Monday, October 15, 2007

The One Thing

A bit of serendipity from the last couple of weeks has me thinking about getting more focused. An on-line newsletter I get from a personal development entrepreneur discussed the movie City Slickers and one of the characters, Curly, played by Jack Palance. The scene from the movie has Billy Crystal’s character asking the grizzled cowboy to tell him the secret to his perceived grasp of life’s secrets. Curly would hold up one finger and say, “One thing.” Eventually Crystal’s character becomes exasperated and asks, “What is the one thing,” followed by Curly’s response along the lines of “You’ll have to figure that out.”

The serendipitous part comes from the fact that a book I’m reading for graduate class called Crucial Conversations had the same story. If find it interesting that this obscure reference came about twice in such a short time. All of which got me thinking about a book I read in the last year by Buckingham, The One Thing You Need to Know. Each of these references was talking about narrowing our focus to the fundamental element for achieving success. In Crucial Conversations the focus was on successful conversations and making sure relevant information was free flowing. Buckingham wrote of three scenarios – managing, leading, and personal success – and had a singular focus for each of the three. James Ray, in his on-line newsletter, wrote of success in life.

As I reflect on the strategic direction of our district – we are currently in the planning stages – I am reminded that a laser-like focus really does help individuals and organizations grow. As we develop our strategic plan, I will be reminded to ask the question, “What is the one thing?” that will drive success for the future. If the previous three authors are correct, we’ll certainly find out if we can answer that question.
(cross posted at

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

When the One Thing people want is an education system focused more on quality academics than on sports, what will the administration do? Crucial conversations require more of a dialog than, "I understand", or "We'll see what we can do". They require listening, response, and action. Are you willing to do this or are you all talk and no show?