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Ron Willington

Book Report by Gary Tomlinson

A Book Report on

The People Principle

By Ron Willingham


(Book Report by Gary Tomlinson)





A highly productive and profitable organization is like a beautiful symphony.  It brings together instruments of talent, knowledge, experience, skills, values, and goals that when played in harmony produce the beautiful music of profitability and productivity.  All the elements can only reach their full range of artistic excellence at the hands of a skillful conductor – a leader.  A leader who knows how to help people become their best.





What is the People Principle? 


It’s simple this:  People are more important than processes.  Processes don’t produce, people do.  Processes don’t think, feel, or create.  People do.  Before processes can improve, people must improve.


In my opinion, flat productivity is the greatest business crisis in the world right now.


Why have the billions spent on technology and organizational strategies not worked?  It’s painfully simple.  They focused too much on processes and overlooked the productive potential of people.  People aren’t machines; they aren’t even logical most of the time.  They don’t produce simply because they have been so commanded.  No, people are 85 percent emotional beings and 15 percent logical beings.  So with most management strategies today, organizations are getting a fraction of the potential of people depending on the insight and people skills of managers.


To increase significantly productivity in the tough years ahead, leaders and managers must learn about and maximize this incredibly vast, yet latent, pool of potential in their people, a pool that’s currently unchallenged and untapped.  But most managers aren’t trained to know how to plug in to the powerfully creative dimensions of human potential.  They know about numbers, budgets – logical stuff – but very few are prepared for the important role of building people.  A few do it naturally; most don’t.

Hence this book – understanding how to create the proper environment so people discover and actualize more of their vast creative potential and approach their jobs with more joy and productivity.  It’s here that managers will see significant increases in bottom line while at the same time experiencing more harmonious work environments and higher employee satisfaction and loyalty.  This is turn will prepare the foundation for stronger customer satisfaction and loyalty.  This book is aimed at the greatest single need in organizations today – how to help people become their best.



Chapter 1.  “I’ll Work My Butt Off for You!”


People have an innate need to know that they are valued.  They need their work to have meaning.


Leaders who exhibit strong, positive values in their lives enable their people to be more productive.  People’s job performances are influenced by their leaders’ beliefs.  I mentioned a Fundamental Belief about People, the People Principle, that when managers embrace and practice it, it empowers people to reach higher levels of productivity.


People have an unlimited potential that has been largely unrecognized and untapped.  When discovered and accessed, this potential can lead them to far greater levels of productivity than they ever imagined, causing them to feel better about themselves and enjoy life more.


I’ve often noticed that leaders’ beliefs about people become self-fulfilling prophecies.  People unconsciously pick up their manager’s beliefs in them and react accordingly.  This is the Law of Limited Performance.


People soon discover the level of performance their managers will settle for, and then gravitate to that level.  Managers then assume that’s all that people are capable of achieving, so they accept it as fact and quit challenging their people to do better.  So, both reinforce what the other believes.


This should be sufficient cause for any thinking person to choose carefully the thoughts he or she selects to think about others.  Great leaders have the ability to see more in people than people see in themselves and then help them discover and actualize their potential in their lives.


Your own core values and beliefs about people motivate your actions, responses, and behaviors.  What you value becomes who you are and influences what you do.


Chapter 2.  “I’ll Pay More for This Trait Than Any Other.”


The person who gets the most satisfactory results is not always the one with the most brilliant single mind, but rather the one who can best co-ordinate the brains and talents of his associates.


W. Alton Jones


Organizations everywhere are searching for people to whom they can pay lots of money for taking responsibility and getting more done through people.  Getting more done through people is how you leverage yourself.  The more you get done through the most people, the more you’re paid – either in money, recognition, respect, security, or self-fulfillment.


Knowing this you may want to ask yourself these three questions:


  1. “How much do I want to earn or achieve?”

  2. “Okay, if this is how much I want to earn or achieve, then what level of results will I have to take responsibility for making happen in order to earn this much?”

  3. “Well, now, am I willing to take action and do this?”


