Excerpt from First Break All The Rules by Marcus Buckingham, Curt Coffman, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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First Break All The Rules

What The World's Greatest Managers Do Differently

by Marcus Buckingham, Curt Coffman

First Break All The Rules
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  • First Published:
    May 1999, 255 pages
    Feb 2004, 320 pages

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APPENDIX B: What the Great Managers Said
"What did great managers say to the three questions quoted in chapter 2?"

APPENDIX C: A Selection of Talents
"Which talents are found most frequently across all roles?"

APPENDIX D: Finding the Twelve Questions
"How did Gallup find the twelve questions?"

APPENDIX E: The Meta-analysis
"What are the details of the meta-analysis?"



Breaking All the Rules

The greatest managers in the world do not have much in common. They are of different sexes, races, and ages. They employ vastly different styles and focus on different goals. But despite their differences, these great managers do share one thing: Before they do anything else, they first break all the rules of conventional wisdom. They do not believe that a person can achieve anything he sets his mind to. They do not try to help a person overcome his weaknesses. They consistently disregard the Golden Rule. And, yes, they even play favorites.

Great managers are revolutionaries, although few would use that word to describe themselves. 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.

We are not encouraging you to replace your natural managerial style with a standardized version of theirs -- as you will see, great managers do not share a "standardized style." Rather, our purpose is to help you capitalize on your own style, by showing you how to incorporate the revolutionary insights shared by great managers everywhere.

This book is the product of two mammoth research studies undertaken by the Gallup Organization over the last twenty-five years. The first concentrated on employees, asking, "What do the most talented employees need from their workplace. Gallup surveyed over a million employees from a broad range of companies, industries, and countries. We asked them questions on all aspects of their working life, then dug deep into their answers to discover the most important needs demanded by the most productive employees.

Our research yielded many discoveries, but the most powerful was this: Talented employees need great managers. The talented employee may join a company because of its charismatic leaders, its generous benefits, and its world-class training programs, but how long that employee stays and how productive he is while he is there is determined by his relationship with his immediate supervisor.

This simple discovery led us to the second research effort: "How do the world's greatest managers find, focus, and keep talented employees?" To answer this question we went to the source -- large companies and small companies, privately held companies, publicly traded companies, and public sector organizations -- and interviewed a cross section of their managers, from the excellent to the average. How did we know who was excellent and who was average? We asked each company to provide us with performance measures. Measures like sales, profit, customer satisfaction scores, employee turnover figures, employee opinion data, and 360-degree surveys were all used to distill the best managers from the rest. During the last twenty-five years the Gallup Organization has conducted, tape-recorded, and transcribed one-and-a-half-hour interviews with over eighty thousand managers.

Some of these managers were in leadership positions. Some were midlevel managers. Some were front-line supervisors. But all of them had one or more employees reporting to them. We focused our analysis on those managers who excelled at turning the talent of their employees into performance. Despite their obvious differences in style, we wanted to discover what, if anything, these great managers had in common.

Copyright © 1999 by The Gallup Organization

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