After a recent promotion to the ranks of management, I had a chance to read the classic business book First, Break All the Rules. It was an eye-opening education into best management practices.
The book is the result of years of surveys and interviews with managers across the world. The authors then distilled the vast amounts of data down to key principles that really distinguish a quality manager.
Employees = Profits
No matter the business, the only way to generate enduring profits is to begin by building the kind of work environment that attracts, focuses and keeps talented employees.
As you are well aware, acquiring and training new people is very costly. It is therefore in your financial best interest to hire the right people, with the right talents, and then keep them happy over the long term.
Good Manager = Increased Productivity
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 supervisor.
A manager’s role is vital to the success of the company because they directly affect employee satisfaction. As the book highlights, “employees leave managers, not companies.”
Some Rules to Break
The book discusses the conventional wisdom that is broken by the most successful managers. Great managers:
- Treat each employee differently. They are, after all, each individuals.
- Hire talent and not experience. Forget the long resume of positions and projects. If the employee doesn’t have the talent for the job, past experience doesn’t really matter.
- Don’t try to fix weaknesses. Focus on strengths and manage around weaknesses.
- Focus on results and not the “process.” Don’t get hung up on official process or procedures.
- Don’t promote the best performers out of their role and throw them into management. Not everyone that is really good at what they do will make a good manager of their peers. Don’t make management the only career path. Recognize and honor your senior and talented role players.
According to the authors’ research, if your employees can answer these 12 questions positively, you’re doing a great job:
- Do I know what is expected of me at work?
- Do I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right?
- At work, do I have the opportunity to do what I do best everyday?
- In the last seven days, have I received recognition or praise for doing good work?
- Does my supervisor or someone at work seem to care about me as a person?
- Is there someone at work who encourages my development?
- At work, do my opinions seem to count?
- Does the mission/purpose of my company make me feel my job is important?
- Are my co-workers committed to doing quality work?
- Do I have a best friend at work?
- In the last six months, has someone at work talked to me about my progress?
- This last year, have I had the opportunity at work to learn and grow?
Copyright (c) 1993 – 1998 The Gallup Organization, Washington, D.C. All rights reserved.
The companies where employees can positively answer these questions have lower turnover rates, higher customer satisfaction, and more productive businesses.
First, Break All the Rules should be mandatory reading for all managers in your company. Pick up a copy today.
Have you read First, Break All the Rules? Tell us what you thought of the book in the comments below.