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FIRST BREAK ALL THE RULES FULL BOOK PDF

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pdf. First, Break All The Rules - What The World's Greatest Managers Do . First, breakall the rules: whatthe world s greatest managers do differently This book will take you inside the minds of these managers to explain why .. The Walt Disney Company might include only full-time employees in their retention figures. Co-authored with Curt Coffman, First Break All the Rules PDF You need to focus on their strengths and use them to their full potential. First, Break All the Rules from Soundview Executive Book Summaries February 2. THE THE COMPLETE SUMMARY. The Measuring Stick. Today, more.

Books, Audiobooks and Summaries. In the world of management, that title belongs to Marcus Buckingham. Marcus Buckingham is a British Cambridge-educated business consultant and motivational speaker. He was recruited by Donald O. Clifton to work for Gallup, where he was in charge of few large-scale surveys on which his books are based. He is a consultant to many Fortune organizations.

But mostly I was just interested inwho they were. What do you think ofthe statement "Familiarity breeds con tempt?

It's wrong. How can you manage people if you don't know them, their style, their motivation, their personal situation? I don't think you can. Introduction 15 Gallup: Do you think a manager should treat everyone thesame? Of course not. Because everyone is different. I was telling you about Gary before, how great an employee he was.

But I fired him twice. A cou ple oftimes his joking around went too far, and he really jerked my chain. I really liked him, butI had tofire him. Our relationship would have been ruinedif I hadn't put my foot down and said, "Don'tcome in on Monday.

I think he's a better person because ofwhat I did. My firm hand worked with Gary. It wouldn't have worked at all with Brad. If I even raised my voice with Brad, I would get the exact opposite reaction from the one I wanted.

He would becrushed. He'd shut down. So when I disagree with him, I have to talk quietly and reason everything through with him quite carefully. Isn't it unfair to treat people differendy? I don't think so. I think people want to feel understood. Treating them differently is part of helping them feel unique.

If I know that one of my people is the primary breadwinner, then as long as they perform, I will be more likely to give him better hours than someone who is a student. The student might be a little annoyed, but when I explain the situation to him, he usually calms down. Besides, he now knows that I will be paying attention to his personal situation when he needs a special favor. That's always a good message to send.

Other than Gary, have you ever fired anyone? Unfortunately, I have. Like most managers, sometimes I don'tpick the right people andthings startto fall apart.

What isyour approach to firing an employee? Do it fast, the faster the better. If someone is consistently underperforming, you might think you are doing them a favor by waiting. You aren't. You're actually making matters worse. You've been managing now for fifteen years. If you were going to give any advice to a new manager, what would it be? I am not an expert at this, you know. I'm still learning. That's fine. Just tell us a couple of the ideas that have helped you over the years.

I suppose the first would be, pick the right people. If you do, it makes everything else so much easier. And once you've picked them, trust them. Everyone here knows that the till is open. Just put an IOU in the till and pay it back. Ifyou expect the best ofpeople, they'll give you the best. I've rarely been let down. And when someone has let me down, I don't think itis right to punish those who haven't by creating some new rule orpolicy.

Another thing would be, don't overpromote people. Pay them well for what they do, and make it rewarding, in every way, for them to keep doing what they are doing. Brad is a great waiter, but he would make a terrible manager. He loves to perform for an audience he re spects. He respects the customers. He is less respectful of some of the new employees.

As a manager, these employees would be his au dience. And especially important: Never pass the buck. Never say, "I think this is a crazy idea, but corporate insists. So in the long run, you are actually making yourlifeworse.

Evenworse are those who findthem selves always promising things that don't come to pass. Since you never know what corporate might spring on you next, I recommend living by this simple rule: Make very few promises to your people, and keep them all.

That's it. That's mylist. Isthere anything else that you would like totell us about your experiences as a manager? Maybe just this: A manager has gotto remember that he is onstage every day. His people are watching him. Everything he does, everything he says, and the way he says it, sends off clues to his em ployees. These clues affect performance. So never forget you are on that stage. So that's Michael. Or, atleast, that's an exceipt from Michael. During our research we heard from thousands of managers like Michael and from hundreds of thousands of employees who worked for managers like Michael.

Some of Michael's opinions are commonly held—never pass the buck, make few promises and keep them all.

Michael, like all great managers, breaks the rules of conventional wisdom. Like you, we know that change is a fact ofmodern life.

