What are the basics?
Sometimes, folks refer to the “fundamentals” instead of the “basics.”
But, here’s the thing. Get the basics, the fundamentals, right, and you’ve got a chance to successfully build on that foundation. Get them wrong – ignore the basics, fail to learn the basics – and a lot, a whole lot, can go wrong.
Athletes especially know this. In an earlier life, I was a competitive tennis player. You can only imagine how many times we did drills on the “basics” of tennis. Over and over and over and over and over and over again…. and then again even more over and over again…
I have spent 25 years reading business books, and preparing and delivering synopses of hundreds of those books.
A number of books tackle familiar themes; familiar issues; the basics.
What makes for business success?
What makes a good leader?
How do you develop talent? How do you spot talent?
How do people work effectively on a team?
How do you get the next thing right? How do you innovate, with creativity and inventiveness, for the coming future?
And, as much as I hate to write this, I’ve got bad news. You can get the basics right, and then slip up, or get lazy, or get complacent, and before you know it, you’re back to missing it on the basics.
I guess our attention to the basics needs… constant attention. (Remember those tennis drills).
In my 25 years of book reading and presenting, I have come up with a list of books that can help folks refocus on a basic. And, I tend to put these into two key meta-categories:
Personal Productivity Basics.
Business Effectiveness Basics.
Now, one obvious “before anything else” basic is this: a business has to bring in enough money that it pays for everything; everything; with a little left over. In other words, it has to make a profit. Making a profit is not a bad thing; it is a necessary thing. Not making a profit can be deadly to – i.e. mean the death of – a business.
Greed may not be good, but making a profit is good. But, if making a profit requires inhumane treatment of employees, or unethical practices, then that it is too high a cost to pay.
I think that mastering the basics provides the path to such profitability. And then, that profitable company can help create a better community, a better society.
So, here is my current list of the “Basics,” with a key book, and a few other books, for each one.
|The Basics of Time Management||Getting Things Done||Deep Work|
|The Basics of a Growth Mindset||Mindset||How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character|
|The Basics of Leadership||Extreme Ownership||Encouraging the Heart|
|The Basics of Teaming||The Culture Code||Team of Teams|
|The Basics of Meaning in Work||Start with Why||Man’s Search for Meaning|
|The Basics of Talent||Range||Outliers;
Talent is Overrated
|The Basics of Execution||The 4 Disciplines of Execution||Execution|
|The Basics of Measurement||Measure What Matters||Blue Ocean Strategy|
|The Basics of Change||Change||Think Again|
|The Basics of the Future||Digital Transformation||The Second Machine Age|
|The Basics of…the Basics||Build||The E Myth|
|The Basics of Ethical Business Practices||Willful Blindness||True North|
The Basics of Motivation, with Drive; The Basics of Creativity, with The Creative Habit
You might come up with a different list. You might choose different books. But, even if you do, going through such a process can’t help but be useful.
Get the basics right, and everything else has a much better chance of making it to that level of success all strive for.
Look for my plan to help folks refresh their knowledge about, to brush up on, these basics. Coming very soon.