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48 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent insights - backed by empirical evidence.
The 12 elements represent the aspects of work that are most powerful in explaining workers' productive motivations on the job. They include job clarity, materials and equipment, recognition and praise... learning and growth opportunities.

These are my reasons for rating this book 5 stars:

1. The insights are backed by empirical evidence,...
Published on January 3, 2007 by Avinash Sharma, The Yogic Manager

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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Material, but Redundant
Overall this is a great book. It's packed with good information, backed with solid research, great statistics, real examples and well written. Normally I'd give it a 5 star rating. When compared against other books in its genre, it's a great book and deserves your attention.

However, I found much of this book a rehash of the material in "First, Break All the...
Published on October 31, 2007 by Jeff Staddon


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48 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent insights - backed by empirical evidence., January 3, 2007
This review is from: 12: The Elements of Great Managing (Hardcover)
The 12 elements represent the aspects of work that are most powerful in explaining workers' productive motivations on the job. They include job clarity, materials and equipment, recognition and praise... learning and growth opportunities.

These are my reasons for rating this book 5 stars:

1. The insights are backed by empirical evidence,

2. Although the approach is scientific, the book is easy to understand,

3. It incorporates international perspectives.

The authors illustrate the 12 Elements with examples from the US, Brazil, Germany, India and other countries. The insights are practical and backed by empirical evidence gathered from 10 million employee and manager interviews from 114 countries. In this book employee engagement has been linked to business performance. The authors have compared the top-quartile and bottom-quartile business units for the Elements, and have measured the overall difference between engaged and actively disengaged employees. Throughout the book you will read results that link these differences to a variety of business metrics - productivity, profitability, absenteeism, turnover, shrink (the retailers' euphemism for theft), accidents, customer ratings, etc. I enjoyed the way in which the findings were presented. Each chapter starts with a situation where a company has problems related to an Element. The authors then present their research and findings. After that a "great" manager implements changes and saves the day.

This book is exceptionally well researched. In addition to research by Gallup, it includes references from the works of several other researchers and authors that stretch across time and disciplines; for example Economics (from Adam Smith to Steven Levitt), Psychology (from Abraham Maslow to Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi), Management (from Frederick Taylor to Jeffrey Pfeffer)... Movies (Office Space), TV (Seinfeld) and Cartoons (Dilbert). The book also includes discoveries from neuroscience and game theory.

A note on the important of empirical evidence:

Many managers prefer to manage by their gut feelings, intuition, or by whatever fad that consulting firms are selling. For them, "evidence" often means personal, N=1 experience, and not consistent demonstration of results across contexts and time. That's part of the reason that they will continue to create the same problems that so many before them have made. Today, movements such as "evidence based management" are gaining popularity in academic and business circles. Several HR and Organizational Behavior professionals and professors (for instance Stanford's Pfeffer and Sutton) are applying techniques from science, engineering and statistics to the discipline of management.

Overall, I found this to be an excellent book and recommend it to all managers.
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Overdue Update on First, Break All the Rules with Detailed Examples, March 26, 2007
By 
Donald Mitchell "Jesus Loves You!" (Thanks for Providing My Reviews over 124,000 Helpful Votes Globally) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: 12: The Elements of Great Managing (Hardcover)
If you haven't read First, Break All the Rules, I have good news for you: Just read this book instead. 12: The Elements of Great Managing is a better book.

If you have read First, Break All the Rules, chances are it was a long time ago. You are probably ready for a refresher if you read that book back in 1999 or 2000 as I did.

As before, the Gallup people have asked that reviewers not list the 12 elements. I think they are overly sensitive, but I'll honor their request.

Let me characterize the 12 elements instead: Each point relates to either a necessity for being able to do your job well, having a sense that people care that you come to work, feeling engaged by your work, and seeing a future in what you are doing. Employees who feel engaged in these dimensions usually stay longer, are less likely to be out sick, and perform at higher levels of productivity. After you see the list, you'll accept those conclusions, I'm sure.

Since the first book came out, Gallup has done a lot more interviews. One of the benefits of all hose millions of additional interviews is to provide extra information about how and why each element is important. I was pleased to see that the authors also draw on psychological and physiological research to help explain their findings.

But the best parts, for me, were the 12 case studies that were like mini-fables of the sort that Ken Blanchard likes to write . . . except these cases involve real people. The leaders make mistakes as well as do things right, and you get a sense of how hard it is to improve performance in an important employee dimension when your organization has been doing it badly for some time. One of the things I liked best about the cases was that the authors didn't go overboard by just presenting organizations that perform in the top 1 percent that wouldn't seem quite real to most people.

I also liked the section at the end about how pay overlaps with all of the other findings. Most people are affected by their pay, and I thought that the authors put that into perspective quite well.