Leadership Skills or Traits


Let’s take a moment to think about some specific leadership/coaching skills or traits.  The following is a list of characteristics I have noticed in effective leaders.  They are:


  1. Vision

  2. Charisma

  3. Character

  4. Responsibility

  5. Planning

  6. Social Skills

  7. Achievement Drive

  8. Emotional Stability

  9. Tolerance for Ambiguity

  10. Decisiveness

  11. Delegation

  12. Positive Outlook


Earlier I emphasized that the sum of leadership skills will not necessarily make you a leader – that it takes the mix of a special ingredient, a “something else.”  I won’t attempt to tell you what that “something else” is.  You must discover it for yourself, but I will drop hints throughout this book.  If you’re truly looking, you will find it.  You will discover it within yourself – not externally, but intrinsically.  That’s my first clue.



Chapter 3.  “People Rise to Their Belief of Your Belief in Them!”


In teaching, it is the method and not the content that is the message…the drawing out, not the pumping in.


                                                                                    Ashley Montagu


Teaching/coaching is like that.  I call it Discovery Learning – people are more apt to learn, internalize, and practice what they discover for themselves than what you tell them.


Not all managers know this.  Most leaders do.


I’ve emphasized that people will often rise to your level of expectations.  People tend to produce what’s expected.  This explains a lot of both high and low performance.  It seems to me that this is a Law of Limited Performance.


People soon discover the level of performance their managers will settle for, and then gravitate to that level.  Managers then assume that’s all that people are capable of achieving, so they accept it as fact and quit challenging their people to do better.  So, both reinforce what the other believes.


In this chapter, I gave you a Coaching and Counseling model that incorporates all the steps you need to build your people’s performance.  The Coaching and Counseling Process goes as follows:


  1. Ask about their goals or objectives.

    1. Ask, “What specific goals or objectives are you working on, and where are you in respect to them?”

    2. Ask, “What constraints are keeping you from reaching these goals?”

    3. Ask, “What skills, activities, or behaviors will help you move through these constraints or reach these goals?”


  1. Listen without distractions or interruptions.

    1. Listen to people’s words, tone of voice, and body language.

    2. Guide and question them and help them discover their own answers.

    3. Believe that their answers are within them, waiting to be discovered.


  1. Coach knowledge, skills, or actions as needed.

    1. Confront restraints, problem issues, or needed areas of improvement.

    2. Suggest one action that will help them remove a constraint or move toward a goal.

    3. Keep the responsibility on their shoulders, not yours.


  1. Praise specific behaviors.

    1. Point our specific talents, skills, attitudes, knowledge, or abilities they have that will help them reach goals.

    2. Express your belief that they will do whatever it takes to be successful.

    3. Explain potential you see in them that they don’t see in themselves.


  1. Challenge them to become their best.

    1. Ask them to commit to specific goals, results, and time frames.

    2. Explain that you will follow-up and hold them accountable.

    3. Thank them and remind them how important they are to your organization.


So, remember to…ask, listen,coach,praise,challenge!  All you have to add is sincerity, belief in the person’s potential, and of course, application.


Let me emphasize what I said about your own attitudes influencing your coaching success.  I mentioned three factors that powerfully influence people’s productivity:


  1. Your sincere belief that they can achieve higher performance.

  2. Their belief that you believe that.

  3. The degree of trust, mutual respect, and rapport between you and them.


Yes, of all the factors that influence your people’s productivity, your own expectations of and belief in them certainly rank near the top of the list.



Chapter 4.  “When You Accept People as They Are, They Immediately Want to Get Better.”


Yes, people do get stuck and unproductive, and you can’t help them until you understand what’s pressing their buttons and screaming for attention in their lives.


You have circumstances pushing your buttons and screaming for your attention, and it makes the process of understanding other people more difficult.


One of the strongest needs in human nature is to be understood.  When you listen non-judgmentally and try to understand people, you automatically cause them to grow and become better.


Simply understanding people’s needs releases power from within them.


