People are always searching for the secret to success. Some say it's hard work, some say it's luck. Some say it's finding something you're passionate about. But motivational speaker Marcus Buckingham thinks all those people are wrong. In his new book, "The One Thing You Need To Know...About Great Managing, Great Leading and Sustained Individual Success," he tells us the one thing we need to know to be successful: Stop doing the things you hate.
Whether at work or at home, Buckingham says we need to eliminate the things we hate doing from our our lives and focus on doing the things we love even better. Buckingham appeared on "Good Morning America" to talk about about why he thinks this is the elusive secret to success and how we can apply it to our daily lives.
"Get me to the core"
"If you dig into a subject deeply enough, what do you find?"
In one sense this book began with a conversation with Carrie Tolstedt in a hotel lobby in Los Angeles. Carrie is the head of Wells Fargo's regional banking group, a position she has held for the last four years and in which she has been inordinately successful. As with many effective leaders, though, she is by nature self-critical. Despite the fact that she had just delivered a rousing speech to her regional managers, I was not overly surprised to find her standing off by herself looking a little dissatisfied.
"What's up?" I said. "The speech went really well." One always tends to offer reassurance to speakers after a speech, but in this case it was accurate. She had been speaking on the subject of customer service and how, with most banking products being a commodity in the marketplace, Wells Fargo would live or die based on the quality of its service. This message isn't new, either for Wells Fargo or the wider business world, and in the wrong hands it can pretty quickly descend into cliché. But Carrie had managed to keep the message coherent, the stories personal, and the examples vivid and powerful. It was a good speech.
"I don't know," she replied. "Sometimes I'm not sure how effective these speeches really are. The regional managers will now try to pass the message on to their district managers, and inevitably it will get tweaked in some way, changed somehow. Then it'll get changed again when the district managers pass it on to their store managers, and again when the store supervisors hear it, until, by the time it reaches the people who can really use it -- our customer service reps and personal bankers -- it will be significantly altered.
"Don't get me wrong, it's good that each level of my organization adds its own spin, but still, I sometimes think that the only way to keep this organization on the same page about customer service is to boil it down to its essence. My message should be so simple and so clear that, across all forty-three thousand employees, everyone comes to know what's at the core."
At the time, I think I mumbled something about being sure that her message would get through to where it mattered most, but on a subliminal level her wish -- to see a subject so clearly that she could describe its essence simply, but without oversimplification -- must have registered. For weeks thereafter, no matter where I went on my travels, no matter whom I was talking to, I seemed to hear the same wish: "Get me to the heart of the matter."