We know that the business climate is in permanent flux and that different approaches to managing people wax and wane. However, in listening to managers like Michael and the employees they manage, we were searching for that which does not change. What will talented employees always need?

What will great managers always do to turn talent into perfor mance? What are theenduring secrets tofinding, focusing, and keeping talented employees? What are theconstants? These were ourquestions. On the following pages we present our discoveries. There was no pitched battle at sea. The admiral, Clowdisley Shovell, simply miscalculated his position in the Atlantic and his flagship smashed into the rocks ofthe Scilly Isles, a tail of islands offthe southwest coast of England.

The rest of the fleet, fol lowing blindly behind, went aground and piled onto the rocks, one after another. Fourwarships andtwo thousand lives were lost.

For such a proud nation of seafarers, this tragic loss was distincdy embarrassing. But tobe fair tothememory ofClowdisley Shovell, it was not altogether surprising. The concept of latitude and longitude had beenaround since the first century B. But by westill hadn't man aged to devise an accurate way to measure longitude—nobody ever knew for sure how far east or west theyhad traveled. Professional sea men like Clowdisley Shovell had to estimate their progress either by guessing their average speed or by dropping a log over the side ofthe boat and timing how long it took to float from bow to stern.

Forced to rely on such crude measurements, the admiral can be forgiven his mas sive misjudgment. What causedthe disaster was not the admiral's ignorance, but his in ability to measure something that he already knew to be critically im portant—in this case longitude.

Asimilar drama isplaying outin todays business world: Earl Sasser, and Leonard Schlesinger make the case that no matter what your business, the only way to generate enduring profits is to begin by building the kind ofwork environment that attracts, focuses, andkeeps talented employees.

It is a convincing case. But the manager on the street probably didn'tneed convincing. This is why, in tight labor markets, companies seem prepared to go to almost any lengths to prevent employees' eyes from wandering. Ifyou work for GE, you may be one ofthe twenty-three thousand employees who are now granted stock options inthecompany.

Employees ofAlliedSignal and Starbucks can make use ofthe company concierge service when they forget that their mothers need flowers and their dachshunds need walking. And at Eddie Bauer, in-chair massages are available for all those aching backs hunched over computer terminals. But do any ofthese caring carrots really work? Do they really attract and keep only the most productive employees? Or are they simply a catch-all, netting both productive employees and ROAD warriors—the army's pithy phrase for those sleepy folk who are happy to "retire onac tive duty"?

The truth is, no one really knows. Because even though every great manager and every great company realizes how important it is, they still haven't devised an accurate way to measure a manager's or a company's ability to find, focus, and keep talented people. The few mea surements that are available—such as employee retention figures or number ofdays to fill openings orlengthy employee opinion surveys— lack precision.

They are the modern-day equivalent ofdropping a log over the side of the boat. Companies and managers know they need help. What they are asking for isa simple and accurate measuring stick thatcan tell them how well one company or one manager is doing as compared with others, in terms of finding and keeping talented people.

Without this measuring stick, many companies and many managers know they may find them selves high and dry—sure ofwhere they want togo but lacking the right people to get there. And now there is a powerful new faction on the scene, demanding this simple measuring stick: Where they lead, everyone else follows. Traditionally they focused on hard results, like return on assets and economic value added.

Most of them didn't con cern themselves with "soft" issues like "culture. At least that's the way it used to be. In a recent about-face, they have started to pay much closer attention to how companies treat their people. They have started torealize thatwhether software designer or delivery truck driver, accountant or hotel house keeper, themost valuable aspects ofjobs are now, as Thomas Stewart de scribes in Intellectual Capital, "the most essentially human tasks: Today more than ever before, if a company is bleeding people, it is bleeding value.

Investors are frequently stunned bythis discovery. They know that their current measuring sticks do a very poorjob of capturing all sources of a company's value. For example, according to Baruch Lev, professor of finance and accounting at New York University's Stern School of Business, the assets and liabilities listed on a company's bal ance sheetnow account for only 60percent ofitsrealmarket value. And this inaccuracy is increasing. In the s and s, 25 percent of the changes in a company's market value could be accounted for byfluctua tions in its profits.

Today, according to Professor Lev, that number has shrunk to 10 percent. The sources of a company's true value have broadenedbeyond rough measures of profit or fixed assets, and bean counters everywhere are scurrying to catch up. Steve Wallman, former commissioner of the Securities and Exchange Commission, describes what they are looking for: If we start to get further afield so that the financial statements The Gallup Organization set out to buildone. The Measuring Stick "How can you measure human capital?