In this chapter, I presented to you a Progression of Human Needs Model.  It is as follows:





                        – To preserve life

                        – Physically

                        – Emotionally

                        – Financially




                        – To feel safe

                        – To experience freedom

                        – To control choices

                        – To determine own direction




                        – To know how to function in life situations

– To know how to answer questions, solve problems, make decisions

– To make right choices

– To satisfy curiosity




                                    – To give and receive love

                                    – To feel good about one’s self

                                    – To experience satisfying relationships

                                    – To forgive and feel forgiven




                                    – To achieve

                                    – To express uniqueness

                                    – To move toward purpose

                                    – To enjoy




                                    – To understand how and why things are

                                    – To discern

                                    – To relate cause and effect

                                    – To know that you know




                                    – To transcend humanness

                                    – To move beyond material values

                                    – To seek a higher state

                                    – To know true peace


Here are several important points to understand from the Progression of Human Needs Model:


  1. People are motivated by needs, wants, and values – for hope of gain and relief of pain.

  2. Whatever need level people are on, they’re primarily concerned with satisfying that specific one and blinded to others.

  3. People can be on different levels in different areas of their lives – areas in lowest need levels will usually dominate and demand greater attention.

  4. When a need level is satisfied, people automatically move to the next higher one.

  5. People’s productivity increases as they satisfy need levels.

  6. Self-reliance, willingness to assume responsibility, creativity, motivation, and productivity increase as people move toward higher needs.


Understanding this model and these six points can give you a whole new, comprehensive understanding of people’s actions and motivations.  It will strengthen your insights into yourself and others.


Many of your people’s low-productivity problems can be solved simply by listening, understanding, and valuing them.  This creates a climate in which your people are free to discover their own answers, as well as see themselves being more productive.


When people move to higher need levels, they grow and become better at what they do.


Organizational change and turmoil creates problems that are understood more by learning about the Progression of Human Needs Model.  Understanding these concepts and implementing the Coaching Process in our previous chapter offers new tools to boost your people’s productivity.



Chapter 5.  “The Most Important Psychological Discovery of the Century.”


I’ve stressed that people aren’t productive just because they have knowledge or abilities.  Their productivity depends on how they see themselves – what they think they are capable of within the framework of who they are.


In this chapter, I shared a model of the three dimensions within you.


  1. Intellectual, “I Think”

  2. Emotional, “I Feel”

  3. Creative/Unconscious, “I Am”


You understood that people’s emotions often overpower their knowledge.  “I know I shouldn’t eat that chocolate pie, but I want it!”  “I know I shouldn’t smoke and that will kill me, but I just can’t give it up!”  “I know I should work harder, but I may not be around next month!”  So our emotions often overrule our logic or knowledge.


You learned where your people’s emotions come from and that they can be changed by reprogramming their “I Am” dimension.


As you understand this model, you’ll immediately see how everything in this book fits together to give you the tools to build your people.  You build them by helping strengthen their “I Am” dimension.


This is a whole new paradigm of leadership thinking.  It represents the shift from managing people to leading them.  From either being policemen or baby-sitters to being coaches.


I challenge you to absorb the concepts in this chapter before going on to the next ones.  Then, relate this model to the two previous chapters – the coaching chapter and the one about human needs.  Tie them together.


This will give you much more insight into people, and as you begin to assimilate and apply the concepts, you’ll begin to enjoy significant increases in individual productivity.


Remember, the key to higher productivity is building people at their “I Am” level.




Chapter 6.  “If I’m a Leader, Who’s Succeeding Because of Me?”


Great leaders are very rare!  Partly because they’re paradoxes – they exhibit two qualities that appear almost conflicting.  People who have one don’t always have the other.  Highly effective leaders have these two traits in balance.  What are these two traits?


  1. Sensitivity to people, and

  2. Goal directedness


Sensitivity to people gives you strong empathic skills – the ability to tune in to people, really listen, understand what they say and how they feel.


Leaders have highly developed intuitive skills – they seem to know what people are thinking.  They’re often able to sense people’s responses before they happen.  Many can almost crawl into other people’s skins and experience their feelings and emotions.  It’s empathy.  Rapport.  Feeling with others.


