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First, Break All the Rules: What the World's Greatest Managers Do Differently Hardcover – May 5, 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 Organization 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. Quoting leaders such as basketball coach Phil Jackson, 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 organized, this book tells you exactly how to improve as a supervisor. --Dan Ring
The authors, both management consultants for the Gallup Organization, use the company's study of 80,000 managers in 400 companies to reach the conclusion that a company that lacks great frontline managers will bleed talent, no matter how attractive the compensation packages and training opportunities. With this in mind, they sought the answers to the follow-up questions: "How do great managers find, focus and keep talented employees." Using case studies, diagrams, and excerpts from interviews, Buckingham and Coffman guide us through their findings that discipline, focus, trust, and, most important, willingness to treat each employee as an individual are the overall secrets for turning talent into lasting performance. The book concludes with suggestions on how to become a great manager, including ideas for interviewing for talent, how to develop a performance management routine, and how to get the best performance from talented employees. Although this is clearly an infomercial for the Gallup Organization, it nevertheless offers thoughtful advice on the essential task of developing excellent managers. Mary Whaley
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Top customer reviews
I just read the comments of those who negatively rated this book because it's concepts are not new. That's true of every management/HR/sales/training/leadership/customer service.. book I've read. How many times have you read a business book and thought "yep, that's right, that's exactly what I've experienced" and then became frustrated because of the gap between what could/should be vs the daily reality of your work experiences? How many times have you wished there was some way you could prove that focusing on the individual employee resulted in creating a provable, positive impact on organizational performance, productivity and profits?
The value of this book is that it is the Gallup organization and they've got the numbers to back up what has previously been rejected as "touchy feely" management methods.
The next time you're told "that won't work, nobody does it that way" or "there's no proof organizational performance is increased by focusing on individual strengths, understanding different people are motivated by different methods, selecting people to fit the job, or that managers have no impact on employee retention", simply reference this book and give them 80,000 reasons why they're wrong.
Supposedly, businesses decisions are based on solid numbers. We all know that businesses decisions are really based on perceptions. This book is gives you the numbers to change the many incorrect perceptions about the process of managing people.
I always had many challenges of conventional wisdoms of management but had no evidence to support my thinking. "First, Break All the Rules" is the evidence I needed. From now on, I will (continue to) focus on people strengths and manage around their weaknesses. From now on I will select for talents and train for skills and knowledge. Before separating a low performing employee, I will check if his low performance is due to lack of skills or kack of knowledge, if as a manager I am not the source of low performance, if I can found someone with complementary skills, knowledge or talents, if I cannot move the employee to another role where he can express his talents etc.
This is a book all managers MUST-HAVE and MUST-READ.
This book has been in the marketplace for ten years and is published by Gallup, which has credibility but at times can be a bit self-aggrandizing. The research and conclusions reached by Buckingham and Coffman however are direct, easy to follow and meaningful.
I find the two best conclusions as follows:
1. Spend the Most Time with your best people - this section in pages 153-172 are the heart and soul of finding results
2. Master Keys p 235-238 What can the company do to create a friendly climate for great managers?
A solid read, with messages that make sense - well done!
John Hogan CHA CHE MHS
Co-author; LESSONS FROM THE FIELD - A COMMON SENSE APPROACH TO EFFECTIVE HOTEL SALES