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Article 19

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In Part 18, I listed some of the best books I have read for managing and developing people. They are:

  1. First, Break All The Rules, Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman, Gallup Organization [ref 1]
  2. Discover Your Strengths,  Marcus Buckingham [ref 2]
  3. Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, Carol Dweck – recommended by Bill Gates! [ref 3]
  4. The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work, Kindle Edition, Shawn Achor [ref 4]
  5. Rethinking Positive Thinking: Inside the New Science of Motivation, Kindle Edition, Gabriele Oettingen  [ref 5]

I also promised I will provide a summary of these books in subsequent articles.  Here is the first one.

Book Summary – First Break All the Rules

Imagine you are running a large research project spanning 25 years:

  1. You survey over a million corporate workers, who report to nearly 80,000 managers and ask the workers how they would rate their immediate manager’s performance – Poor, Fair, Good, Very Good or Excellent/Best.  To be sure, you do not get rating bias you anchor your rating scale by defining what you mean by Best.  At the end of these surveys you have generated a tentative list of “Best” Managers.
  2. To validate and refine your tentative list of these “Best Managers”, you interview the peers of these “Best” Managers. What do they think of these “Best” Managers? Are they really the “Best?”
  3. To double-check your findings and further refine the list, you check their business unit’s financial performance, growth, productivity and profitability.
  4. Now you have a good validated narrowed down list of “Best” Managers. And you can do real research, you interview them, to learn what makes them the Best Managers?
  5. You write a report and publish your findings.

Marcus Buckingham and his team at Gallup Poll[ref. 1] did just that! They conducted 80,000 interviews with different types of managers over a period of 25 years.

In First, Break All The Rules, [ref. 1] Marcus Buckingham and Gallup Organization share their massive research involving thousands of managers that “best” managers and his people produce nearly 300% higher than the average! And the trick these best-in-class managers use is to break-the-organization- rules to help their people.

Ivan Bjelajac [ref. 6] very succinctly provides this summary:

Key Takeaways

  1. The best managers reject conventional wisdom and don’t take shortcuts. They treat all employees differently based on their skills, talent and desires.
  2. They focus on maximizing employee’s strengths instead of correcting his weaknesses. The great manager mantra is don’t try to put in what was left out, instead draw out what was left in. You must hire for talent, and hone that talent into outstanding performance. People are more productive and engaged when they are able to focus on their strengths rather than on fixing their weaknesses.
  3. People leave their immediate managers, not the companies they work for. Relationships and alignments are usually created at a team level, and not at the company level.
  4. Employees will inherit your bad habits easier then they will acquire the good ones. You are always on stage in your work place.

Important Employee Needs

In another excellent summary of this book, Gulyani [ref. 7] identifies the six most important employee needs:

  1. To know what is expected at work.
  2. To have the materials and equipment needed to do the job well.
  3. To have the opportunity to do what they do best every day.
  4. To receive regular recognition or praise for work done well.
  5. To have a supervisor, or someone else at work who cares about them as a person.
  6. To have someone who encourages their development.

The next six key needs of great employees are:

  1. Feeling that their opinions count.
  2. Feeling that the mission of the company makes their work important.
  3. Having co-workers who are committed to doing quality work.
  4. Having a best friend at work.
  5. Getting feedback on their progress at least every six months.
  6. Receiving opportunities to learn and grow at work.

So how would you use this technique to manage and develop your people in R&D? 

 What behaviors you need to change to mimic the “Best” managers?

How will you identify the strengths and weaknesses of your employees?

If you ask people, “what your real strengths are” chances are they would not be able to provide an accurate answer. The real strengths are innate, developed at subconscious level between the ages of six and sixteen. A better way to identify the real strengths is to ask an employee’s best friends, who are likely to be very good independent observers. An even better more scientific approach for identifying an individual’s strengths is provided by two formal testing services. See [ref. 2, $15 per person] and ref. 8, FREE testing] I plan to discuss Discover Your Strengths in my next article. 

  

Ask:

  • What could you do if you double or triple the productivity of your people?
  • What will happen to your R&D output? Growth Rates? Profitability? Happiness? 
  • How will you help your people become more engaged in their work and company’s growth?
  • How can you grow to be among the “Best” managers?

 

So crank up your Product Development engines… Let us speedup new product development and growth rates. And let the fun begin!

 

References:

  1. First, Break All The Rules, Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman, Gallup Organization. See also http://www.gallup.com/press/176069/first-break-rules-world-greatest-managers-differently.aspx 
  2. Discover Your Strengths, Marcus Buckingham. See also https://www.gallupstrengthscenter.com/ 
  3. Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, Carol Dweck – recommended by Bill Gates! 
  4. The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work, Kindle Edition, Shawn Achor 
  5. Rethinking Positive Thinking: Inside the New Science of Motivation, Kindle Edition, Gabriele Oettingen 
  6. Ivan Bjelajac First, Break All the Rules – Key Takeaways, keytakeaways.io/books/first-break-all-the-rules/
  7. Abhinav Gulyani, First Break All the Rules Book Summary Archives,  gulyani.com/tag/first-break-all-the-rules-book-summary/
  8.  https://www.viacharacter.org

 

 

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