Thursday, September 08, 2005

Notes from Marcus Buckingham’s “The One Thing You Need to Know”

I really resonated to this book, especially now as I've broadened the scope of my authority at work. Here are my notes.

"To excel as a manager you must never forget that each of your direct reports is unique and that your chief responsibility is not to eradicate this uniqueness, but rather to arrange roles, responsibilities, and expectations so that you can capitalize upon it."

"To excel as a leader requires the opposite skill. You must become adept at calling upon those needs we all share. Our common needs include the need for security, for community, for authority, and for respect, but, for you, the leader, the most powerful universal need is our need for clarity. To transform our fear of the unknown into confidence in the future, you must discipline yourself to describe our joint future vividly and precisely."

"...sustained success depends on your ability to cut out of your working life those activities, or people, that pull you off your strengths' path. Your leader can show you clearly your better future. Your manager can draft you on to the team and cast you into the right role on the team. ...it will always be your responsibility to make the small but significant course corrections that allow you to sustain your highest and best contribution to this team, and to the better future it is charged with creating."

Average managers play checkers. Great managers play chess.

In the happiest couples, the husband rated the wife more positively than she did (herself) on every single quality (like open, warm, patient, etc.)

Find the most generous explanation for each other's behavior and believe it.

Not everyone can be a leader.

No matter what the situation, (the first response of a great manager) is to think about the individual concerned and how things can be arranged to help that individual experience success.

Great leaders rally people to a better future.

Discover what is unique about each person and capitalize on it.

The three great levers:
  • Strengths and weaknesses - the most influential qualities of a person are innate and that the essence of management is to deploy these...qualities as effectively as possible and so drive performance - overconfidence is not the problem - self-awareness drives performance - unrealistic self-assessment actually stimulates performance, but the person has to have a healthy respect for the challenge/difficulty of the task - the person should have a fully realistic assessment of the difficult of the challenge ahead, and, at the same time, an unrealistically optimistic belief in his ability to overcome it
  • Triggers - recognition, praise, "being on someone's case," etc.
  • Style of learning - analyzing, doing, watching

How do you identify the levers?
  • What was the best/worst day at work you've had in the last three months?
  • What were you doing?
  • Why did you enjoy it/did it grate on you so much?

What was the best relationships with a manager you've ever had? What made it work so well?

When in your career do you think you were learning the most? Why did you learn so much? What's the best way for you to learn?

Leading - discover what is universal and capitalize on it

Five fears, five needs, one focus
  • Fear of death/the need for security
  • Fear of the outsider/the need for community
  • Fear of the future/the need for clarity
  • Fear of chaos/the need for authority
  • Fear of insignificance/the need for respect]

To inspire confidence, be clear

Points of clarity:
  • Who do we serve?
  • What is our core strength?
  • What is our core score?
  • What actions can we take today?

Disciplines:
  • Take time to reflect
  • Select your heroes with great care
  • Practice

Discover what you don't like doing and stop doing it

Sustained success means making the greatest possible impact over the longest period of time

You will NOT learn the most in your areas of weakness

You will not feel most energized and challenged when focusing on your flaws

Discover your strengths and cultivate them

If you are bored, chances are you're deep interests are not engaged
If you are unfulfilled, chances are that your values are not engaged
If you are frustrated, chances are your strengths are not in play
If you are drained, chances are your job requires strength where you have weakness - find someone else to do the thing that drains you

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