When you walk into the building at Lankford-Sysco a few miles up the road from Ocean City, Maryland, it doesn't initially strike you as a special place.

In fact, it seems slightly odd. There's theunfamiliar smell: There's the decor: Glimpses of figures bundled up in arctic wear, lugging mysterious crates in andout of deepfreezers, onlyadd to your disquiet. But you press on, and gradually you begin to feel more at ease. The employees you run into are focused andcheerful. On the way to recep tion you pass a huge mural thatseems to depict the history ofthe place: Lankford Jr.

There's the original office building before we added the warehouse. There are dozens of them, each with an inscription underneath that lists their length of service with the company and then another number.

The number you see under eachpicture represents the amount of miles that each one drove lastyear. We like to publicize eachperson's performance. An important proviso was that Tom, Fred, and Jim would be allowed to stay on as general managers. Sysco agreed, and todayallpartiescouldn'tbe happierwiththe decision. The Lankford-Sysco facility is in the top 25percentof all Sysco facili ties in growth, sales per employee, profit per employee, and market penetration.

They have single-digit turnover, absenteeism is at an all- company low, and shrinkage is virtually nonexistent. He says there is not much to it. He is pleased with his pay-for- performance schemes—everything is measured; every measurement is posted; and every measurement has some kind of compensation at tached. But he doesn't offer that up as his secret. He says it is just daily work.

Talk about the customer. Highlight the right heroes. Treat people with respect. His voice trails off because he sees he is not giving you the secret recipe youseem to be looking for. Whatever he's doing, it clearly works for his employees. Forklift oper ators tell you about their personal best in terms of "most packages picked" and"fewest breakages. Everywhere you turn employees are talking about how their Httle part oftheworld is critical to giving the customer the quality that is now expected from Lankford-Sysco.

Here are employees, all ofwhom seem to thrill to the challenge of their work. Whatever measurements you care to use, the Lankford- Sysco facility in Pocomoke, Maryland, isa great place to work.

You will have your own examples of a work environment that seems to be firing on all cylinders. It will be a place where performance levels are consistently high, where turnover levels are low, and where a grow ing number ofloyal customers join the fold every day.

With your real-life example in mind, the question you have to ask yourself is, "What lies at the heart of this great workplace? Which ele ments will attract only talented employees andkeep them, andwhich el ements are appealing to every employee, the best, the rest, and the ROAD warriors? Perhaps the opposite is true; once their most basic financial needs have been met, perhaps talented employees care less about payand benefits than they do about being trusted by their manager.

Are companies wasting their money byinvesting in spiffier work spaces andbrighter cafeterias? Or do talented employees value a clean and safe physical environment above all else?

To buildour measuring stick, we hadto answer these questions. The Measuring Stick 27 Over the last twenty-five years the Gallup Organization has interviewed more than a million employees. We have asked each of them hundreds of different questions, on every conceivable aspect ofthe workplace. As you can imagine, one hundred million questions is a towering haystack of data. Now, we had to siftthrough it, straw by straw, and find the nee dle.

We had to pickout those few questions that were truly measuring the core of a strong workplace. This wasn't easy. If you have a statistical mind, you canprobably haz ard a pretty good guess as to how we approached it—a combination of focus groups, factor analysis, regression analysis, concurrent validity studies, and follow-up interviews.

Our research approach is described in detail in the appendix. However, if you think statistics are the mental equivalent of drawing your fingernails across a chalkboard, the following image may help you envision what we were tryingto do. In Isaac Newton closed the blinds of his house in Cambridge and sat in a darkened room. Outside, the sun shone brighdy.

Inside, Isaac cut a small hole in one of the blinds and placed a glass prism at the entrance. As the sun streamed through the hole, it hit the prism and a beautiful rainbow fanned out on the wall in front of him. Watching the perfect spectrum of colors playing on his wall, Isaac realized that the prism had pried apart the white light, refracting the colors to different degrees. He discovered that white fight was, in fact, a mixture of all the other colors in the visible spectrum, from dark red to deepest purple; and that the only way to create white light was to draw all of these different colors together into a single beam.