Goal directedness is the ability to set clear goals or objectives, the marshal the people and resources necessary to achieve desirable results.  These people are bottom-line oriented.  They believe that results are what counts but that results are to be achieved within frameworks of values, ethics, honesty, and integrity.


Sensitivity to People


Let me share with you some beliefs about people:


  1. People have untapped potential that, if discovered, can significantly increase their productivity and self-fulfillment.

  2. People produce more when managers respect them and expect the best from them.

  3. People will generally produce more when they feel their jobs have meaning and that they count for something in the overall scope of things.

  4. People, generally, want to do what’s right, and are internally rewarded when they do.

  5. A positive belief in people produces a reciprocity wherein people want to do their best for their leaders.


If these beliefs about people match your values and core beliefs and if you accept them as the best guides for leading and enabling people, then the following suggestions will make sense to you.


These actions, when practiced, will help you develop greater skill in understanding people, strengthen you intuitive abilities, and cultivate a greater “sixth sense” about people.

  1. Listen to people without biases.

  2. Take on the role of the other person.

  3. Listen with your eyes and feelings.

  4. Reflect back to people their own feelings and ideas.


Goal Directedness


Goal directedness is the orientation that stresses getting results and making things happen.  In its natural state, this trait can be the opposite of sensitivity to people.  As I’ve mentioned before, it’s usually through work and effort that people develop a balance of the two.


Here are some practical actions you can take to increase your goal directedness:


  1. Ask yourself, “What measurable, bottom-line results or outcomes do I want to happen?”

  2. Ask, “What do I have to do to make these happen?”  (plans, people, resources, skills)

  3. Mentally dwell on the rewards you’ll enjoy when you make them happen.

  4. Say the self-motivator several times each day, “A leader builds people and gets results!”


Before you can increase your ability to get results, you must develop a results orientation.  The belief that results are what counts must guide you.


One of the reasons why there aren’t many real leaders is that few people are results-oriented.  Most people are process-focused.  Their orientation is to do their job or to complete a process.  They see their purpose as doing jobs, not how the job function impacts results or objectives.


In my experience, the more I develop leadership qualities, the more I discover that there’s more to develop.  The more I learn, the more I learn that there is more to learn.



Chapter 7.  “If You Don’t Understand Me, How Can You Lead Me?”


People are generally better persuaded by the reasons which they have themselves discovered than by those which have come from the minds of others.



Lots of money and human energy are wasted because people don’t understand each other – what they say, what they mean, or how they feel.  The productivity of your people is significantly influenced by their ability to communicate.

The miracle of communication is that we communicate as well as we do.  Forget for a moment our futile and frustrating attempts to communicate and understand the complexity of our natures.  Think about the intricacies of our egos, beliefs, self-images, and backgrounds.  Add to this the uniqueness of our experiences, assumptions, and biases, then think about language and cultural differences, regional speech patterns and semantics.  You’ll marvel that we communicate at all given such complex mechanisms.


You, as a leader, wrestle daily with these complexities of human nature; and they continually influence the productivity of your people.  Not only interpersonal communication and understanding, but also departmental or organizational.  The composite of your people’s communication skills influences the limits of your productivity.


People Exhibit Different Behavior Styles


Let’s begin with a most obvious and basic assumption:  People are different!


In order to understand your people better – why they think and act as they do – let me present the following model of Behavior Styles.  First, let’s think how some people are results-oriented, while others are more task-or process-focused.  Like this:



Process-Oriented                                          Results-Oriented



Then let’s note that some people are motivated by recognition; others are more interested in security.






Process-Oriented                                          Results-Oriented





So, let’s consider someone who’s results-oriented but recognition-motivated; we’ll call this person a Doer.  Someone who’s motivated by recognition but more process-focused and not bottom-line-oriented, let’s call a Talker.  A person who’s results-oriented but security-motivated we’ll call a Controller.  And a person who’s task-or process-oriented and security-motivated, we’ll call a Plodder.



