Break All the Rules [summary]


  1. do i know what to do?
  2. do I have the tools?
  3. can I do my best?
  4. – do I get praise?
  5. – does someone care about me?
  6. – does someone encourage me?
  7. – do my opinions matter?
  8. does company mission make my job meaningful?
  9. are coworkers commited to quality?
  10. do I have a best friend?
  11. in 6 months, have we talked about my progress?
  12. in last 1 year, have I seen growth opportunities?

Apart from word usage, effective communication combines some major skills including

  • engaged listening,
  • nonverbal communication,
  • management of stress at the moment, and
  • assertion of self in a respectful way. (Principles of marketing, 2010)

Collateral is printed or digital material salespeople use to support their message. It can consist of brochures, position papers, case studies, clinical studies, market studies, and other documents. (Principles of marketing, 2010)

  • select for talent, not experience, intelligence, or determination
  • set expectations by setting outcomes, not processes
  • motivate by highlighting strengths, not weaknesses
  • develop an employee for the right fit, not for the next rung on the ladder.

AIDA model: attention, interest, desire, action.

So what is tough love? How does it work? The “tough” part is easy to explain. Because great managers use excellence as their frame of reference when assessing performance, Tough love simply implies that they do not compromise on this standard.

I should work for the benefit of others. Even QA – they think they do important work, so let them think this way. Let me be an instrument in helping them feel better about their work, to do the work better.

To “care” means to “set the person up for success.”

Customer satisfaction is: (1) accuracy, (2) availability, (3) partnership, and (4) advice.

The University of Minneapolis textbook is very good. Some things in it are not enough detailed, some are wrong (for example, the customer satisfaction segment is uneventful. I drew so much more inspiration from “First, break all the rules”. That book said, the customer satisfaction has four components to it: (1) the offering must be accurate, e.g. if the toothpaste claims to clean teeth, it should clean teeth; (2) the offering must be available and timely, e.g. if I’m going to a restaurant to eat, there should be a table ready for me; (3) the offering must give the customer a sense of partnership with the company, e.g. I have a portable espresso maker and I really enjoy that it was invented and that I have it, it improves my life; and (4) the offering should advise the customer on how to improve her life (and that is the point of most products, to improve customer life). E.g., amazon advices on products, and google maps advices on best driving routes. (Buckingham, Coffman, 2016). Given these four principles, the customer should be satisfied. It is understandable also that partnership and advice are advanced topics, and the company’s profitability may come before that. I think this is a deeper insight than what the bus 5112 textbook said, which was basically, “customer should be satisfied.”

Investing in their best was, first, the fairest thing to do; second, the best way to learn; and, third, the only way to stay focused on excellence.

There are only three possible routes to helping the person succeed. Devise a support system. Find a complementary partner. Or find an alternative role.

Broadbanding is a vital weapon in the arsenal of great managers. (This has to do with pay structure.)

The Four Keys (again):

  1. select for talent
  2. define the right outcomes
  3. focus on strengths
  4. find the right fit

When interviewing for talent, ask open-ended questions:

  • How closely do you think people should be supervised?
  • What do you enjoy most about selling?
  • Tell me about a time you overcame resistance to your ideas
  • How do you feel when someone doubts what you have to say?

Recent research into adult learning reveals that students stay in school longer and learn more if they are expected to direct and record their progress. These four characteristics—simplicity, frequent interaction, focus on the future, and self-tracking—are the foundation for a successful “per formance management” routine.

The strengths 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 it 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 help?
  10. Is there anything else you want to talk about that might help us work well together?

Performance Planning Meeting

  • What actions have you taken?
  • What discoveries have you made?
  • What partnerships have you built?

Then, direct the discussion towards the future:

  • What is your main focus?
  • What new discoveries are you planning?
  • What new partnerships are you hoping to build?

If you hate your job, it’s probably due to your manager. Not the benefits, perks, or the work itself.

We have said that an employee may join a company because of its prestige and reputation, but that his relationship with his immediate man ager determines how long he stays and how productive he is while he is there. We have said that the manager is the critical player in turning each employee’s talent into performance. We have said that managers trump companies.

Tight Feedback Loops in Agile Management

The importance of feedback loops in agile management and development

I deal in technology a lot, so my monologue on the topic is technology-centric.

There are several feedback loops that are worth looking over. (1) The feedback from developer to manager; (2) the feedback from user to developer.

It’s worth noting that the closer/tighter the feedback loop is, the more value it brings. Being able to expose errors and omissions, from user back to the developer who actually fixes the problem – the faster it happens, the less time is wasted, the faster overall development takes place.