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The One Thing

The One Thing

Unlike the movie City Slickers in which Billy Crystal’s character realizes that “The One Thing” in life that will make you happy is different for everyone, in business, we must make it very clear to all of our employees what The One Thing is we’re trying to achieve as an organization.  If we don’t, our employees may inadvertently waste tons of time, money, energy, and other resources by working towards other things.

The need to talk about The One Thing (or for those of you familiar with my passion for Strategic Planning – your Vision) struck me head-on again last week.  I was working with several new clients on various issues ranging from Marketing Strategies to Time Management Techniques, and each client’s core problem, once properly identified, led to the same issue: these clients’ employees don’t know what their respective organization is really trying to achieve, so the employees don’t really know how they fit it, so they can’t really help as effectively as they should.  However, management didn’t see it that way — they thought the employees really didn’t understand their jobs or worse – just didn’t care.

Take this simple challenge, walk around and ask five to ten random employees, “What is the number one thing this organization is trying to achieve?”  If you get roughly the same answer from each of the employees, you’ve done an excellent – and I mean excellent – job of communicating your vision and creating focus for your employees.  If your question is answered with confused looks, “I don’t knows”, or five to ten different answers, you’ve not yet done the one thing employees need from you to help them do their jobs well — direction, focus, a target (i.e., a Vision).

Let your employees know specifically what it is you want your organization to achieve and how their jobs fit in.  Let them know how each job can help move your organization closer to its vision. 

Let them know what “The One Thing” is – don’t make them figure it out for themselves.  This isn’t a movie — it’s your business.


Copyright MMIV – Liz Weber, CMC, CSP – Weber Business Services, LLC – www.WBSLLC.com +1.717.597.8890

Liz supports clients with strategic and succession planning, as well as leadership training and executive coaching. Learn more about Liz on LinkedIn!

Liz Weber CMCLiz Weber, CMC CSP

Liz Weber coaches, consults, and trains leadership teams. She specializes in strategic and succession planning, and leadership development.

Liz is one of fewer than 100 people in the U.S. to hold both the Certified Management Consultant (CMC) and Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) designations.

Contact Liz’s office at +1.717.597.8890 for more info on how Liz can help you, or click here to have Liz’s office contact you.

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2 thoughts on “The One Thing”

  1. Alan Kay says:

    Thanks Liz for the insight on ‘one thing’. I also often use the ‘one thing’ idea when folks have a complex request. After asking them how I can be useful to them, or what needs to get better they often throw a laundry list my way. I then ask, them to pick the one thing that they’d like to focus on and we get started. To fish off the session I then ask, suppose you are successful what’s the one small thing you will see yourself doing right away. The opportunity is to make progress in one area and movement starts to happen in the rest of the larger issue.

    The one thing opportunity has to do with decision-making. Not knowing the area of focus enables indecisiveness and slows down productivity. It applies to the larger organizational goal and the work in front of us.

    1. Liz Weber says:

      Alan that’s a great way to get to the most pressing – or most distressing – issue. Even if you guide your client in addressing the issue, you may address more fundamental issues first, the client feels as if you’ve helped them address their most pressing problem. Then you can help them learn to take steps back to focus on the truly most important versus the most ’emotional’ issues.
      Thanks for sharing Yor insights Alan!

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Posted by Liz Weber CMC on April 16, 2013 in Strategic Planning and tagged , , ,