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First, Break All the Rules: What the World's Great Managers Do Differently ([Simon & Schuster business books]) Hardcover – 5 May 1999
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Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman expose the fallacies of standard management thinking in First, Break All the Rules: What the World's Greatest Managers Do Differently. In seven chapters, the two consultants for the Gallup Organisation debunk some dearly held notions about management, such as "treat people as you like to be treated"; "people are capable of almost anything"; and "a manager's role is diminishing in today's economy." "Great managers are revolutionaries," the authors write. "This book will take you inside the minds of these managers to explain why they have toppled conventional wisdom and reveal the new truths they have forged in its place."
The authors have culled their observations from more than 80,000 interviews conducted by Gallup during the past 25 years. Buckingham and Coffman outline "four keys" to becoming an excellent manager: finding the right fit for employees, focusing on strengths of employees, defining the right results, and selecting staff for talent--not just knowledge and skills. First, Break All the Rules offers specific techniques for helping people perform better on the job. For instance, the authors show ways to structure a trial period for a new worker and how to create a pay plan that rewards people for their expertise instead of how fast they climb the company ladder. "The point is to focus people toward performance," they write. "The manager is, and should be, totally responsible for this." Written in plain English and well organised, this book tells you exactly how to improve as a supervisor. --Dan Ring --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"As the authors put it, "a great deal of the value of a company lies between the ears of its employees." The key to success is growing that value by listening to and understanding what lies in their hearts -- Mssrs. Buckingham and Coffman have found a direct way to measure and make that critical connection. At Carlson Companies, their skills are helping us become the truly caring company that will succeed in the marketplace of the future."-Marilyn Carlson Nelson President and CEO, Carlson CompaniesSee all Product description
Top customer reviews
My paperback copy, now around two years old, is covered in highlighter pen, plastered in post-it notes and is referred to again and again. My boss bought copies for everyone in our office on my recommendation and I've recommended it to dozens of managers that I've worked with and coached.
It just makes sense. First there's Gallup's research pedigree (in this case more than a million interviews over twenty five years), then there's the concept: if you want to know how the world's greatest managers get exceptional performance from their people, don't ask the managers - ask the people.
From all this research, Gallup have distilled the essence of great management (arguably, great leadership) into 12 questions. If your employees can answer positively to all 12 questions, then you will have built a great place to work and will undoubtedly have highly motivated, highly productive people.
What makes this such a great book (in addition to the above) is the writing style. It's not dry research findings, it's fascinating snippets of conversations, analogies, humour and a compelling argument.
This turns conventional management wisdom on its head in a very refreshing way. It also says 'there's no standard for Great Manager that you have to try to be. Anyone can do it if they get these fundamental building blocks in place' (the 12 questions).
If you buy this book, I would also highly recommend the follow up 'Now, Discover Your Strengths' to gain further insights into how you can tap more of your own potential and more of those around you at work.
If you manage people, or aspire to, you must read 'First, break All The Rules'. As a result, you will understand that if you have any performance problems amongst your people it's not them - it's the environment you've created that they work within. In some cases that will mean redeploying them (possibly outside your organisation). However, in most cases, this book will show you how, with a little fine tuning, you can turn a mediocre performer into a superstar.
Buy this book. Improve your managerial performance.
As a manager, I found this book to be helpful in backing up some things that made intuitive sense and in challenging some basic assumptions I had. It's a very positive way of thinking about how you bring out the strengths of the individuals on a team.
No book has the answers. This one has some thought-provoking findings that I've used to improve the way I manage.
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
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Save your money. Lots of better business books than this.