Wewantedour statistical analyses to perform the same trickas Isaac's prism. We wanted them to pry apart strong workplaces to reveal the core. We could then say to managers and companies, "If you can bring all of these core elements togetherin a single place, then youwill have createdthe kindofworkplace that canattract, focus, and keep the most talented employees.

Which questions were simply different ways of measuring the samefac tor? Whichwere the best questions to measureeach factor? Questions that we thought were a shoo-in—like those dealing with payand benefits—fell under the analytical knife. At the same time, in nocuous little questions—such as "Do I know what is expected of me at work? We cut and we culled. We rejigge l andreworked, digging deeper and deeper to find the core of a great workplace. When the dust finally settled, we made a discovery: Measuring the strength of a workplace can be simplified to twelve questions.

These twelve questions don't capture everything you may want to know about your workplace, but theydo capture the most information and the most important information. They measure the core elements needed to at tract, focus, andkeep the most talented employees.

Here they are: Do I know whatis expected of me at work? Do I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right? At work, do I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day? In the last seven days, have I received recognition or praise for doinggoodwork?

Does my supervisor, or someone at work, seem to care about me as a person? Is there someone at work who encourages mydevelopment? At work, do myopinions seem to count?

Are myco-workers committed to doing quality work? Do I have a best friend at work? In the last six months, has someone at work talked to me about my progress? This last year, have I hadopportunities atwork to learn andgrow? The Measuring Stick 29 These twelve questions are the simplest and most accurate way to measure the strengthof a workplace.

When we started this researchwe didn't know we were going to land on these twelve questions. But after running a hundred million ques tions through our "prism," these exact questions were revealed as the most powerful. If you can create the kind of environment where em ployees answer positively to all twelve questions, then you will have built a great placeto work.

While at first glance these questions seem rather straightforward, the more you look at them, the more intriguing theybecome. First, you probably noticed that many of the questions contain an ex treme. But this is exactly what wewanted. We wanted to find questions that would discriminate between the most productive departments and the rest. We discovered that if you removed the extreme language, the question lost much ofits power to discriminate. Everyone said "Strongly Agree"—the best, the rest, andeveryone in between.

Aquestion where everyone always answers "Strongly Agree" is a weak question. Much ofthe power ofthis measuring stick, then, lies in the wording of the questions.

The issues themselves aren't a big surprise. Most people knew, for example, that strong relationships and frequent praise were vital ingredients ofa healthy workplace.

However, they didn't know how to measure whether or not these ingredients were present, and if so, to what extent. Gallup has discovered the best questions to dojust that.

First, Break All the Rules

Second, you may be wondering why there are no questions dealing with pay, benefits, senior management, or organizational structure. There were initially, but they disappeared during the analysis. This doesn't mean they are unimportant. It simply means they are equally important to every employee, good, bad, and mediocre. Yes, if you are paying 20 percent below the market average, you may have difficulty at tracting people.

But bringing yourpayand benefits package up to mar ket levels, while a sensible first step, will not take you very far.

These lands of issues are liketickets to the ballpark—they can get youinto the game, but they can't help youwin. Putting the Twelve to the Test "Does the measuring stick link to business outcomes? If these questions were in truth the best questions, then employees who answered them positively would pre sumably work in higher-performing departments. That was our goal when we designed the measuring stick.

Would it prove to be true in practice? Throughout the spring and summer of Gallup launched a mas sive investigation to find out. We asked twenty-four different companies, representing a cross sec tion of twelve distinct industries, to provide us with scores measuring four different kinds ofbusiness outcome: Some companies had diffi culty gathering this data, but in the end we managed to include over 2, business units in our study.

The definition of a "business unit"var ied by industry: We then interviewed the employees who worked in these branches, restaurants, hotels, factories, and departments, asking them to respond to each of the twelve questions on a scale of 1 to 5, "1" being strongly disagree, "5" being strongly agree. One hundred and five thousandem ployees tookpart. Armed with all this data, we were setto go.

We knew the productivity, the profitability, the retention levels, and the customer ratings of these different business units. And we knew howthe employees of the busi ness units had answered the twelve questions. We could now see,finally, whether or not engaged employees did indeed drive positive business outcomes, across 2,business units and24 companies. We were optimistic that the links would surface, but, truth be told, it was entirely possible that we wouldn't find them.

In fact, in moststudies, if youtest one hundred employee opin ion questions, you will be lucky to find five or six that show a strong relationship to anybusiness outcome. Disappointingly, if you repeat the study, you often find that a different set of five or six questions pop up the second time around.