So, now our model looks like this:








Talker        Doer


Process –Oriented                                        Results-Oriented


Plodder        Controller






Now that you understand the Behavior Styles Model, here are some points that probably jumped out at you.


  1. People think, act, and respond differently.

  2. People have different pace, tone, and ways of looking at the world.

  3. People’s Behavior Styles prepare them for certain jobs, functions, or activities better than others.

  4. People naturally assume that others think, feel, and view the world the same way they do.


Understanding this Behavior Styles Model allows you to understand that different people see things different ways.  Unless you understand how they think, feel, and act, you’ll miscommunicate.


Most of us think that ours is the normal style.  So, it’s not easy to understand why others don’t see the world the same way we do.


Understanding Behavior Styles and blending our style to match others’ styles reduces stress in communication and helps us achieve rapport and emotionally bond with people.  It also helps us understand how people go about their business naturally, so we know what jobs to expect, or not expect, people to do.


This model can give you a simple, yet highly effective, framework for getting more done through people.






Chapter 8.  “Hey, Boss, I have This Problem I Want to Dump on Your Shoulders!”


One way to get more done through people is to empower them to solve problems and make decisions.  Probably a great deal of your time in consumed by people who want you to solve their problems and make their decisions for them.

It all begins with people who take initiative and responsibility and then setting the boundaries and parameters in which they can make decisions.  Then they need to be trained in problem solving and decision making.  Once trained they need to be empowered to take action, use their best judgment, and move through the problems and decisions they encounter.


In this chapter I have given you two problem-solving models.  One is for a customer-service problem and the other is for a generic problem.


The following is a simple and logical customer-service problem-solving formula.  Copy this formula and give it out to your people.  Whenever someone comes to you and asks you what you would do about a given situation, pull out a sheet, hand it to them, and respond, “I haven’t the slightest idea.  Why don’t you go work this problem-solving formula and tell me what’s the best way to solve it?”


Customer-Service Problem-Solving Formula:


  1. Understand the problem.

    1. Get all the facts.

    2. Listen non-defensively to customers.

    3. Repeat the problem as you understood it.


  1. Identify the cause.

    1. Find out what happened.

    2. Find out what should have happened.

    3. Find out what went wrong.


  1. Discuss possible solutions with customers.

    1. Suggest options.

    2. Ask for other people’s ideas.

    3. Agree on the best course of action.


  1. Solve the problem.

    1. Remove the cause, or

    2. Take corrective action.

    3. Ask the people involved if they are satisfied with the resolution.


This simple customer-service problem-solving formula helps your people set emotions aside and logically reach a satisfactory resolution.

Give this formula to anyone who comes to you with customer-service issues.  Tell them they’re better prepared to solve the problem than you are.  Give them the formula, ask them to work through it; arrive at what they think is the best solution; and then come back to you to review their analysis.


So let me share with you the other simple problem-solving formula that works well when encountering process or functional problems.



A General Problem-Solving Formula:


  1. Define the problem.

    1. What was the desired outcome?

    2. What was the actual outcome?

    3. What was the deviation or difference?


  1. Identify the cause of the problem.

    1. What went wrong?

    2. Why did it go wrong?

    3. What unforeseen factors entered in?


  1. Write down possible solutions.

    1. List everything you can think of that will remove the cause or correct the deviation.

    2. Research and seek the advice of others.

    3. Analyze each possible solution as to its ability to eliminate the cause or deviation.


  1. Solve the problem.

    1. Seek to eliminate the cause of the problem.

    2. Choose best solutions and prioritize them.

    3. Begin doing them one at a time.



I have given you two problem-solving models.  You have my permission to duplicate these models, give them to your people, and teach them how to use them.


You’ll find that through practice and reinforcement they’ll gradually grow in their ability to solve problems and make decisions.  You’ll discover that your people can use these simple models for around 90 percent of their decisions and problems.


Training and empowering your people to use these models will not only save your valuable time and energy, but it will help you get more done through your people, which will greatly increase your value to your organization.

Oh, yes, have you discovered that “something else” that I mentioned in earlier chapters?



