The Basics Aren’t Sexy but Help Get the Right Things Done

Powerful, effective ideas don’t have to be based on fancy jargon or complex theories.  The basics often work quite well.  That’s the major takeaway from the short book:  Plugged: Dig out & get the right things done.

It’s in the same genre as two other books:  Who Moved My Cheese?: An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life; and Our Iceberg Is Melting: Changing and Succeeding Under Any Conditions.  All three books created short, fictional stories and characters to dramatize and illustrate ideas and principles about business, leadership, change and collaboration.
Plugged (114 pages) uses a sports them (golf) to set the framework for dramatizing its teaching points, but even non-sports fans will appreciate the central lesson/reminder:  Prioritize, Adapt and be Responsible (PAR):
  • Prioritize.  Focus on what matters most.
  • Adapt.  See change as an opportunity.
  • Be Responsible.  Take ownership of the outcome.

There’s been such a focus on and even celebration of multitasking that I wonder if the capability to prioritize and recognize when to marshal special resources to achieve critical tasks is getting less attention than it deserves.

For example, I loved this scene in Plugged:  in the midst of his company’s problem-solving, crisis mode, the Vice President of Production tells the Acting President he can’t go see the company’s number one customer tomorrow because it conflicts with his staff meeting and his status report that’s due the day after!

While this incident was, of course, written for effect, this stuff really does happen.  I remember a time early in my career at Unilever when I needed to focus on a priority, strategic presentation but my Brand Manager boss wanted me to handle some routine task that was due.  It took the stepping-in of our Director to reinforce priorities and save the day.

Here are three great take-aways from Plugged, that while simple, are so true and valuable:

  • “The bottom line: don’t be incredibly busy doing nonproductive things.”
  • “Business leaders need to paint the picture for employees to help overcome the natural resistance to change. How? Talk with them, share your vision, and most importantly, let them know that change means taking chances.”
  • “True responsibility also means not just talking about what you’re going to do but taking action on it and being accountable for the results. The bottom line is that people understand what it means to “own the outcome.” It doesn’t matter whether it’s a person or a company that owns a result – the same principles apply.”

Headline For Marketers

The basics work.  Plugged is an easy, quick, inexpensive refresher on leadership, focus, teamwork and an outside-in customer-based mindset.  Yes, we have to do more than one thing at a time.  However, we have to get the right things done.  So, don’t let multitasking block you from identifying the most critical things required for profitable growth and then acting to get them done successfully.

Harvey Chimoff is a hands-on marketing leader and business-wide collaborator who builds marketing capabilities in B2B/B2C organizations that drive customer success.

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