Although part of the message is that you need Gallup surveys to figure out what your problem is with employee engagement, the book is tactfully quiet on that point. Nice!

Although you may be tempted to either just read the list and feel like you've got it or just read the cases in areas where you think you have problems, I encourage you to read all of the material. You might get a new assignment tomorrow that will look totally different from where you are today. That happened to several people in the book. You'll be better prepared when that happens.

I thought that First, Break All the Rules was better than an MBA education on how to be an effective leader. This book is probably better than most DBA educations on the same subject.

Be engaging!
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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Material, but Redundant, October 31, 2007
This review is from: 12: The Elements of Great Managing (Hardcover)
Overall this is a great book. It's packed with good information, backed with solid research, great statistics, real examples and well written. Normally I'd give it a 5 star rating. When compared against other books in its genre, it's a great book and deserves your attention.

However, I found much of this book a rehash of the material in "First, Break All the Rules". The ideas are important enough that I went ahead and forced my way through the book. However I was definitely disappointed that the "Long-Awaited Follow-Up" as the cover advertises didn't really contain anything dramatically new that was not already covered in "First, Break All the Rules".
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you treat people like people you end up doing better., January 13, 2009
This review is from: 12: The Elements of Great Managing (Hardcover)
This is a follow on to "First Break All the Rules" and provides you with a list of the twelve elements that great managers use. These were distilled from the ten million workplace interviews Gallup has done over a long period of time, and I think they make sense. Really, they are about supporting your workers, respecting them, treating them as people rather than cogs in a machine, and managing them with a view to giving to them rather than exploiting them and taking from them. If you or your company are all about getting all you can out of your workers and letting them take until they leave, this book will tell you that you are on exactly the wrong course. So, if you want to hear about a better way, read this book. If you are happy in your current exploitive approach, don't bother with this book (although you will be cheating yourself).

The 12 elements are:
1) Ensuring your employees know what is expected not only in the tasks of their job, but in all of its ramifications and under a range of circumstances.
2) Provide your employees with the actual tools and resources they need to perform their job excellently. Don't make them scrounge, hoard, or steal to get their job done.
3) Do your best to let the employee use their best talents in their work. Fit the job to what they do best rather than making them fit themselves to get a job done.
4) Provide compliments, recognition, and public pats on the back weekly.
5) Foster an environment where people feel cared about as a person by other people.
6) Be sure employees understand a career path and are developing new skills.
7) Listen to employee opinions and implement the really good ones.
8) Show them how their work directly connects to the mission of the firm.
9) Foster teams that succeed and do quality work so each person has a sense of belonging, of success, and of pride.
10) Create a culture where each person feels that they have to come to work to be with one of their best friends.
11) Talk with each employee about their progress as part of your everyday work rather than only at the annual interview. Use the interview to review accomplishments and set next year's goals.
12) Provide real opportunities for each person to learn and grow as a person as well as an employee.

And take some time to get your compensation package right. Too many companies are sloppy and not using the money they pay out to its maximum advantage. Pay is rarely the most important thing on an employee's mind and when it becomes a serious issue, you have already bungled other aspects of the person's employment. But you don't want to put yourself in a weak position in what and how you compensate your people.

I thought this was an interesting and useful book.

Reviewed by Craig Matteson, Ann Arbor, MI
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well worth your time, November 30, 2006
By 
B. Johnson (Salt Lake City, UT USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: 12: The Elements of Great Managing (Hardcover)
One of the things that makes this book so worth the read is its SUPPORT IN DATA. The authors do a good job summarizing an enormously rich database down into actual, consise recommendations. So many other books I've read on this topic tend to draw from small, retrospective samples, personal anecdotes, or unique(?) case studies. Such books might make for interesting story telling. More rare is the book that tells the story supported by a whopping 10 million interviews/observations and then ties these observations to company performance outcomes. Read other books if you just like catchy, one-off stories. Read this one if you're looking for well told stories drawn from principles that are statistically proven to actually work.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great guide for lower level managers, April 9, 2008
This review is from: 12: The Elements of Great Managing (Hardcover)
There are a few good books on supervision, and a lot of impractical but "brilliant" books on "leadership" but this is the first that I've read that I could really apply to my job. I wish the three crushing layers of bureacracy above me would read this book too. I like the empirical data and real names. That gives this book much more credibility than the average management book for me. It's also a good way to do a self-report card in my relationship with each employee. Some of them are demanding and now I think "what does she really need to do the job, and am I providing it" instead of just responding to complaints without any analysis of the underlying situation. Bottom-level / front-line staff can be very good at manipulating managers or conversely very good at making a manager so defensive that we can't reply to them. With this book in my toolkit, I can stay above the emotions of the workplace and either fix what needs to be fixed or send the employee to EAP.

