Monday, June 16, 2008

Book Review: "First, Break All The Rules"

Overall rating: 3.5 out of 4 stars

(Note: Most of the posts on this site cover mental health, legal, media, forgiveness, and spiritual topics.  This book doesn't really address any of these, but I did read it, and it is a good book, so here is a short review.)

This book was written in 1999 by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman of The Gallup Organization.  It is basically some conclusions from extensive research on what the best managers do, including:
  • Understand that each person has special talents (recurring patterns of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors) that can not be taught
  • Help people recognize and develop their talents
  • Select and place people based on their talents
  • Define the right outcomes (describe excellence) and allow people to achieve those outcomes in their own way
  • Measure performance against outcomes
  • Expect the best from people
  • Complement or support missing talents
The book also includes some guidelines for customer satisfaction that I find to be very interesting.  The customer satisfaction hierarchy is:
  1. Accuracy
  2. Availability (there when needed)
  3. Partnership (we are in it together)
  4. Advice
These build advocate customers who are very loyal.

It is also important that a company provide a framework for personal growth and management by creating heroes in every role, defining measured levels of performance, and having overlapping pay bands.

One important thing that I learned from this book is that it is better to build on strengths than it is to shore up weaknesses.  How can we ever excel if we spend our time developing our weaknesses rather than our talents?  Why struggle with something that we are not good at when there is someone else with the exact talents needed who could do it instead?

Here is a simple example: I am better with numbers than I am with words, and I occasionally work with engineers who do not speak English.  Should I take the time to learn their language?  No!  Instead, I should focus on enhancing my technical knowledge (my talent) and rely on an interpreter who is better with words (his talent).

How should we spend our time?  How can we be happy in our work?  How should we work together in an interdependent community?  How can we achieve excellence?  To me, this book helps answer these questions by encouraging us all to focus on developing and using our talents.


Mere said...

That sounds like a good book! I know several people who would totally benefit from it! I will pass on the title! Thanks for sharing!!

<3, Meredith

Anonymous said...

Hi, Rusty.

I haven't read the book.

I actually tried e-mailing this to your e-mail address (less public that way) via your website, but was unsuccessful.

I just wanted to say my heart goes out to you and Andrea on the loss of your children.

I had read numerous articles on the case years back and was in deep grief, and shock. Today, I saw the case presented on E! True Hollywood Story and was mortified at both the system and your actions. Andrea clearly had a background of mental illness.

You should be ashamed for being so selfish and not helping your wife when you clearly knew there was a problem. You divorced her before she was even through with the court system. Whatever happened to "in sickness and in health, til death do us part"? (It's a Christian thing).

Even though your insurance wouldn't pay for it, you should have spent the money to have her properly hospitalized / treated. You worked at NASA. God knows you had the money. You were living out of a bus, for goodness sake, so there shouldn't have been any mortgage payments.

Living in a bus with 4 - 5 screaming children would probably stress most people out, but with someone with a mental illness, that's just asking for trouble.

Sounds like the Indian doctor (towards the end, after multiple treatments) was an idiot. Surprised he didn't get sued. He should have been. Complicity to capital murder. He was amply forewarned.

I understand your need to move on, but I am still not happy with your actions.

You could have at least supported Andrea through her trials before divorcing.

Also, I hope this is exaggeration, the rumors are now flying that you are a Scientologist (like Tom Cruise, who doesn't believe in post-partum depression, etc. and thinks that medications are never needed). I pray that it is just rumor.

I do, honestly, wish you and your new wife the best. I just hope you can be more compassionate and proactive in the future.

You could be a great voice for the mental illness cause!

Best wishes,

Dr. K

I, too, have been previously (2006) diagnosed as being mentally ill, out of the blue.

I would be extremely curious to know what your wife was finally diagnosed with...(Schizophrenia, bipolar 1 or 2..., etc.) Don't tell me if it's private. The reason I am curious is because some of my symptoms were very similar to hers. It is always informative to know the stories of others who are afflicted with the same thing. Thought that there were cameras filming me everywhere I went... work, car, house, and, yes, ultimately jail. I showed off for the cameras and got into a heap of legal trouble.

Fortunately, I thought the cameras were from hollywood producers and God.

God bless you and I wish you the best!

Anonymous said...

My heart continues to go out to your family. Hope all is well.

Anonymous said...

I totally disagree with what so called Dr. K said in his or her comment. You did what you felt you had to do. I could never forgive anyone for killing my children. I wouldn't care how sick they would be unforgiveable.

Anonymous said...

Hi Rusty - would love to hear how Andrea is doing and see you update your blog! thank you,

CageQueen said...

I have learned a lot about you and your wife through this blog and may have even changed some of my opinions. I wish you'd return to blogging.

Sandra H. said...

I worked in a mental health institution. I have seen and treated many severely sick people with psychotherapy.
This "Dr. K" is an idiot. Pay no attention to what that jerk said. I believe Andrea was very sick and "fell through the cracks". That MD "Saaed whathisname" should lose his medical license. He never should have taken her off of haldol since it seemed to work the best for her.
I don't believe you should suffer for the rest of your life for what Andrea did. What she did is unforgivable and you deserve to have happiness and peace in your life. You did nothing wrong. What happened was in NO WAY your fault at all! Don't let anyone ever tell you otherwise.