Dazzle With Basics

It's sometimes scary how often we must relearn the basics.

I was recently watching a talk given by Simon Sinek where he casually mentioned how inspiring but also depressing it is that there is so much interest in his work, given that it's pretty much all basic stuff.

This reminded me of a time many years ago when I thought it was a good idea to take Karate class (TL;DR, it wasn't). The instructor, who was like a level 29 super black belt or something, told the story of a recent trip to Japan where he met with a level 55 black belt (obviously I wasn't in Karate long). He said he thought when he got there, he'd learn about some crazy flying backflip Karate super secrets, real Hollywood movie stuff. It turned out however, that they spent the entire time on punches and kicks. And not the elaborate kind, the types of punches and kicks you learn in your first day at Karate class.

My instructor said that during this time, he began to understand the importance of basics. He had been doing these punches and kicks for decades, but the mindful practice of basics lifted the effectiveness of all other actions. The same thing Simon Sinek stated during his talk, focusing on the basics yields the greatest value, but is often overlooked.

I tend to not read books over again, but I do make an exception with Drive. Whenever I get in a leadership rut, or when something another manager says hits my wrong and I can't figure out why, inevitably the answer can be found in this book. Motivating and empowering teams isn't a new idea, but a rather basic idea, and ultimately often forgotten or disregarded by too many managers. It's good to be reminded of this from time to time.