February Friday Feature: Book Questions.

Our February Ho‘ohana is A Love Affair with Books, and I’ve discovered some wonderful new books by listening to the talk story of other people who have fallen in love with them first. Thus this month I’m asking a question each Friday, hoping you’ll share an answer.

Once in awhile, a book will come along that you sense was written just for you, it would be that important to you.

For me that book was First, Break all the Rules, What the World’s Greatest Managers do Differently by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman. After I’d read it, so many things about managing people seemed to become crystal clear, and being a “good” manager would never again be good enough – I had to learn more, and train myself to be a “great” manager.

Reading First, Break all the Rules, certain ideas were destined to sink into my brain and never again come out. For instance:

– Talented employees need great managers to work with them.

– Tenure and productivity is determined by an employee’s relationship with his supervisor.

– “Great” managers are “exacting,” managing on a path that demands discipline, focus, trust, and the willingness to individualize.

– “The best a manager can do is to make each person comfortable with who they are, helping them become more of who they already are.”

– Get to know your employees well – how else will you be able to manage them?

– Accept that you cannot change people; however you can nurture them.

– Make few promises, however keep them all.

Focus on talent: find it, hire it, keep it in every role. If you are the boss, measure your managers’ ability to find it, focus it, and keep it.

– An employee’s value can be seen in “the most essentially human tasks: sensing, judging, creating, and building relationships.”

– Lose good people and you lose value ” human value = company value.

– There are as many cultures in a company as there are managers: managers create the departmental cultures that will touch employees much more directly than “the company” will.

– Don’t waste your time and effort making things “fair” or “consistent” for all employee’s: concentrate instead on creating the environment that the talented employees thrive in. Why bother with making mediocre employees happy when you don’t want to reward mediocrity?

How about you?

Is there one book in particular that has had a profound effect on the way you work or your attitude toward business?

If you loved it, chances are many others will too: please tell us about it.

hana hou: if you are interested in First, Break all the Rules, take this next link to a great Fast Company article about the book and Marcus Buckingham. Lots of info in the reviews that are at Amazon.com too.

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  1. Doug Murata says

    I have read so many great books, I can’t remember all of them. However, one that keeps coming back to me is the Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell. I actually feature it in my recent post.
    Check it out at: http://knowmoreblogging.typepad.com/business/
    Rosa – I know you have been wondering when my next post was coming out…I actually posted it last Sunday. Will be posting again this weekend, hopefully.

  2. says

    Aloha Doug,
    I did see your Sunday post, mahalo for the pointer.
    The Tipping Point was one of those books that I raced through reading nearly breathless, and you remind me that I’m long overdue going back for another read, savoring it this time.
    But first, I did recently pick up Gladwell’s recent book, Blink, The Power of Thinking Without Thinking and I’ll be jumping into that one soon … I have the habit of buying more books when I haven’t yet finished what I’m currently reading … call it a very pleasant obsession to have!

  3. says

    The Cluetrain Manifesto, Rosa. A couple of points from Levine, Locke, Searls and Weinberger’s 95 point thesis that start off the book:
    * Corporations do not speak in the same voice as these new networked conversations. To their intended online audiences, companies sound hollow, flat, literally inhuman.
    * Markets are conversations.
    * As markets, as workers, we wonder why you are not listening. You seem to be speaking a different language.
    * Maybe you are impressing your investors. Maybe you’re impressing Wall Street. You’re not impressing us.
    * We are immune to advertising. Just forget it.
    I love this book! The lads illustrate what an unbelievable disconnect there is between corporate America and their market and employees. And I am not feeling a whole lot of change between 1999, when the book first came out, and now.