The Thing You Need to Know
The Thing You Need to Know
About Great Managing, Great Leading and Sustained Individual Success
Marcus Buckingham, author of the best selling business books (co-written with Gallup’s Don Clifton) First Break All the Rules and Now Discover Your Strengths, breaks one of the rules and does indeed discover his own strength and puts it to good use. The One Thing is really three things! Buckingham gives us one thing each about managing, leading and succeeding. His strength is in distilling management double speak and corporate yakity yak into simple understandable language and phrases. Feeling let down by Curly’s philosophical utterance in the movie City Slickers, Buckingham carefully dissects current success management, leadership and rhetoric into that one thing we were never told in the movie.
1. Great managers discover what is unique about an individual and capitalize on it.
2. Great leaders rally people to a better future.
3. Sustained individual success is enhanced by discovering what you donít like doing and stop doing it.
There you go, 285 pages reduced to three sentences ñ three one things. Read the book if you want the case studies, the stories and the research that supports this thin sliced version of what is certainly a more complex subject. His engaging style and easy to read examples help us believe it is possible to improve our skills as well.
When a Walgreen’s store manager finds the talent within a Gothic-looking hire and transforms him to a very valuable asset, it is finding and capitalizing on a unique skill set. The person’s performance improves and the store is more successful and the shareholders gain. This focus echoes the message: Now discover your strengths. Most people and most managers spend their time trying to fix what is wrong. Buckingham pleads his case and supports it with research that we should just do more of what we like and are good at. It is the one thing management should focus on. Discovering the unique abilities and leverage them.
Clarity of leadership messages and passion, support the rally cry toward the future for great leadership. When a Boron mine CEO strove to make his company the absolutely safest in the industry after an accident, the groundswell of clarity and future focus of the image was undeniable. They did become the safest and the most profitable. The carryover from the rallying cry was engaging at both an emotional and financial level. Caring leaders were better to work for and with in a risky business. Belief that the future held safety and promise of reward created homogenicity of purpose and contagious enthusiasm for the company and their work. It’s another win for the shareholders as well.
Although good in sales, Myrtle was intrigued by the broader business questions surrounding pharmaceutical products and their marketing. She was glued to a sales track at Merck and was destined for regional management in that regard. Every time she was offered a promotion within sales, she turned it down, waiting and hoping (and no doubt lobbying) for a broader focus that would include a foray into market research, pricing and business development. Reluctantly they threw her a bone. She was asked to join a team putting together a joint venture with Astra for an acid reflux drug that was selling so poorly that there was a deadline for it’s turn around or it would be dropped. Myrtle took Prilosec from a few hundred thousand dollars in sale to the highest selling drug in the world at just more than $4 billion dollars annually. Once shed of her sales role, she blossomed doing more of what she was truly good at, something for which she had a passion. By discovering what she did not like to do, sustained individual success was achieved. And once again, the share gain is measurable.
One Thing is a quick meaningful read. I do not believe these roles and objectives can be so simplified that we can really just do one thing. But when we seek answers, we must start somewhere. This is a good place to start. It’s not a how-to book (perhaps that will follow), rather more of a what-to book. These three one things can be applied to dental practices, dental laboratories and businesses across a broad spectrum. It even applies to our relationship with our client customer. If you capitalize on your staff’s individual strengths, rally them to a better future and stop doing what you dislike, life would be pretty good. Think of that next time you start a molar endodontic therapy or invest and flask a denture. There is a better future in doing what you like, helping other succeed and being future oriented. Just step up, pay the price and take it! It will make all the difference.