First, Break all the Rules Book Summary - First, Break all the Rules Book explained in key points
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First, Break all the Rules summary

Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman

What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently

4.2 (151 ratings)
26 mins

Brief summary

"First, Break All The Rules" by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman is a management guide that challenges traditional practices. It offers insights into effective leadership and employee engagement based on research and real-world examples.

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    First, Break all the Rules
    Summary of 12 key ideas

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    Employee satisfaction is the key to a successful business.

    There are many ways to increase revenues for a company, yet most of these techniques result in only short-lived growth. In fact, a successful business – one which can sustain growth – can be based only on consistently good performance, which has much more to do with how things are managed within the business.

    In other words, at the heart of a successful business is a strong and high-performing workplace.

    The success of any business can be based only on a revenue stream that’s robust and sustainable. Such a stream is not generated by techniques like slashing prices or opening a new location, but is the result of a growing base of loyal customers. Growing such a loyal customer base requires that those customers feel satisfied with a company’s excellent products and services.

    So, how can a company create such a strong, high-performing workplace?

    The key lies in satisfied employees: the more satisfied an employee is, the more she’ll contribute to building and maintaining a strong workplace.

    Why is that?

    For one thing, satisfied employees are more engaged in their work, and because of their stronger commitment they greatly contribute to higher productivity.

    Another reason is that employees’ commitment often has an indirect effect on company profits. A satisfied, engaged employee is more likely to save energy (by, for example, making sure to turn off the lights) and negotiate prices, and less likely to steal from the company.

    Finally, such engaged employees will probably also stay longer with the company, and are more likely to be friendlier towards customers because they care greatly about how the company is perceived.

    So, in order to be successful in the long term, companies must build strong workplaces where performance is consistently high. Ensuring that employees are satisfied in their roles is a sure-fire way of creating such a workplace.

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    What is First, Break all the Rules about?

    First, Break all the Rules (1999) shows how great management differs from conventional approaches. The authors demonstrate how some commonly held notions about career and management are actually misleading. Based on interviews conducted with successful managers (research that the authors did for Gallup) the book introduces its readers to the key notions that great managers – those who get their employees to achieve performance excellence – use in their jobs.

    First, Break all the Rules Review

    First, Break all the Rules (1999) is an insightful exploration of effective management practices and strategies based on data from extensive Gallup research. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • Offers practical, actionable insights that can help managers challenge conventional wisdom and make positive changes in their approach.
    • Presents compelling real-life stories and research findings that provide a deeper understanding of the principles and strategies discussed.
    • Keeps readers engaged with its thought-provoking perspectives on management and leadership, making it an enjoyable and enlightening read.

    Who should read First, Break all the Rules?

    • Anyone who wants to understand what jobs they might be best suited to
    • Anyone who wants to better understand their manager’s staffing decisions
    • Unit leaders, managers, human resource professionals

    About the Author

    Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman both have a background in business consulting and business research. At the time the book was published, they worked for the Gallup Organization, a global performance management consulting company. Both Buckingham and Coffman have started consulting and management training companies of their own, and have written other bestselling business books.

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    First, Break all the Rules FAQs 

    What is the main message of First, Break all the Rules?

    The main message of First, Break all the Rules is that effective managers focus on the strengths of their employees instead of trying to fix their weaknesses.

    How long does it take to read First, Break all the Rules?

    The reading time for First, Break all the Rules varies depending on the reader's speed, but it typically takes several hours. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is First, Break all the Rules a good book? Is it worth reading?

    First, Break all the Rules is worth reading as it provides valuable insights on effective management strategies and challenges traditional thinking in the workplace.

    Who is the author of First, Break all the Rules?

    The authors of First, Break all the Rules are Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman.

    What to read after First, Break all the Rules?

    If you're wondering what to read next after First, Break all the Rules, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick M. Lencioni
    • Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg
    • Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek
    • Unapologetically Ambitious by Shellye Archambeau
    • Leadership and Self-Deception by The Arbinger Institute
    • Dare to Lead (Old Version) by Brené Brown
    • The Ideal Team Player by Patrick Lencioni
    • Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin
    • Turn the Ship Around by L. David Marquet
    • Radical Candor by Kim Scott