I teach college at the community college level. I speak to different groups of employees, at different kinds of organizations. And I speak to leadership teams in many different organizations, including many leadership teams of cities. And, I often think about this:
It’s time for another reminder about the basics.
Most of the problems, deficiencies, and dilemmas arise because people are bad at the basics.
What do I mean?
I have some students who seem to be incapable of getting to class on time. That is a problem of the “basics” – like time management, and work ethic. Learning is tough if yoiu don’t show up to learn, and if you don’t do your work as a student.
I have countless stories of people who have trouble working with others. Team conflict; team members not working well to finish projects on time…
These are “basics” issues.
And though this does not seem like a “basics” issue, I recently presented my synopsis of the excellent book by Thomas Siebel, Digital Transformation: Survive and Thrive in an Era of Mass Extinction. The book described how many organizations are facing the possibility of extinction because they are not willing to go through the needed digital transformation — mainly “willing” is the right word; but, yes, partly not “able” to. (I’ll post my “lessons and takeaways” from this book in a few days). But in reality, this too is a basics issue: the issue being that people and organizations get so set in their ways that they reject the need to change – they can’t even see the need to change.
Time management; team mastery; dealing with change. These are all issues that are “basic” to business success. As are a few others, such as learning to lead in a way that followers are gathered, developed, nurtured…
And then there are marketing basics; and customer service basics; and…
One area that I know plenty about is public speaking. I teach a workshop on Executive Public Speaking, and I teach Speech at the College Level. I am a fan of breakthrough ideas in communicating messages to persuade. But, really, most bad speakers are simply…bad speakers. They do not speak up; they do not pronounce their words clearly; they do not explain their messages in understandable language; they do not speak with energy, and passion.
In other words, speaking failures, like practically all failures, are failures in the basics.
How are you doing? What basics do you need to master a little bit – ok, a whole lot – better?
Get the basics wrong, and everything goes wrong. Get the basics right, and success becomes much more possible!