first, break all the rules (skills/knowledge talent series)

as usual, it’s been a long time i’m putting off writing down my ‘very important thoughts’ about the the book, ‘first, break all the rules: what the world’s greatest managers do differently’ by marcus buckingham and curt coffman. too long that i forgot the nitty gritty details of the book. but anyhoo, nobody can stop me from blurting my important thoughts.

it’s a management book. and, do not worry, i have no plans of becoming a manager. i want to rule, not manage. =) hehe

anyhoo, what made me finish the book is how it debunks a lot of the traditional ‘management thoughts’ and even how we perceive corporate life, talents, skills, being a manager/employee, and even as a person.

this book somehow made me understand more about myself, appreciate myself, my shortcomings, my ‘why-am-i-like-this’ quirkiness.

thoughts that interest me in the book:
* the difference of skills/knowledge/talents.
     – skills and knowledge can be taught.
     – talent is not. talent is your filter, quoted “talents are the four-lane highways, those that curve your recurring patterns of thought, feeling, or behavior. talent is a combination of genetic predisposition, and how synaptic connections in our brain are strengthened as we grow.

for example myself, i realized that i really do not have the skills/knowledge on writing. my grammar is mediocre average, my knowledge on different styles of writing is nada. my talent is not really about writing. according to my pschoanalysis, my talent is making a mountain of anthills. i’m good on trying to write down the exaggerations of life, of making drama of little things. my talent is ‘seeing’ the drama in boring tasks as if it’s the next big thing. in short, i’m OA — and, this is because how i am filtered, how my brains are wired to react to things. =)and, proud to say that you probably do not have that talent. or if you have it, you might think it’s not a talent. but i demanded that it should be or else i’m down to zero.

anyway, let’s move on to a ‘real’ talent. following is quoted from tabong, the photographer, when i made him to write down how he got started. and, i guess his statements below summarizes skills/knowledge and talent.

“Ang kanindoton sa colours sa foliage og flowers sa background sa composition og ka natural sa portrait sa subject nga ako na achieve maoy nakahatag og insperasyon. I then realized nga I have the talent sa photography. Nisamot ang ako interest when my brother brother working in Singapore gave me 2 books as presents. The Art of Colour Photography by John Hedgecoe & a technical book, booth help me understand a lot kon unsa ang photography.

I really enjoy kay ang amo mga housemaids are very willing to pay for the expenses sa cost  sa prints (mahal kaayo at that tym magpraktis og photography while a student). So I was trained sa portrait nga during that time lisod ang mga camera settings kay semi-automatic ang functions, in other words, you have to memorize all the numeric values sa aperture & speed compensation to achieve a good exposure in a given light situation.”

for a person like me who does not really gets the thing about photography, i could not bring myself to describe photography this way, shameless plug: please do go to tabong’s website.

so you might like to introspect, and you might discover those talents within you that you snob for a long time.

in this line, the book debunks that mass hiring for customer support is a failure. the thinking that with enough training and hi-tech equipments, you can make best customer supports out of all the applicants.the thing is customer service relationship is a talent. there are people who are just not wired to handle irate callers, while there are people who gets a high in handling irate customers — they take pleasure on how they can calm down irate callers. they have a way of connecting to customers that the customer on the other end can feel the difference.

and so this goes with housekeeping. housekeeping is a talent. a lot of people are complaining about always replacing househelps, or inefficient househelps. it’s because, it’s not about simply teaching them how to cook, clean, babysit. it’s a talent. a probably overlooked, underrated talent. it always amazes me how ‘ate mona’ can cook, clean, and babysit the kids, alone at times, and still manage to chatter about abs-cbn dramas, of how lousy wowowee without willie, or the latest chismis in the neighborhood. it always amazes me how she can quickly move and react when one of my kids pukes, get choked while i froze. it amazes how she can cook an entire fiesta menu without a sweat. it amazes me how she can easily can calm down and put my kids to sleep. (this already sounds like an ode to ‘ate mona’ but i beleive she deserves it) you think you can learn that in 6 months from caregiving?

in the book, they ask how the best chambermaids of hotel do their work. and some of them answered, that after they clean the room, they lie down on bed, turn on the celing fan, and see if there are no more dusts. when asked why they do that because according to them, they imagine that the first thing a guest would do is lie down on bed and turn on the ceiling fan. and, so that is talent. for any ordinary people, do you ever think of doing that?

and, so another thought that books debunk is that just because someone is a good customer support service/graphics designer/teacher/waiter/sales person, it does not necessarily mean that he should be promoted and be a manager. manager is a total different set of talents already. when you do this, you are actually promoting somene to inefficiency. but this is probably how all companies/busines organizations work. for someone to get a raise/promotion, he needs to have his self promoted.

a customer support who loves the interaction he has with the customers — if you are going to promote him to be a manager, you are taking him away from the very thing that he is very good at, and which give him utmost satisfaction. this can be the reason why people got burn out while they climb the corporate ladder.

same with very good teachers. very good teachers are very good at relating with students, in classroom actions. when you promote him to be a principal, you take him away from what he loves most — it’s like crippling him. managing teachers is definitely a different ball game for him already which would just lead to feeling of dissatisfaction.

and, i guess we are no exception. sometimes, we put ourselves in this kind of situation — promoting ourself to inefficiency. sorry, i run out of examples. i no longer want to use myself as an example because it’s getting boring already. but just to make a quick note, i kind of hate myself for not learning the grammar rules and having such a bad choice of words in my ‘posts.’ but then, on the other thought, that’s probably what makes my ‘work’ so me. grammars and wordings are for boring editors. (hehe. peace)

the point of the book is that the role of managers is to find one’ person’s talent, and foster it. it’s not his role to teach you new talent, and erased your weak areas to the point of just frustrating both the employee and manager.

this applies to ourselves, on how we manage us. some of us tend to nitpick on our weaknesses that we lose focus on what we are really good at in the first place. =)

and, as a mother, this made me realize that really, i should not sweat about my kids weaknesses,and monster side. of working hard on curbing my kids’ monster tendencies because they have probably 1001 angelness in them. =) and, if they are maldita/maldito (not the criminal kind ha), well, i’d just like to think that that’s what give them spunk factor.=)

and, so please mothers, have pity on your kids. if you can afford to take chances, ayaw tawon dayon pa nursing-a kon wa sila’y talent in wiping another person’s arses. =) you do not want to promote your kids to inefficiency.

wow. i so love my thoughts!