“First, Break All The Rules”
by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman
Measure the Strength of your
Company and its Managers
The Big 12
1. Do I know what is expected of me at work?
2. Do I have the right 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?
Four Business Outcomes Correlate to
The Big 12
• Employee retention
• Customer satisfaction
A Case In Point
Employee survey: Do you have the materials and equipment needed to
do your work right?
Store A: 45% Strongly Agreed
Store B: 11% Strongly Agreed
Reality: Store A and Store B had the same materials and equipment
Stores scoring in the top 25%:
On average, were 4.56% over their sales budget.
Almost 14% over their profit budget.
Retained more employees.
The Order of the Questions
Base Camp: “What do I get?” (Q1,Q2)
Camp 1: “What do I give?” (Q3,Q4,Q5,Q6)
Camp 2: “Do I belong here?” (Q7,Q8,Q9,Q10)
Camp 3: “How can we all grow?” (Q11, Q12)
The Focus of Great Managers
Great managers take aim at Base Camp and Camp 1 (Q1-Q6).
Securing 5’s is your most important responsibility.
How Do Great Managers Respond?
• Scenario 1: “Which would you rather have: an independent,
aggressive person who produced $1.2 million in sales or a congenial
team player who produced about half as much?”
• Scenario 2: “You have an extremely productive employee who
consistently fouls up the paperwork. How would you work with this
person to help him/her be more productive?”
• Scenario 3: “You have two managers. One has great talent for
management. The other is mediocre. There are two openings
available: the first is a high-performing territory, the second is a
territory that is struggling. Neither territory has yet reached its
potential. Where would you recommend the excellent manager to be
What Great Managers Know
People don’t change that much.
• Don’t waste time trying to put in what was left
• Try to draw out what was left in - that is hard
What Great Managers Do
The Manager is a catalyst
A great manager must be able to:
• Select a person
• Set expectations
• Motivate the person
• Develop the person
Managers and Leaders are Different
Leaders look OUTWARD
Managers look INWARD
Great Managers Four Core Activities
(The Four Keys)
Conventional Wisdom says:
1. Select a person…based on his experience, intelligence, and determination
2. Set expectations…by defining the right steps
3. Motivate the person…by helping him identify and overcome his weaknesses
4. Develop the person…by helping him learn and get promoted
1. Select for talent
2. Define the right outcomes
3. Focus on strengths
4. Find the right fit
The First Key: Select for Talent
• You cannot teach talent
• You can teach skills and knowledge
• Talent drives an employee’s performance
• People don’t change
Three Kinds of Talent
Striving talents - why
Thinking talents - how
Relating talents - who
Common Myths Dispelled
Talents are rare and special
Some roles are so easy, they don’t require
How to Find Talent
Know what talents you are looking for
Study your best employees
The Second Key: Define the Right
Define the right outcomes
Let the person find their own route
You must trust your people
Managers Do Need to Follow Some
All roles demand some level of accuracy
• Follow company and industry standards
• Rules do not guarantee customer
Four Expectations of All Customers
Level 1: Accuracy
Level 2: Availability
Level 3: Partnership
Level 4: Advice
The Third Key: Focus on Strengths
Spend most of your time with your best people
• Don’t try to fix weaknesses (non-talents)
• You can fix skills and knowledge
• Casting is everything
Investing in Your Best - The Fairest
Thing To Do
Fair does NOT mean treating everyone the
Fair means treating everyone the way they
Time away from your best is destructive
You can’t learn excellence from studying
Don’t use the average to estimate excellence
Managing Around a Weakness
Try some new triggers
• Is it a skills/knowledge or a talent issue?
• Three ways to succeed
Devise a support system
Find a complementary partner
Find an alternative role
Build A Culture that Manages
A healthy culture understands no one is
• Each person brings unique talents
• Find an alternative role for those not
The Fourth Key: Find the Right Fit
Careers should NOT follow a prescribed path
• The Peter Principle
• Create heroes in every role
• Broadband salaries – your employee can earn
more than you!
The New Career
The employee is the star
• The employee is responsible for career
• Self-discovery is key: use the Sunday night
• The manager plays a significant role
Level the playing field
Hold up the mirror
Create a safety net
Terminating an Employee:
Use Tough Love
Confront poor performance early and directly
• Poor performance is average with no trend
• Focus on the employee’s talents and the lack
of a fit
Interviewing for Talent
Ask open-ended questions
• Listen for specifics
• Believe their answers
Performance Management Routine
Keep it simple
• Frequent interactions
• Focus on the future
• Require self-tracking
The Strength Interview
1. What did you enjoy most about your previous work experience? What brought you
here? (If an existing employee) What keeps you here?
2. What do you think your strengths are? (skills, knowledge, talent)
3. What about your weaknesses?
4. What are your goals for your current role? (Ask for scores and timelines)
5. 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?
6. Do you have any personal goals or commitment you would like to tell me about?
7. What is the best praise you have ever received? What made is so good?
8. Have you had any really productive partnerships or mentors? Why do you think these
relationships worked so well for you?
9. 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
10. Is there anything else you want to talk about that might help us work well together?
1. What actions have you taken?
2. What discoveries have you made?
3. What partnerships have you built?
After about ten minutes
4. What is your main focus?
5. What new discoveries are you planning?
6. What new partnerships are you hoping to build?
1. How would you describe success in your current role? Can you measure it?
Here is what I think. (add your own comments)
2. What do you actually do that makes you as good as you are? What does this
tell you about your skills, knowledge, and talents? Here is what I think. (Add
your own comments.)
3. Which part of your current role do you enjoy the most? Why?
4. Which part of your current role are you struggling with? What does this tell
you about your skills, knowledge and talent? What can we do to manage
around this? Training? Positioning? Support system? Partnering?
5. What would be the perfect role for you? Imagine you are in that role. It’s
three P.M. on a Thursday. What are you doing? Why would you like it so
much? Here is what I think. (Add your own comments.)
A Great Company Culture
Break the grip of conventional wisdom
Keep the focus on outcomes
Value world class performance in every role
Study your best
Teach the language of great managers