The ONE Thing

What’s the ONE Thing I can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?
— Gary Keller ("The ONE Thing")
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What's the ONE Thing I can do to get rid of a mouse such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?

What's the ONE Thing I can do to get rid of a mouse such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?

Since the gravitational potential energy of an upright domino is proportional to the fourth power of its size, a very small amount of input energy can be amplified quickly to knock down an impressively big domino. Starting with a 2-inch domino, and arrange for each successive domino to be 50% larger than the one before. Then the 18th domino would be as tall as the leaning tower of Pisa. The 23rd domino would tower over the Eiffel Tower, and the 31st domino would loom over Mount Everest by almost 3,000 feet. The 57th domino would practically be as tall as the distance between the earth and the moon! (Image Credit: Overflow).

Since the gravitational potential energy of an upright domino is proportional to the fourth power of its size, a very small amount of input energy can be amplified quickly to knock down an impressively big domino. Starting with a 2-inch domino, and arrange for each successive domino to be 50% larger than the one before. Then the 18th domino would be as tall as the leaning tower of Pisa. The 23rd domino would tower over the Eiffel Tower, and the 31st domino would loom over Mount Everest by almost 3,000 feet. The 57th domino would practically be as tall as the distance between the earth and the moon! (Image Credit: Overflow).

Find the lead domino, and whack away at it until it falls.
— Gary Kelley ("The ONE Thing")
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I knew I had to transform Alcoa, but you can’t order people to change. So I decided I was going to start by focusing on one thing. If I could start disrupting the habits around one thing, it would spread throughout the entire company.
— — Paul O’Neill (in “The Power of Habit”)

The following is an excerpt from the book by Charles Duhigg, The Power of Habit:

On a blustery October day in 1987, a herd of prominent Wall Street investors and stock analysts gathered in the ballroom of a posh Manhattan hotel. They were there to meet the new CEO of the Aluminum Company of America — or Alcoa, as it was known — a corporation that, for nearly a century, had manufactured everything from the foil that wraps Hershey’s Kisses and the metal in Coca Cola cans to the bolts that hold satellites together.

A few minutes before noon, the new chief executive, Paul O’Neill, took the stage. He looked dignified, solid, confident. Like a chief executive. Then he opened his mouth. “I want to talk to you about worker safety,” he said. “Every year, numerous Alcoa workers are injured so badly that they miss a day of work.

“I intend to make Alcoa the safest company in America. I intend to go for zero injuries.”

The audience was confused. Usually, new CEOs talked about profit margins, new markets and ‘synergy’ or ‘co-opetition.’ But O’Neill hadn’t said anything about profits. He didn’t mention any business buzzwords. Eventually, someone raised a hand and asked about inventories in the aerospace division. Another asked about the company’s capital ratios.

“I’m not certain you heard me,” O’Neill said. “If you want to understand how Alcoa is doing, you need to look at our workplace safety figures.” Profits, he said, didn’t matter as much as safety.

The investors in the room almost stampeded out the doors when the presentation ended.

Within a year of O’Neill’s speech, Alcoa’s profits would hit a record high. By the time O’Neill retired in 2000 to become Treasury Secretary, the company’s annual net income was five times larger than before he arrived, and its market capitalization had risen by $27 billion. Someone who invested a million dollars in Alcoa on the day O’Neill was hired would have earned another million dollars in dividends while he headed the company, and the value of their stock would be five times bigger when he left. What’s more, all that growth occurred while Alcoa became one of the safest companies in the world.

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References:

  1. Whitehead, Lorne (1983). American Journal of Physics, Vol. 51, p. 182. Retrieved from: https://popperfont.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/dominopaper.pdf
  2. Keller, Gary and Papasan, Jay (2012). The ONE Thing. Bard Press.
  3. Duhigg, Charles (2012, February 27). How ‘Keystone Habits’ Transformed a Corporation. Huffington Post. Retrieved from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/charles-duhigg/the-power-of-habit_b_1304550.html