‘Book Reviews’

Recommended Reading: 12, The Elements of Great Managing

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

12, The Elements of Great ManagingA couple months ago we recommended First, Break All the Rules by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman. Now we’d like to recommend the follow-up, 12, The Elements of Great Managing by Rodd Wagner and James K. Harter. In the first book, the authors developed the 12 elements of job satisfaction — a group of carefully constructed questions for your employees. The answers to these questions will give you considerable insight into the overall satisfaction of your staff. Where the first book covered a greater swath of information, this book focuses on the 12 elements uncovered in the first book.

“Behind each of these is a fundamental truth about human nature on the job. The correlations between each element and better performance not only draw a roadmap to superior managing; they also reveal fascinating insights in how the human mind — molded by thousands of years of foraging, hunting, and cooperating within a close-knit and stable tribe — reacts in a relatively new, artificial world of cubicles, project timelines, corporate ambiguity, and constantly changing workgroup membership.”

Wagner and Harter do an excellent job of explaining each of the 12 elements in detail. Each chapter is dedicated to one of the elements, along with a real world example to provide context. And keep in mind, this isn’t just theory. These guys work for Gallup, and are utilizing the research from millions of employee and manager interviews to drive their results. The conclusions are based on measurable performance statistics.

If you manage people, and would like to improve your managing skills, I highly recommend reading both of these books. Understanding employee satisfaction is a key element to a successful business.

Recommended Reading: First, Break All The Rules

Friday, April 16th, 2010

First, Break All The RulesLike many people, I’ve continued to look for ways for self-improvement. As a small business owner and entrepreneur, much of what I have learned about business has come from experience. Learning on the job. And a lot of trial and error. A few years ago I was faced with running a business that had rapidly grown from a staff of five to more than 40 full-time employees in a few short years. My duties and responsibilities changed significantly. And I quickly realized how little I knew about managing people. I was glad to have found First, Break All The Rules, What The World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman.

While I enjoy reading about business, leadership and motivation, I’m particularly drawn to books that have a legitimate methodology to their process and conclusions. First, Break All The Rules does this as well as any book I’ve ever read. This book is based on data from ongoing surveys conducted by the Gallup Organization over a 25 year period. They’ve interviewed more than 80,000 mangers across many industries trying to determine what makes a great manager. And some of the results will certainly surprise you. It did me.

What rules do these great managers break? “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.”

Are you a great manager? Would you like to be a better manager? Understanding what creates a satisfied and productive staff is a great place to start. Find out what really motivates employees. Whether you’re a small business owner with a handful of employees, or a corporate executive at a Fortune 500 company, I highly recommend First, Break All The Rules.