On May 4, 2019, during the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby, someone broke the rules – it was the winner, Maximum Security who was disqualified for interfering with other horses around the final turn. The second horse, Country House, was declared the final winner. It was the first time in the history of the Derby that a horse had been disqualified for an on-track infraction. They broke the rules.
But Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman in their book First, Break all the Rules, say it is OK to break the rules. How so?
The authors, writing on behalf of the Gallup organization, suggest that all great managers routinely break all the rules. They take conventional wisdom about human nature and managing people and turn it upside down. As I think back to my business school days in the 1960s, and my first management experience, it is clear that what Buckingham and Coffman suggest is a break from the wisdom of the 1960s.
This first segment, (Part I), provides their “new measuring stick”, and it is an assessment of the strength of the workplace. If each of these twelve questions can be answered affirmatively by the employee, the manager has a strong workplace. It is the managers responsibility to make sure they can answer ‘yes’. The four measures (see Part II) of success are totally dependent on an affirmative and emphatic response to these:
- Do I know what is expected of me at work?
- Do I have the equipment and material 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 good work?
- Does my supervisor or someone at work seem to care about me as a person?
- Is there someone at work who encourages my development?
- At work, do my opinions seem to count?
- Does the mission/purpose of my company make me feel my work is important?
- Are my co-workers committed to doing quality work?
- Do I have a best friend at work?
- In the last six months, have I talked to someone about my progress?
- This last year, have I had opportunities at work to learn and grow?
One of IBEC’s clients credits its development of some of these for its success. Over the last six years, PhotoUp has grown from just a handful of employees to about 250. One of the primary reasons for this positive impact is their commitment to their people. PhotoUp’s ability to integrate employee development programs into the culture of the organization has allowed for vertical growth for many of the employees. Check out this blog on PhotoUp if you missed it earlier this year.
Virginia was an intern at Olive Technology in India. This company, committed to the principles of Business as Mission, sees excellence as mandatory in all that it does. Virginia was a communications intern, and spent her time analyzing internal and external communication. Then, she developed an action plan which she presented to the board. She would tell you that she observed most, if not all of the twelve points cited by Buckingham and Coffman.
See Part II next week
Larry Sharp, Director of Training, IBEC Ventures