First, Break All The RulesPaperback Pocket Books
- Publisher: POCKET BOOKS
- Format: Paperback | 320 pages
- Dimensions: 128mm x 196mm x 22mm | 160g
- Publication date: 20 June 2005
- Publication City/Country: New York
- ISBN 10: 1416502661
- ISBN 13: 9781416502661
- Edition: New edition
- Edition statement: New edition
- Sales rank: 3,818
Great managers do not help people overcome their weaknesses. They do not believe that each person has unlimited potential. They do play favourites and they break the 'Golden Rule' book everyday. This amazing book explains why great managers break all the rules of conventional wisdom. The front-line manager is the key to attracting and retaining talented employees. No matter how generous its pay or how renowned its training, the company that lacks great, front-line managers will suffer. Great managers are the heroes of this book. Vivid examples show how, as they select, focus, motivate and develop people, great managers turn talent into performance. Finally, the authors have distilled the essence of good management practice into twelve simple questions that work to distinguish the strongest departments of a company from all the rest. This book is the first to present this essential measuring stick and to prove the link between employee opinions and productivity, profit, customer satisfaction, and the rate of turnover.
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Marcus Buckingham, who was born in England and is a graduate of Cambridge University, is one of the Gallup organisation's leading management consultants and leader of its 15 year study. Curt Coffman is Senior Vice President and Senior Consultant at Gallup, and consults for many of the Fortune 500 companies.
By Andrew Ritchie 03 May 2011
"I enjoyed this book and would recommend it to all line managers and HR professionals.
Despite getting a lot out of the book it was not as I expected, much of what they rail against as conceived wisdom seems now outdated and many of their conclusions of 'rules broken' by great managers would probably now be seen as conventional wisdom.
Much of their advice is common sense, people learn differently, people see the world individually and people have certain predisposal to behave in certain ways and perform some tasks better than others. No surprise.
The strength of the book is in establishing a good differentiation between knowledge and skills which can be taught and learnt and peoples strongly programmed way of thinking and behaving which can to a much lesser extent. It sets out clearly how managers can try to avoid pitfalls.
I found some of the solutions to peoples 'non-talents' to be quite weak. For example, to treat continued missing of expense return deadlines by giving the task to someone else is missing the authors own point. Completing ones own expenses is a minimum expectation of task performance not an innate 'Talent' to be developed or negated. A good read with some great ideas and will certainly provoke some though.
By Codrut Nicolau 12 Feb 2010
"The leader" is the new Buddha of the corporations and leadership is the new religion for everyone inside the big companies.
A strange religion of being both God and follower, because most of us are followers of certain leaders, but also aspire to become one of the great leaders that will, eventually, change, through a creative revolution, the course of the company, and move it from a mediocre / mainstream path to a glorious one.
In a big corporation, organically sunk in strict norms and procedure and deeply focussed on efficiency and making more money with lower effort and fewer resources, the idealistic frame of the leader may also come from our desire of escaping in a fantasy world, freer and, in some cases, mystical, or at least not so preoccupiean resources" with the only purpose of making the shareholders happier.
The leader can be seen as a modern hero and everyone is, naturally, more willing to follow someone who don't consider subordinates "robots"/ some means to achieve something, but, on the contrary, as the indispensable ones that will fulfil, together with the leader, the illuminating vision of the company. The company itself transforms and become an army with a predestined mission on the planet. That's why the leader need to inspire us, to picture a different world in front of our gazed eyes and should vigorously lead us to fulfil the destiny.
The leadership books changed also, and the arid language of the business filled with emotions and plenty of stories. The leader is almost a superhuman, and reasonable people start to worry if Steve Jobs or Bill Gates gets a flue or indigestion, because they are one of the most valuable assets of their empires and the ships may always sink if their inspirational leader (not manager) might get hurt.
Jesus, Napoleon, Alexander the Great and Churchill were taken out from graves and populated the management books and were given as examples, while emphasising that no manager worth a penny if he is not a leader in the same time.
Then, other hysteria filled the space with the question if leader should be born, or someone can learn how to become one. Good managers started to question what's wrong with them as they can not inspire crowds and got into intensive training of creating a vision in their teams.
While manager appear more often on everyone's business cards, including for junior ones (Account manager, Junior Relationship Manager, etc), the concept of manager significantly has been diluted, and and the importance of being manager became, basically, not so important.
Recently, the authors who managed, in my opinion, to put back the things on a correct track are Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman, from The Gallup Organization, through their inspirational book "First break all the Rules".
Based on a large research among managers from various and very different companies, the authors put a new aura on managers (insisting quite on front line managers) and clearly emphasizing the vital role of manager (alongside the leader or even without being necessary to have a leader in the company).
The manager is vital, because he or she is the one "who excelled at turning each employee's talent into performance", the "key to attracting and retaining talented employees". The manager is the one who "select an employee for talent rather than for skills or experience; manager set expectations for him or her; defines the right outcomes rather than the right steps; manager motivates people; builds on each person's unique strengths rather than trying to fix his weaknesses"; and, finally the manager "develops people - find the right fit for each person, not the next rung on the ladder".
The book not only defines the profile of a great manager, but changes the focus from the leader to someone who became rather insignificant - the manager.
After reading this book, one can reasonably believe that a leader is welcomed in a company mostly from belongingness and PR point of view.
No more childish staff like "manager manages complexity, while leader manage change".
Of course an almost broke company, needs also a charismatic and trustful leader in order still to keep its valuable people inside, enough committed to get back to positive EBITDA and life.
Of course, a declining big company might need a bright leader that quickly manage to influence everyone and drive the organisation in totally new direction through a visionary leadership for finding, like Columbus, a new juicy territory.
But otherwise, the great leader is, marginally, valuable (but neither necessary, nor sufficient) to contribute to the feeling of belongingness to a clearly defined family. In the same time, a leader is the best channel for the outside world to know your company, the person who will be interviewed by the journalists and, very often, will become the symbol of the brand of the company besides the logo.
While the real and valuable work is done by the managers.
To put it more straight, in my own company, I prefer to have some great managers and I will not be upset if no great leader will come at the office in the morning, instead of having a great leader but some lousy managers.