We also knew that no one had ever undertaken this kind of study be fore, across many different companies. Since eachof these four business outcomes—productivity, profit, retention, and customer service—is vi tally important to every company, and since the easiest leverfor a man agerto pullis the employee lever, you would have thoughtthe airwould be thick with research examining the links between employee opinion and these four business outcomes.

It isn't. You can track down research examining these links within a particular company—with decidedly mixed results—but never across companies and industries. Surprisingly, the Gallup research was the first cross-industry study to investigate the links between employee opinion and business unit performance. Why does this research vacuum exist?

First, Break All the Rules PDF Summary

More than likely it's because each company has different ways of measuring the same thing. Blockbuster Video mightmeasure productivity by sales per square foot. Lankford-Sysco might use packages shipped and number of breakages. The Walt Disney Company might include only full-time employees in their retention figures.

Marriott might include full-time and part-time. It is frustratingly difficult to pick up on linkages between employee opinionand business performance, when everycompany insists on mea suring performance differently. Fortunately we had discovered a solution: A detailed explanation can put even the most ardent number cruncher to sleep, so let's just saythat it is a statistical technique that cuts through the differ ent performance measures used by different companies and allows you to zero in on the real links between employee opinion and business unit performance.

So, having entered the performance data from over 2, business units and punched in the opiniondata from over , employees, we programmed the meta-analysis formulas, pressed Run, and held our breath.

This is what we found. This demonstrated, for the first time, the link between em ployee opinion and business unit performance, across many different companies. Second, the meta-analysis revealed that employees rated the ques tions differently depending on which business unit they worked for rather than which company.

This meant that, for the most part, these twelve opinions were being formed by the employees' immediate man ager rather than by the policies or procedures of the overall company. We had discovered that the manager—not pay, benefits, perks, or a charismatic corporate leader—was the critical player in building a strong workplace.

The manager was the key. We will discuss this finding in more detaillater in the chapter. For nowlet's concentrateon our first discovery, the link between employee opinion and business unit perfor mance. This is the top line. Most of the questions revealed links to two or more business outcomes. The twelve questions were indeed capturing those few, vital employee opinions that related to top performance, whether in a bank, a restaurant, a hotel, a factory, or anyother kindof business unit.

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The measuring stick had withstood its most rigorous test. People have always believed there is a direct link between an employee's opin ion and his work group's productivity. Nonetheless, it was good to see the numbers jibe with the theory. Puttingthe Twelve to the Test 33 Eight of the twelve questions showed a link to the "profitability" measure.

That means employees who answered these eight ques tions more positively than other employees also worked in more profitable banks, restaurants, hotels, factories, or departments. To some peoplethis might seem a little surprising. After all, many be lieve that profit is a function of factors that fie far beyond the con trol of individual employees: But the more you think about it, the more understandable this link becomes.

There are so many things one employee can do to affect profit—everything from turning off more lights, to negotiating harder on price, to avoiding the temptations of the till. Simply put, these will happen more often when each employee feels truly engaged.

What about employee retention? Strangely enough, onlyfive of the twelve questions revealed a linkto retention: Do I knowwhat is expected of me at work? Do I havethe materials and equipment I need to do mywork right? Do I have the opportunity to do what I do best everyday? At work, do my opinions seem to count? Most people would instinctively agree with the generalization "Engaged employees will stay longer. Even more than the rest, these five questions are most di rectly influenced by the employee's immediate manager.

What does this tell us? It tells us that people leave managers, not compa nies. So much moneyhas been thrown at the challenge of keeping good people—in the form of better pay, better perks, and better training—when, in the end, turnover is mostly a manager issue.

If you have a turnover problem, look first to your managers. Of the twelve, the mostpowerful questions are those with a combi nation of the strongest links to the most business outcomes. Armed with this perspective, we now know that the following six are the most powerful questions: Do I have the materials and equipmentI need to do mywork right? Do I have the opportunity to dowhat I do best every day? In the last seven days, have I received recognition or praise for goodwork?

As a manager, ifyouwantto know whatyoushould do to builda strong andproductive workplace, securing 5's to thesesix questions would be an excellent place to start. We will return to these questions in a moment. Howmuchvacation does the company provide? Does the company offer any kind of profit sharing? Is the company committed to employee training?

