The One Thing You Need to Know… About Great Managing, Great Leading and Sustained Individual Success – Marcus Buckingham (Part 1)

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This is a review summary of The One Thing You Need to Know… About Great Managing, Great Leading and Sustained Individual Success book written by Marcus Buckingham.  Buckingham is a British-American New York Times best selling author, researcher, motivational speaker and business consultant.  He is best known for what he calls strengths, not only discovering your strengths and cultivating them but to thrive you must discover what you don’t like and stop doing it.  Buckingham’s book offers a new way to understand the art of success and further offers essential performance and career lessons for business people at any career stage.  He writes that success comes to those who remain mindful of the core insight, understand its ramifications and originate decisions around it.

Many speakers are unsure how effective their speeches are.  People want to get down to the heart of the matter and get to the core.  This book is focused on three roles as manager, leader and individual performer, which are the most critical to achieving something significant in your life to sustain and expand achievements.  What is the one thing to know about great managing – to get the best performance from people you must be able to execute a number of different roles very well.  What is the one thing to know about great leading – it requires being achievement oriented.  What is the one thing to know about individual sustained success – the key is being able to filter all the possibilities and fasten onto those few that allow a person to express the best of oneself.  Insights that are most useful are the ones that help a person know which of their actions will have the most far reaching influence in virtually every situation.  A controlling insight must guide action and point to precise things that can be done more efficiently.  Three criteria for identifying controlling insights are:  it must apply across a wide range of situations, serve as the multiplying factor that elevates average to excellent, and it must lead to more precise actions.

We live in a world of excess access which we can find whatever, whenever we want.  This instant access can be overwhelming.  It requires us to focus and to be able to focus well is to be able to filter well.  We must learn to excel at filtering the world and distinguishing between what is important and what is imperative.

Sustained organisational success.  Everyone is fascinated by leadership.  Leadership is the secret source that leads to innovation and initiative.  The conventional wisdom is that every employee should be a leader.  Reference to “level five” leaders are those who work hard to achieve a goal more quietly than others.  And not everyone is a leader nor can they play a leader as leadership requires natural talents.

How do roles of managers and leaders differ.  All great managers excel at turning one person’s talent into performance to achieve a company’s goal.  The starting point is finding each employee’s talent and making them more productive.  A manager’s primary goal is to make the employee believe in their success.  A great manager knows they have no choice and to do their job they must start with an employee’s feeling and their success is paramount.  Most managers have a coaching talent and will figure out how to make an employee succeed.  Each new victory will provide the fuel needed to continue coaching.  On the flip side, if you don’t possess a coaching instinct, these roles will not seem common.  Buckingham admits he is not a natural coach – he is a focused person and likes to work on one assignment to the next and get things done.  People seem to always be in a work-in-progress and he couldn’t see the improvements nor did they register.  Excellence in managing wasn’t for Buckingham even though he consults about it and admits he was not a good manager.

Great leaders show initiative, creativity, courage and integrity.  An effective leader may also be competitive, achievement oriented and a good coach, but these are not the characters that make an effective leader.  A leader is restless for change, impatient for progress and dissatisfied with the status quo.  A leader is never satisfied with the present because in their head they can see a better future.  Leadership propels a person forward like a superintendent, a sports coach or a minister that possess talents to coach others to success and optimism and things can get better.  Nothing will undermine their faith that things will get better.  The best leaders are clear on addressing challenges and focusing ahead.  However, many of the most effective leaders are quite reserved.

Part 2 will follow in the next few days! 🙂

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