a person overcome his weaknesses (instead they devise a support system. Find a complementary partner. Or find an alternative role). They consistently disregard the golden rule - i.e. treat people as you would like to be treated - instead they acknowledge that each employee is unique and thus would demand different things of you, the manager! And they even play favourites (i.e. spend the most time with your best people).
Many of us know by experience that it is hard to manage others well. Continually, you have to balance the competing interests of the employee, the customer, the company, and even yourself. You attend too much to one, and you invariably upset the others.
This book cannot make the manager's role easier. But it certainly provides you with some brilliant insights into effective people management. The book's Four Keys should be inspiring for any people manager, even if you do not accept all of their findings. At least, you'll find yourself challenged as they document their conclusions based on 80,000 interviews.
I have found their twelve questions to measure the strength of a workplace very helpful for regular individual reviews as well:
[What do the employee get?]
1. Do I know what is expected of me at work?
2. Do I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right?
[What do the employee give?]
3. At work, do I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day?
4. In the last seven days, have I received recognition or praise for good work?
5. Does my supervisor, or someone at work, seem to care about me as a person?
6. Is there someone at work who encourages my development?
[Do the employee belong here?]
7. At work, do my opinions seem to count?
8. Does the mission/purpose of my company make me feel like my work is important?
9. Are my co-workers committed to doing quality work?
10. Do I have a best friend at work?
[How can we all grow?]
11. In the last six months, have I talked with someone about my progress?
12. At work, have I had opportunities to learn and grow?"
I liked the book so much that I also bought the audio CD, which is enthusiastically read by Cunningham with a British accent.
At last, one of my favourite quotes from this book:
People don't change that much.
Don't waste time trying to put in what was left out.
Try to draw out what was left in.
That's hard enough.
MSc in International Business (Marketing & Management) and Graduate Diploma in E-business