First Break All Rules- Summary and Review

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Executive Summary

This book, with research and statistics collected and organized by the Gallup Organization’s Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman, bucks everything your average manager (in any industry) has always been taught. All tricks of the trade and normal incentives used to decrease employee turnover, increase employee satisfaction, and find the right workers “…often miss the mark,” (Buckingham, 1999) the book summary reads. This book declares that managers- front-line managers- are the key to finding and keeping the right employees to keep the company running profitably and efficiently, not an attractive pay-scale, not the brand name the company champions, and not how many times the rules are reiterated.
“First” really does break all the rules. Buckingham and Coffman proceed to tear up and burn whatever tenets the typical managers in decades past have clung to for dear life, simply because it was the accepted formula for training good, obedient, pliable employees: “Treat everyone the same”, “Don’t play favorites”, “People can do anything they set their minds to”, “Subordinates should always be trying to improve their weaknesses”, “The goal of any employee should be to try to be promoted”, “Talent isn’t everything” (Buckingham, 1999) The list goes on, and it’s a list we have all heard our entire lives. Buckingham and Coffman not only negate the basic managerial codes, but they back up their rebellious declarations with the findings the Gallup polls have provided and examples from what the authors term “great managers”.
This book focuses on breaking these standards, challenges the norm that today’s managers have laxed into; every page is a veritable treasure chest of pithy and concise quips, valuable statistics, and at some points, moving stories of transformation and learning. “First” introduces and backs up a new way of thinking. Replace “Don’t play favorites” with “great managers invest in their best”. “People can make anything of themselves”, becomes



Bibliography: David C. Wyld (dwyld.kwu@gmail.com) is the Robert Maurin Professor of Management at Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond, Louisiana. He is a management consultant, researcher/writer, and executive educator. His blog, Wyld About Business, can be viewed at http://wyld-business.blogspot.com/. He also serves as the Director of the Reverse Auction Research Center (http://reverseauctionresearch.com/), a hub of research and news in the expanding world of competitive bidding. Dr. Wyld also maintains compilations of works he has helped his students to turn into editorially-reviewed publications at the following sites: Management Concepts (http://toptenmanagement.blogspot.com/) Book Reviews (http://wyld-about-books.blogspot.com/) and Travel and International Foods (http://wyld-about-food.blogspot.com/).

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