My other two favorite books are Making Work Work by Morgenstern and Healing the Downsized Organization. They are also very practical.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Further Explaining the 12 Elements of Great Management, February 15, 2007
This review is from: 12: The Elements of Great Managing (Hardcover)
Over the years the Gallup organization has analyzed their database to come up with twelve simple rules that they call the 12 Elements of Great Managing. They are simple statements with which an employee can agree or not. Their experience and interviews say that the more positive agreement with these statements that the employees have the better a job the management is doing.

The book has all kinds of nasty and dire warning about copying/reproducing these 12 points, so I'm not going to list them here. After the introduction the book is broken down into twelve chapters, one for each of the twelve elements. In the chapters the authors use illustrative stories from various businesses to help further define the element and give it some deeper understanding.

The management stories are quite closely related to the twelve elements, much more so than you often find in books of this nature. They illustrate the points the authors are trying to make quite well.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The path to being a great manager., October 1, 2007
This review is from: 12: The Elements of Great Managing (Hardcover)
If you are a manager - PLEASE READ THIS BOOK! If you are not a manager, buy this book; gift-wrap it, and GIVE IT TO YOUR MANAGER!

Managers take note - This book is the answer to getting your people engaged.

I love good advice and this book has plenty. I took out my highlighters and marked all over this book. It goes on my reference shelf for years to come. As I work with organizations to help them engage their people to take action (see theactionator.com) this book will go on my "must read" list. If you have a list of books to read this year, add "12 The Elements of Great Managing".

My favorite element is number three: The Opportunity to Do What I Do Best. This chapter addresses the issue of "matching a person to the right job, or a job to the right person". This is one of the hardest elements to pull off but the payback is HUGE! Imagine how engaged your workforce would be if everyone had an opportunity to do what they do best!

Buy this book, get out your highlighters, and get to work. The 12 elements in this book can help the good manager become GREAT!

Larry Kevin Adams
theactionator.com
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All great managers are expert cardiologists, March 23, 2009
This review is from: 12: The Elements of Great Managing (Hardcover)
Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman's First, Break All the Rules, was published in 1999. In it, they discuss twelve crucial statements (Q12®) to which millions of workers had responded in surveys conducted by The Gallup Organization during the previous 25 years. Then in 2006, Rodd Wagner and James K. Harter's 12: The Elements of Great Managing was published. (Both are Gallup principals.) As they explain, these statements comprise "the 12 Elements of Great Managing...Behind each of these is a fundamental truth about human nature on the job. The correlations between each element and better performance not only draw a roadmap to superior managing; they also reveal fascinating insights into how the human mind - molded by thousands of years foraging, hunting, and cooperating within a close-knit and stable tribe - reacts in a relatively new, artificial world cubicles, project timelines, corporate ambiguity, and changing workgroup membership." I will not provide a list of twelve crucial statements (Q12®), those that identify the 12 elements of great managing, because I have not obtained written consent of The Gallup Organization to do so. However, I can strongly recommend First, Break All the Rules and then 12: The Elements of Great Managing in which there is rigrous and comprehensive discussion of them.

One "crucial imperative" for C-level executives in most organizations is to achieve and then sustain high employee engagement. Consider these statistics based on recent Gallup research: 29% of the U.S. workforce is positively engaged (i.e. loyal, enthusiastic, and productive) whereas 55% is passively disengaged. That is, they are going through the motions, doing only what they must, "mailing it in," coasting, etc. What about the other 16%? They are "actively disengaged" in that they are doing whatever they can to undermine their employer's efforts to succeed. They have a toxic impact on their associates and, in many instances, on customer relations. These are indeed stunning statistics and reasons for them vary from one organization to the next. However, most experts agree that no more than 5% of any given workforce consists of "bad apples," troublemakers, chronic complainers, subversives, etc. As readers work their way through one or both books, they should keep in mind what Jeffrey Pfeiffer and Robert Sutton characterize as "the knowing-doing gap." Obviously, knowing and understanding the twelve crucial statements are quite different from converting that knowledge into effective action. In collaboration with their research associates at Gallup, Rod Wagner and James Harter explain how.