Chapter 9.  “Let’s Find a Way to Make It Work.”


Broadly speaking, your people fall into two categories:  Those who think in terms of new possibilities and those who think in terms of limitations.  The possibility thinkers are rare and usually your most productive people.  They’re highly motivated and always looking for new or better ways to get things done.


If you listen to people, you’ll get a pretty god idea of who they are.  You’ll hear phrases like:  “Let’s try this new idea;” “Let’s find a way to make it work;” “Here’s a better way of doing it.”  Or, conversely, “That’s not my department;” “I don’t get paid to do that job;” “I just do what they tell me.”


Below is a formula for Possibility Thinking.  It is a process that you probably do unconsciously.  When you get your people doing it consciously until they develop unconscious behaviors, you’ll see some dramatic increases in their initiative, creativity, and results.


Possibility Thinking Formula


  1. Whenever you encounter a problem, situation, or decision, ask yourself, “What is the best possible outcome to the problem, situation, or decision?”

  2. Then ask, “Suppose this outcome did happen, how would I feel?”

  3. Then ask, “What are the chances of this positive outcome actually happening?”

  4. And, finally, ask yourself, “What can I do to make sure this positive outcome actually happens?”


This simple formula focuses your powerful Goal-Seeking Mechanism on a specific target.  It moves you through all the clutter and the potholes that draw your focus away from what is important, causing you to spend too much mental energy on brushfires.


Below is a worksheet that you can photocopy and not only use for yourself, but also to hand out to your people.


Possibility Thinking Formula Worksheet


  1. What problem, challenge, situation, or decision do you either now have, or think you might have soon? __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

  2. What would be the best possible outcome to this problem, challenge, decision, or situation? __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

  3. Suppose this outcome did happen, how would you feel? __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

  4. What are the chances of this positive outcome actually happening? __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

  5. What activities can you do to make sure this positive outcome actually happens?

    1. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________

    2. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________

    3. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________

    4. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________


I suggest that you sit down and review these processes with your people and assign them a project of filling in one or more the coming week.  Then get back together for another meeting.  At this time ask each person to:


  1. Share what their problem, situation, challenge, or decision was.

  2. How they applied the Possibility Thinking Formula and what happened.

  3. What they learned from the experience.


As people share their experiences with the process the past week, you’ll see exciting advances in your people’s productivity.


Keep this up and you’ll see exciting advances in your people’s productivity.



Chapter 10.  “The World Makes Way for People Who Know Where They’re Going.”


Goals may be simple or complex.  They may be to complete a routine work function or to design a whole new strategic plan for your organization.  The goal may be to solve a production problem, raise employee or customer satisfaction levels, or to increase profitability.  Regardless of the objective, if you reached it, you followed basically the same process.


So, in sense, everything you do begins as a goal.  The same is true for your people.


Then doesn’t it make sense that if your people understand the goal-achievement process, they’ll be much more efficient in getting results?


But what is the system?


A Goal-Achievement System:


The following Goal-Achievement System is a step-by-step process which, when followed, will help you define and reach specific goals.  As I’ve said – this process isn’t something you intellectually learn.  Rather it’s something you emotionally experience.  There’s a big difference.


The Goal-Achievement System has five parts.  They are:


  1. Setting goals

  2. Planning strategy

  3. Building belief

  4. Developing strengths

  5. Evaluating and managing progress


I’ve put this into a logical order so that, rather than experience goal setting as a hit-or-miss, stab-in-the-dark system, you’ll learn a workable process. 


Analyze almost any goal you’ve ever set and reached and you’ll discover that you either consciously or unconsciously followed these steps.  In this system, I’ve brought all the elements of goal achievement together.  All you have to do is add desire and action in order to make it work for you.


Goals Should Be Statements of the Desired End Result:


Many people say they set goals, but upon analysis what they call goals are only vague wishes or hopes.  For example, “My goal is to lose some weight!” Or “My goal is to make more money!”  When you examine these statements you’ll see a common problem – they aren’t specific.  They contain words like “some, more, better, larger.”  These words keep their statements from being specific goal statements.  Remember, “A goal is a statement of the desired end result!”


