Success books, there are thousands of them. Some written by quacks who would not know self from help but a few written by people whose works stand the test of time. Developing a habit of daily readings of self help books does make a difference as borne out by personal testimonials. Check out my handpicked selection of self help books.
But could it be that some insights are more valuable than others. Is there really a differentiating insight or strategy that can make a difference of several orders of magnitude if implemented. Or is that an elusive holy grail that can be never found. Is it our intellectual laziness that makes us desire the one thing.
Marcus Bucknigham takes this challenge head on in his book, “The One Thing You Need To Know”. His stand is rather counterintuitive. We do not have to strive to be a good all rounder. In case you think we are as weak as our weakest area Marcus says that actually focussing on key areas will make you stronger in other areas.
Another age old question also gets answered in his book. Are leaders born or can they be made. Sadly for any leader wannabe, leaders are born. They cannot be made.
He first defines the 3 factors that are important to achieve anything significant in life. He then does a deep dive into each one of these to mine the one critical insight, the game changer. He calls this the controlling insight.
His list of 3 important factors for significant achievementt - managing, leading and sustained individual success.
His definition for a controlling insight:
- Applies to a wide range of situations and people
- Leads to performance that is several orders of magnitude better
- Has precise instructions in order to be easily implementable
Analyzing research in the field of social sciences he presents controlling insights in each of the three areas required that contribute to significant achievement. These are not mutually exclusive, a person can excel in each of the 3 roles. In order for that to happen he needs to be aware of what role he is performing at the moment.
It is important to clarify that his definition of a controlling insight is not a magic bullet. For the controlling insight to be effective there must exist in the person a few key basic qualities. For e.g in order to become a great manager you must first not be a miserable manager.
You need to have the following 4 qualities in order to merely not fail as a manager:
- Hire great people
- Set clear expectations
- Provide immediate praise and recognition
- Show genuine care for your people
Don’t be misled by the warm and fuzzy. These are based on data driven research.
Now that you know what to do in order to merely survive as a ho hum manager are you ready for the ray of enlightenment for becoming a great manager? It is this:
“Discover a unique quality about a person and then capitalize it”
There that is it. 11 words that distill the wisdom of great managing.
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