More specifically, they offer a mini-case study in which they provide a scenario to increase employee engagement with effective management if each of the 12 "crucial statements. The exemplar managers and their affiliations (at the time when this book was written) comprise an especially impressive diversity: Nancy Sorrels (Dallas/Fort Worth Airport Marriott South), Enio Wetten (manager of the Owens Corning fiberglass facility in Rio Clara, Brazil), Klaus Welte (a Stryker vice president and plant manager, Freeburg, Germany), Elzbieta Gorska-Kolodziejczyk (manager of an International Paper warehouse in Kwidzyn, Poland), Larry Walters (manager of a Qwest Communications call center in Idaho Falls, Idaho), Pete Wamsteeker (manager of a Cargill operation in West Branch, Iowa), Susan Jewell (managing director of Diagnostic Imaging at Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children), Mike Boldrick (manager of a Cabela's store in Wheeling, West Virginia), Eric Taverna (manager of Best Buy's Store 484 in Manchester, Connecticut), Dr. Suresh Nagesh (manager of DaimlerChrysler Vehicle Engineering and Quality in Bangalore, India), Philippe Lescornez (manager of a division of Mars, Masterfoods, in Brussels, Belgium), and Simon Gaier (a B&Q store manager in Wrexham, Wales). I have listed these exemplary managers to suggest both the diversity of those on whom Wagner and Harter focus but also to emphasize that they focused on managers among those receiving the highest rating re the critically important element they personify, not in theory but in day-to-day performance. For example, according to the closest associates of these managers:

To show the associates that they were really appreciated, "We put the same amount of time and effort into the back-of-the-house restrooms as we put into the front-of-the-house restrooms. [Nancy Sorrells] "really does have the best interests of the customers and employees at heart."

Led by Enio Wetten, "the team at Rio Claro has built a strong level of employee engagement. They have learned that while they may not be able to rely on the [source of electrical] power, they can rely on each other, particularly in an emergency...O time veste a camina! [The team wears the jersey!]"

To calm an associate's fears and increase his self-confidence, Pete Wamsteeker told him, "I want you to be a prize fighter. I want you to get out and fight a bit on your own. I don't mind of you get knocked down a few times. But you've got to have the confidence I'm never going to let you get knocked out."

Philippe Lescornez "always calls his people in the car. He speaks with everyone at least once a week, often more. When people move to his team, at the beginning they need to adapt because he phones them all the time: `How are things going? How are you? Everything OK?' New hires sometimes complain `He's always behind me,' until they realize he calls because he cares. It's feedback, feedback, feedback all the time."

Working for [Simon Gaier], I loved going to work. I loved being in work. I loved all the stuff that we were doing. Results were getting produced and he was very supportive. He gave me l0ads of confidence and I felt like I could do stuff. I suppose he gave me back the thing that it wasn't me; it was just maybe the situation I was in before."

These are but a few of hundreds of excerpts I could have selected. They help to explain not only what and why but how the exemplary managers consistently demonstrate one or more of the elements of great managing that were revealed in more then ten million interviews conducted by Gallup. What about bottom-line impact? "Company performance starts with the most basic act: showing up for work. Engaged employees average 27 percent less absenteeism than do those who are actively disengaged. In a typical 10,000 person company, absenteeism from disengagement costs the business about 5,000 lost days per year at a cost of $600, 000 in salary paid where no work was performed. Managers who maintain higher levels of engagement in their teams spare their companies the cost of what are sometimes euphemistically called `mental health days.'"

Congratulations to Rodd Wagner, James Harter, and their Gallup associates for this brilliant achievement. To say that their insights and recommendations are "research driven" is an understatement of almost epic proportion. Better yet, their insights and recommendations are directly relevant to all organizations, whatever their size and nature may be. The concluding remarks leave no doubt about that. "The managers who are best at getting the most from people are those who give the most to them. Those who create the greatest financial performance start with the least pecuniary motivations. They work hard to do the right thing for their people, and they end up doing well. That is the heart of great managing."

It is no coincidence that most of the companies annually ranked among the best to work for are also ranked among those most profitable. All research on employee satisfaction, including Gallup's, indicates that feeling appreciated and believing in the value of the work to be done are most important. Compensation? It is seldom ranked in the top ten. All great managers consider it a privilege to serve those entrusted to their care.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good book for those wrestling with employee engagement, September 25, 2012
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This review is from: 12: The Elements of Great Managing (Hardcover)
Gallup after "30 years of in-depth research involving more than 17 million employees" have settled on 12 questions to get to the heart of employee engagement

1. I know what is expected of me at work.
2. I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right.
3. At work, I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day.
4. In the last seven days, I have received recognition or praise for doing good work.
5. My supervisor, or someone at work, seems to care about me as a person.
6. There is someone at work who encourages my development.
7. At work, my opinions seem to count.
8. The mission or purpose of my organization makes me feel my job is important.
9. My associates or fellow employees are committed to doing quality work.
10. I have a best friend at work.
11. In the last six months, someone at work has talked to me about my progress.
12. This last year, I have had opportunities at work to learn and grow.

The book anecdotally describes each of the 12 questions/elements by chapter, mostly through the eyes of front-line managers.
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12: The Elements of Great Managing
12: The Elements of Great Managing by Rodd Wagner (Hardcover - November 1, 2006)
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