Two Kinds of Goals:


There are basically two kinds of goals:


  1. Where the strategy or steps of achievement are known, they just have to be taken.

  2. Where the strategy or steps are unknown, they have to be discovered.


Planning is a left-brain logical exercise that requires some concrete organizational ability.  But setting goals is usually a right-brain activity – dreaming, believing, and visualizing goal attainment.  Often these dimensions don’t exist in the same person.


In my experience, people who get emotionally charged about new goals often have problems making clear plans.  I’ve also observed that few people will actually sit down and initiate a goal strategy.  Another interesting observation I’ve made is that those left-brain, detail-minded people who do plot out elaborate goal plans often enjoy designing the plan more than working it out.


The Goal-Achievement System Is a System:


The Goal-Achievement System that I’ve presented is powerful and workable.  When you follow the system and manage your progress, you’ll be amazed at how quickly some of your goals materialize.


You’ll find this system is just that – a system!  It has build in checks, balances, and policing agents.  It’s fully functioning; all you have to do is punch the start-up button, activate, and maintain the system; and it’ll work for you.


The Goal-Achievement System becomes a road map to follow for greater productivity.  As your people understand the stages they must go through in order to reach goals, they’ll naturally become more efficient and productive.



Chapter 11.  “The Whole is Greater Than the Sum of Its Parts.”


People will produce 40 percent more efficiently when they are part of a positive, harmonious team who share a common purpose.



Teamwork is essential for getting more done through people.  People maximize their potential when they work together in a spirit of unity and harmony toward a goal or purpose.  When they do, a power develops that’s greater than the sum of the individuals’ powers.  It’s called synergy!


Before team spirit, momentum, or synergy can happen, people must share a common goal, vision, or purpose.


Having a customer focus helps organizations develop synergism.  Getting people to focus on their value to others causes a transformation to occur.



The Paradox of Having a Customer Focus


There’s a paradox here.  When people focus on serving others, or working toward something that creates value for others, they like themselves better.  Their self-esteem, energy, enthusiasm, and job commitment all increase.  They become more productive and fulfilled.


That’s the paradox.  When we focus on something outside ourselves, we feel better about ourselves.


Leaders have the ability to inspire motivation in their people.  To the extent the common purpose creates value for others, the people are energized.  Their interest, enthusiasm, and energy quickens.


The foundation for synergistic teamwork is laid when the following factors are in place:


  1. A clear purpose that creates value for customers or other stakeholders outside the organization.

  2. A well-defined strategy for attaining objectives.

  3. Communication of this purpose and strategy and the value it creates.

  4. How each person’s job role fits into this purpose.

  5. Reporting and accountability expectations.


Corporate Values


I am convinced that corporate and personal values powerfully influence productivity and profitability.


Strong corporate values are demonstrated when leaders believe and practice the following priorities; when they are both talked and walked:


  1. To satisfy their customers and thus create apostles.

  2. To provide a meaningful work environment and opportunity for their people.

  3. To make a profit.


When you and your management team prioritize in these three ways, your customers will definitely know it.  Your people will see it and be impressed.  Your profits will be maximized.


Impacting the Bottom Line


When the following factors exist in a team a power emerges that becomes greater than the sum of their individual powers.  Yeah, I know that I’ve said this before, but I want to bring this back and tie everything together.  Carefully analyzed these ingredients that create synergy:


  1. Congruence

  2. Harmony

  3. Belief in their common purpose and each other’s ability to carry their loads

  4. Shared values

  5. Mutual respect for each person’s uniqueness

  6. Trust

  7. Authenticity and openness

  8. Unconditional acceptance and concern for each other

  9. Willingness to subordinate individual egos to the good of the team

  10. Expectation of winning


When these ten factors pervade a team’s environment and with time and incubation, a psychic power emerges that pulls everyone together.  As this transformation occurs, it sparks enthusiasm, energy, zeal, hustle, and esprit de corps in the people.


