Neil Irwin — New York Times economics correspondent and author of How to Win in a Winner-Take-All World — was a guest on a recent Pinkcast episode, and he offered 2 words and 1 question that can help people succeed in today’s competitive marketplace.
Irwin claims that what makes people succeed in a highly competitive job market is what he calls being a “glue person.”
To strengthen his theory, N. Irwin asked many big companies (Goldman Sachs, Microsoft, GE, Walmart…) what does it take to succeed in a high-technological and competitive environment. The main point he gathered was the importance of being able to work in teams. That’s why he decided to develop the “Glue people” concept: people who are good both at their core job and at understanding other teams’ perspective.
Glue people are those “who pull teams together to make them greater than the sum of their parts”.
And what if you’re not quite there; perhaps you understand your own job quite well, but aren’t too sure about what the other members of your team are responsible for? Is there anything you can do to become a “glue person”?
That’s where the one question comes in.
Irwin states that in order to become a glue person, you need to ask other people who have a different skill set than you, “How do you do your job?” That means an engineer might have to ask a salesperson what their challenges are in the field; a marketer might have to ask a programmer what their day to day job entails, and somebody might have to ask an accountant about their job (actually that would never happen because no one cares what an accountant does 🙂 )
So like all Pinkcast episodes, they are short and sweet, right to the point, and leave the viewer with a couple of basic takeaways:
Be a glue person, and ask people “How do you do your job?”
Here’s the video (clicking on it takes you to Dan Pink’s page):
P.S. I wonder if Dan always carries glue in his sport coat…
P.P.S. image from Northern Crossings Mercy