Companies are exam ined, and the list of the top one hundred is compiled. Our research suggests that these criteria miss the mark. It's not that these employee-focused initiatives are unimportant. It's just that your immediate manager is more important. She defines and pervades your work environment.

If she sets clearexpectations, knows you, trusts you, and invests in you, then youcan forgive the company its lackof a profit- sharing program. But if your relationship with your manager is frac tured, then no amountof in-chair massaging or company-sponsored dog walking will persuade you to stay and perform.

It is better to work for a great managerin an old-fashioned company than for a terrible manager in a companyoffering an enlightened, employee-focused culture. She wanted to get into the world of publishing, so she joined one of the media-entertainment giants in the marketing department of one of their manymagazines. She was responsible for de vising loyalty programs to ensure that subscription holders would renew. Sharon is a very small cog in this giant machine, but ac cording to the chairman of this giant, employees like her—bright, tal ented, ambitious employees—are "the fuel for our future.

After only a year Sharon is leaving the company. She is joining a restaurant start-up as head of marketing and business development. Her boss, it appears, drove her away. He's inse cure, and I don't think you can be insecure and a good manager.

It makes him compete with his ownpeople. It makes him boast about his high-style living, when he should be listening to us. And he plays these silly little power games to show us who's the boss. Like last week he didn't showup for a ten a.

He called me at nine fifty-five a. I can't stand behavior like that. So you ask her, "Does anyone else on the team feel the same way? But I do know this: When I came here there were thirteen of us on his team.

Now, a year later, everysingle one of them has left, except me. But deep within this giant, unseen by the senior executives or Wall Street, one individual is draining the company of power and value. As Sharon says, he is not a bad man, but he is a bad manager. Woefully miscast, he now spends his days chasing away one talented employee after another. Perhaps he is an exception.

Or perhaps the giant makes a habit of promoting people into manager roles who are talented individual achievers but poor managers. The giant would certainly hope for the former. But Sharon doesn't care one way or the other. When she told her company that she was considering leaving, they offered her more money and a bigger title, to try to coax her back.

But they didn't offer her what she wanted most: So she left. But it is her relationship with her immediate manager that will determine how long she stays and how productive she is while she is there.

In the end these questions tell us that, from the employee s perspective, managers trump companies. Unlike Wall Street and the business press, employees don't put their faith in the myth of "great companies" or "great leaders. Perhaps the best thing any leader can do to drive the whole company toward greatness is, first, to hold each manager accountable for what his employees say to these twelve questions, and, second, to help each manager know what actions to take to deserve "Strongly Agree" responses from his employees.

The following chaptersdescribe the actions taken by the worlds great managers. But first, a casein point: Whatdo allthese discoveries mean for a spe cific company or a specific manager?

First, Break All the Rules

A Case in Point "What do these discoveries meanfor one particular company? They em ployed thirty-seven thousand people spread across three hundred stores—about one hundred employees per store. Each one of these stores was designed and built to provide the customer with a consistent shopping experience. The building, the layout, the product positioning, the colors, every detail was honed so that the store in Adanta would have the same distinctive brand identityas the store in Phoenix. We asked each employee the twelve questions—over 75 percent of all employees chose to participate for a total of twenty-eight thousand.

We then looked at the scores for each store. The following table offers an example of what we found: We asked the questions on a scale, where "1" equals strongly disagree and "5" equals strongly agree. The numbers in the columns are the percentage of employees who responded "5" to each question.

Whatever the company was trying to do for its employees from the center, at the store level, these initiatives were being communicated andimplemented in radically different ways.

For the employees, Store A must have offered a much more engaging workexperience than Store B. Look at the different levels of relationship, for example. In Store A, 51 percent of employees said they felt cared about as a person. In Store B, that number sank to 17 percent. Given the pace of change in today's business world, one of the most valuable commodities a com panycan possess is the employees' "benefit of the doubt.

Store A possesses this precious commodity. Here the employees will tolerate ambiguity, trusting that, as events play out, their manager will be there to support them. Store B doesn't have that luxury. Lacking genuine bonds between manager and em ployee, any new initiative, no matter howwellintended, will be greeted with suspicion. How about individual performance?

In Store A, 55 percent of em ployees saidthat theyhad a chance to dowhatthey do best every day. In Store B, only 19 percent responded "5. Whereveryou look, the differences leap out at you. Store B? A quarter of that, 9 percent. Store B, only10 percent. Perhaps the most bizarre discrepancy can be found in the second question. In Store A, 45 percent of employees strongly agreed that they had the materials and equipment they needed to do their work right. In Store B, only 11 percent said "5.

