First, Break All the Rules: What the World's Greatest Managers Do Differently - Marcus Buckingham, Curt Coffman

The single most important shared idea of the world's great managers:

People don't change that much. Don't waste time trying to put in what was left out. Try to draw out what was left in. That is hard enough.

Measuring the strength of a workplace can be simplified to 12 simple questions:

  1. Do I know what is expected of me at work?
  2. Do I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right?
  3. At work, do I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day? 
  4. In the last seven days, have I received recognition or praise for doing good work?
  5. Does my supervisor, or someone at work, seem to care about me as a person?
  6. Is there someone at work who encourages my development? 
  7. At work, do my opinions seem to count?
  8. Does the mission/purpose of my company make me feel my job is important?
  9. Are my co-workers committed to doing quality work?
  10. Do I have a best friend at work?
  11. In the last six months, has someone at work talked to me about my progress?
  12. This last year, have I had opportunities at work to learn and grow?

What great managers do

1. select people. Differentiate between talent, skills and knowledge
2. set accurate performance expectations
3. motivate (à recognition and care)
4. develop the employee 

(managers look inward, leaders look outward) 

 The four keys
                1. select for talent (not simply for experience, intelligence, determination)
                2. define the right outcomes (not the right steps)
                3. focus on strengths (not on weaknesses)
                4. find the right fit 


1st key: select for talent

Onderscheid tussen wat erin zit en wat er niet in zit (wat te leren valt en wat niet) 

Trainable untrainable Skills Habits (most habits are talents) Knowledge Attitudes (=talent)   Drive (= talent)     Competencies are part skills, 
part knowledge, part talent


Casting: matching the talent to the role 

Know which talents you are looking for!

Try to identify one critical talent in each of the three talent categories: striving, thinking, relating. Use these three talents as your foundation. Do not compromise on them. 

2nd key: Define the right outcome

Define the right outcomes and then let each person find his own route toward those outcomes.
Identify a person's strengths. Define outcomes that play to those strengths. Find a way to count, rate or rank those outcoms. And then let the person run.


Dilemma: manager must remain control and focus on performance, BUT is bound by the belief that she cannot force everyone to perform in the same way

Solution: define the right outcomes and then let person find his own route towards outcomes

            --> resolves the dilemma
            --> is very efficient (go with the person's flow)
            --> encourages employees to take responsibility

Rules of thumb

1. employees must follow certain required steps for all aspects of their role that deal with accuracy and safety
2. employees must follow steps when they are part of a company or industry standard
3. required steps are useful only if they do not obscure the desired outcome

How to define the right outcome?

            What is right for your customers?
            What is right for your company?
            What is right for the individual


3rd key: Focus on strengths

1. Casting is everything: turn talent into performance, make her do what she is good at
2. Manage by exception: ASK!
3. Spend most time with your best people

            - best way to learn
            - you get what you pay attention to
            - fairest thing to do
            - only way to reach excellence (high performers still have the highest potential for growth!)

4. manage around weaknesses:

            - devise a support system
            - find a complementary partner
            - find an alternative role

4th key: find the right fit

Classic career path: three false assumptions. Best managers know:

            1. one rung in the career doesn't necessarily lead to another
            2. create heroes in every role

                        --> graded levels of achievement

            3. variation is not automatically good 

Get to know your employees! Familiarity does not breed contempt. Ask why

Tough love: stick to excellence; care about casting: person has to have a role where he has a chance to excel, a role that plays into his talents. (also, this frees the manager from blaming the employee)


Art of interviewing for talent

1. talent interview should stand alone
2. ask open ended questions and keep quiet
3. listen for specifics and top of minds
4. clues to talent:

            - rapid learning: which roles have you been able to learn quickly? What comes easy now?
            - what do you find fulfilling

5. know what to listen for. Know what the top answer is (e.g. top salespeople hate to be doubted, top teachers love it) 

Performance management

Develop a performance management routine to keep focused on the progress of each person's performance

Routines are

1. simple
2. frequent (à not all criticism at once; recent examples; results and problems fresh in memory)
3. focused on the future
4. asking the employee to keep track of his own performance and learnings à private document

basic routine questions (p. 246-247):

  • what did you enjoy most about your previous work experience? 
  • what brought you here? what keeps you here?
  • what do you think your strenghts are? Your weaknesses?
  • what about your goals for your current role?
  • how often do you like to meet with me to discuss your progress? are you the kind of person who will tell me how you are feeling or will i have to ask?
  • do you have any personal goals or commitment you would like to tell me about?
  • what is the best praise you have ever received? what made it so good?
  • have you had any really productive partnerships or mentors? why do you think these relationships worked so well for you?
  • what are your future growth goals, your career goals? are there any particular skills you want to learn? are there some specific challenges you want to experience? How can i help?
  • is there anything else you want to talk about that might help us work well together?

Check career discovery questions (p. 250) 

  • how would you describe success in your current role? can you measure it?
  • what do y ou actually do that makes you as good as you are? what does this tell you about your skills, knowledge and talents?
  • which part of your current role do you enjoy the most?
  • which part of your current role are you struggling with? what does this tell...? what can we do to manage around this? (training? positioning? support system? partnering?)
  • what would be the perfect role for you? image you are in that role? it's 3pm on a Thursday. What are you doing? why do you like it so much?

Master keys (to convince higher levels in the organisation)

1. keep the focus on the outcomes
            --> 12 questions!
2. value world class performance in every role
3. study your best (internal university)
4. teach the language of great managers

            - difference between skills, knowledge and talents
            - remove the remedial elemen from training

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