Picked up Know-How: The 8 Skills That Separate People Who Perform from Those Who Don’t, the new book by Ram Charan, coauthor of Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done. The question I had when I first took a look at it was, "are these skills that can be learned?" I read the first 30 pages in the bookstore and concluded that there is definitely something here. In fact, in the opening pages I ran across this idea, "Know-How is about what you must both do and be to lead your business in what is shaping up to be the most challenging business environment in decades (p. 4)." Now…before you reject it based on the word "business" let me suggest that all of us are trying to lead in the same environment. It’s the world we’re all in.
As the subtitle suggests, Charan proposes that there are 8 identifiable skills that separate performers from non-performers. What are they? The list revolves around 8 key questions. What do you think about the first one?
- Can you position your business by finding the central idea that meets customer demands and makes money? And, as will increasingly be required, can you appropriately reposition it?
Again, before you reject the idea because of the word "money", let me suggest that this is a great question for all of us. Think about it. If you want, substitute another word for money. For example, what if you substituted "makes a difference?" Now we’re talking! But stop and think about it! Can you say "yes" to the question? If you’ve answered yes, there are no doubt some ways to test for reality. For instance, if you’ve positioned correctly, what will be the indicators? How will you know? If you substitute "makes a difference", how will you know? How will you test for that?
Let me tell you, I can think of organizations that are not positioned correctly to meet the demands of today’s customers…and you can too. They may have met them at one time. But that day is gone and now they desperately need to be open to the idea of repositioning.
Think the book has promise?
So do I. I’ll keep you posted!