First Break All Rules By Marcus Buckingham (Book Review)

First, Break All The Rules
I finally got my hands on First, Break All The Rules. I know this book has been around for a long time. Unfortunately I didn’t get the opportunity to read it, until now.

Overall, the book provided some new insights into selecting the right people, setting expectations, motivating, and developing them. Yes, there are millions of books that make that promise! However, I believe First, Break All The Rules is one book that actually made a great contribution.

Chapter 1: Measuring Stick
Goes on to say, the strength of a workplace can be simplified to twelve 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?

Chapter 2: The Wisdom Of Great Managers
Introduced the four keys, which are discussed in detail in the next four chapters.

Chapter 3: The First Key-Select For Talent
Talks about the four categories of talent;
Striving talent - explains the why of a person
Thinking talent - explains the how of a person
Relating talent - explains the who of a person
String, Thinking and relating – Combination of all

Chapter 4: The Second Key-Define The Right Outcomes
Highlighted the importance of setting expectations.

Chapter 5: The Third Key-Focus On Strengths
I had already read Marcus Buckingham’s other book Now, Discover Your Strengths. So this chapter to me, was more or less a summary of that. As the title suggests, the advice is to focus on each person’s strength and manage around his weaknesses.

Chapter 6: The Fourth Key-Find The Right Fit
This chapter gave birth to an intriguing statement. It argues that conventional wisdom persuades most of us that the right answer to the question “ Where do I go from here?” is “up”. I will be honest, at the beginning even I thought this was a bit absurd! However, as the chapter progressed it offered many engaging examples. Towards the end, I too was convinced that, most employees are promoted to their level of incompetence!

Chapter 7: Turning the Keys-A Practical Guide
An interesting take on Interviews and performance management.

My Favorite Excerpt:

“Everyone is exceptional” has a second meaning. Everyone should be treated as an exception. Each employee has his own filter, his own way of interpreting the world around him, and therefore each employee will demand different things of you, his manager.

What I like about the book:
* The book content was very well structured.
* I give full credit to the author, for maintaining simplicity! For an area that is so complicated, he made it sound so easy!
* Almost all concepts were backed up by good examples, which were practical and useful.
* There were thought provoking questions asked in most chapters.

What I dislike about the book:
* There were some key concepts which were repeated several times throughout the book. For someone reading the book at a stretch, this can be very annoying!

If you are in a leadership position or plan to be ‘there’ one day, then this book is definitely a must read.

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