This new life-form, when combined with knowledge, yields productivity and results.


I challenged you to think of that “something else” that I mentioned at the beginning of this book.  If we were sitting together talking now, what would you tell me this “something else” is?


I’ve funneled many years of learning and observation into this chapter.  I hope it challenges you to dig deeply and develop a clearly understanding of what creates synergy and momentum and, bottom line, what helps you help your people get more done.



Chapter 12.  “Belief and Philosophy Constitute a Transcendent Factor.”


Our beliefs are powerful in influencing others.  The one overwhelming thread I see running through all the changes in business in the last 100 years is that the prevailing beliefs of leaders translate themselves into their tangible equivalent in organizations.  In other words, leader’s beliefs are so powerful that they are translated into reality.


Expectations Are Projected Beliefs About Your People


Your expectations, what you unconsciously think that each of your people is capable of producing and will produce, are powerful beliefs that are telepathically sent out to them.  You project these beliefs in your actions, attitudes, and behaviors. 


Your every action supports your belief.  The way you look at people, greet them, your tone of voice, the things you talk about – all these carry your message about what you believe about them and what you expect from them.  You can’t hide it.


Your people will pick up your beliefs about them and your evaluation of them.  And when they get your message, they’ll process it something like this:  “Here’s what the boss thinks of me.  Now, she’s a smart person and must be right; therefore I must be what she thinks I am.”  Certainly in a much more subtle manner and language than I’ve just used, but it’s played and replayed until the self-belief is set.  Remember the Law of Limited Performance?  It was:


People soon discover the level of performance their managers will settle for, and then gravitate to that level.  Managers then assume that’s all that people are capable of achieving, so they accept it as fact and quit challenging their people to do better.  So, both reinforce what the other believes.


Examine this law and you’ll conclude that much (maybe even most) of people’s performance is simply the result of beliefs.  Their beliefs about who they are and what they’re capable of producing; your beliefs and expectations about them and their capabilities; their beliefs and expectations about your beliefs and expectations.


Belief in the possibility of positive outcomes and in the inherent worth of people forms a powerful chemical catalyst that multiplies the sum of people’s knowledge, skills, and technology to form a new strength, one that influences profitability and effectiveness.  That’s my message in this chapter.


I know that this tends to fly in the face of conventional wisdom; of logical, rational, you-gotta-prove-it-to-me kind of thinking.  The very kind of bottom-line thinking that has to be done in order to manage things.  Yeah, I know that.  I run a business, so I know you have to be logical.


All great leaders either intuitively or consciously understand this power and have integrated it into their actions.  That’s why they’re great leaders.  The same can work for you.





In this book, I’ve shared what I’ve discovered and learned over many years about what causes human action and performance.  I have shared some very practical models, strategies, and ideas that will strengthen your leadership skills.  But, as I wrote in the first chapter, simply practicing these ideas will surely help you increase your own personal leadership abilities, but they won’t necessarily make you a leader.


It’s only when you add that “something else” that you will become a leader.


In every chapter I have led you through thought processes and action guides that if you practiced and learned helped you discover that “something else.”  Clues about what this magic ingredient, this chemical catalyst, is have been continually dropped for you to stumble over, dig up, and examine.


I said that I would not tell you directly what this “something else” is.  That thrill is reserved for you to dig out and put together is your own framework of thinking.  Because you have searched for it and broadened your thinking, it will indeed become your discovery to celebrate and put into your bank account of wisdom and knowledge.


Discovering this “something else,” as you’ll find, is a lifelong search, peeling off layer after layer of discovery.


May you enjoy the serendipity of prosperity, fulfillment, and abundance as you help people become their best.



Message from Gary Tomlinson


I hope you enjoyed this book report.  It is important for you to understand that this book report should not take the place of you reading The People Principle.  This is a must read for leaders, at every level, of an organization. 


Leadership will be to the 21st Century what Management was to the 20th Century.  The People Principle is one of the best books on leadership that I have come across.


You can engage Gary at To read his other book reports
or book reviews visit his website at

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