Everything, even the physical environment, was colored by the store manager. This company didn't have one culture. It had as many cultures as it did managers. No matter what the company's intent, each store's culture was a unique creation of the managers and supervisors in the field.

A Case in Point 39 Some cultures were fragile, bedeviled with mistrust and suspicion. Others were strong, able to attract and keep talented employees. For this company's leaders, the wide variation in results was actually verygood news.

Yes, looking only at the negative, it meant there was a limitto what they couldcontrolfrom the center. The challenge of build ing a strong all-company culture had suddenly turned into a challenge of multiplication.

On the brighter side, however, these results revealed that this com pany was blessed with some truly exemplary managers. These man agers had built productive businesses by engaging the talents and passions of their people. In their quest to attract productive employees, this company could now stop hunting for the magical central fix. Instead they could find out what their newly highlighted cadre of bril liant managers was doing and then build their company culture around this blueprint.

They could try to hire more like their best. They could take the ideas of their best and multiply them companywide. They could redesign training programs based upon the practices of their best. To build a stronger culture, this company wouldn'thave to borrow ideas from the likes of "best practice" companies like Disney, Southwest Airlines, or Ritz-Carlton.

All they would have to do is learn from their own best. Does Store A actually outperform Store B on any of the more traditional performance measures like sales, profit, or retention? But this is too general. Like you, we wanted to knowthe specifics. Sowe askedthe company to supplyus with the rawperformancedata that theywouldnormally use to measure the productivity of a store.

We punched in these scores and then com pared them with each store's scores on the twelve questions. This is what we found: If realized, this fig ure would represent a 2. The top 25 percent of stores on the survey ended the year almost 14 per cent over their profit budget. Those stores in the bottom group missed their profit goals by a full 30 percent. Each store in the top group retained, on average, twelve more employees per year than eachstore in the bottom group.

Across both groups this means that the top 25percentscoring stores on the survey retained one thousand more employees per year than the bottom group of stores. And that's just the hard cost. The drain of experienced employees who have developed valuable relationships withtheir customers and their colleagues is harder to measure but is just as significant a loss.

These results are compelling. In this company the business units were measurably moreproductive where the employees answered posi tively to the twelve questions.

Excellent front-line managers had en gaged their employees and these engaged employees had provided the foundation for top performance. Any measuring stickworth its salt not only tellsyou where you stand, it alsohelps you decide what to do next.

Sowhat can a manager, any man ager, do to secure 5's to these twelve questions and so engage his em ployees? First youhave to know where to start. Gallup's research revealed that some questions were more powerful than others. This implies that you, the manager, should address these twelve questions in the right order. There is litde point attacking the lesser questions if you have ignored the most powerful. We will show you why, andbyway ofcontrast, wewill describe where the world's great managers start laying the foundations for a truly pro ductiveworkplace.

Mountain Climbing "Why is there an order to the twelve questions? At first it is hard to make out its full shape and color, shifting from blue togray togreen as you approach.

Butnow, standing at the base, you sense itspresence. You know there is a climb ahead. You know the climb will vary, sometimes steep, some times gradual. You know there will be gullies to negotiate, terrain that will force you to descend before you can resume your climb. You know the dangers, too, the cold, the clouds, and the most pressing danger of all, your own fragile will.

But then you think ofthe summit and how you will feel, so youstart to climb. You know this mountain. We all do. It is the psychological climb you make from the moment you take on a new role to the moment you feel fully engaged in that role.

At the base ofthe mountain, perhaps you are joining a new company. Perhaps you have just been promoted to a new role within the same company.

Either way you are atthe start ofa long climb. At the summit of this mountain you are still in the same role—the mountain doesn't represent a career climb—but you are loyal and pro ductive in this role. Youare the machinist who bothers to write down all the little hints and tips you have picked up so that you can present them as an informal manual to apprentice machinists just learning their craft. You are the grocery store clerk who tells the customer that the grape fruit are in aisle five but who then walks her to aisle five, explaining that the grapefruit are always stocked from the back tothe front.

Whatever your role, at the summit ofthis mountain you are good at what you do, you know the fundamental purpose ofyour work, and you are always looking for better ways to fulfill that mission.

You are fully engaged. How did you get there? He will be able to help more and more individuals reach the summit. The more individuals he can help move up the mountain, one by one, the stronger the workplace.

So how did you get there? How did you make the chmb? Put on your employee hat for a moment. This may be a psychological mountain, but aswithan actual mountain, you have to chmb it in stages. Read in the right order, the twelve questions can tell you which stage is which and exactly what needs must be met before you can continue your climb up to the next stage.

Before we describe the stages on the climb, think back to the needs you had when you were first starting your current role. What did you want from the role? What needs were foremost in your mind at that time? Then, as time passed and you settled in, how did your needs change? And currently, what are your priorities? What do you need from your role today?

You may want to keep these thoughts in mind as we describe the stages on the climb. Base Camp: You want to know what is going to be expected ofyou. How much are you going to earn? How long will your commute be? Will you have an office, a desk, even a phone?

At this stage you are asking, "What do I get? Of the twelve, these two fundamental questions measure Base Camp: Do I know what is expected of me at work? DoI have the materials and equipment I need todomy work right? Camp 1: Your perspective changes. You start asking different questions. You want to know whether you are any good at the job. Are you in a role where you can excel?

Do other people think you are excelling? If not, what do they think about you? Will they help you? At this stage your questions center around "What do I give? At work, doI have theopportunity todo what I dobest every day?

Is there someone atwork who encourages my development? Each ofthese questions helps you know not only if you feel you are doing well in the role Q3 , butalso ifother people value your individ ual performance Q4 , ifthey value you as aperson Q5 , and ifthey are prepared to invest inyour growth Q6. These questions all address the issue of your individual self-esteem and worth.

As we will see, if these questions remain unanswered, all of your yearnings to belong, to be come part of a team, to learn and to innovate, will be undermined. Camp 2: By now you've asked some difficult questions, of yourself and of others; and the answers have, hopefully, given you strength.

Your perspective widens. You look around and ask, "Do I be long here? Orperhaps you define yourself by your creativity—are you surrounded bypeople who push the envelope, as you do? Whatever your basic value system happens tobe, atthis stage ofthe chmb you really want to know ifyou fit.

These four questions measure Camp 2: Are my co-workers committed to doing quality work? Camp 3: At this stage you are impa tientfor everyone to improve, asking, "How can we all grow? This stage tells us thatonly after you have climbed up and through the earlier threestages can you innovate effectively.

Because there is a difference be tween "invention" and "innovation. But these ideas didn't carry any weight. By contrast, innovation is novelty that can be applied. And you can innovate, you can apply your new ideas, only ifyou are focused on the right expectations Base Camp , ifyou have confidence in your own expertise Camp 1 , and ifyou are aware ofhow your new ideas will beaccepted orrejected by the people around you Camp 2.

Ifyou can not answer positively to all these earlier questions, then you will find it almost impossible to apply all your new ideas. These two questions measure Camp 3: In the last six months, has someone at work talked to me about myprogress? This last year, have I had opportunities atwork to learn and grow? In this longtime management bestseller, Gallup presents the remarkable findings of its massive in-depth study of great managers.

Some were in leadership positions. Others were front-line supervisors. Some were in Fortune companies; others were key players in small, entrepreneurial firms. Whatever their circumstances, the managers who ultimately became the focus of Gallup's research were those who excelled at turning each individual employee's talent into high performance.

Gallup has found that the front-line manager is the key to attracting and retaining talented employees. This book explains how the best managers select an employee for talent rather than for skills or experience, set expectations, build on each person's unique strengths rather than trying to fix his or her weaknesses, and get the best performance out of their teams. And perhaps most important, Gallup's research produced the 12 simple statements that distinguish the strongest departments of a company from all the rest.

First, Break All the Rules is the first book to present this essential measuring stick and to prove the link between employee opinions and productivity, profit, customer satisfaction and the rate of turnover. First, Break All the Rules presents vital performance and career lessons for managers at every level -- and best of all, shows you how to apply them to your own situation.

The mission of Gallup Press is to educate and inform the people who govern, manage, teach and lead the world's 7 billion citizens. Each book meets Gallup's requirements of integrity, trust and independence and is based on Gallup-approved science and research. The impressive Gallup Press catalog consists of more than 30 books on topics such as leadership, strengths, education, jobs and well-being.

DANIAL from California
I relish reading novels rudely . Look through my other articles. I have a variety of hobbies, like wingsuit flying.