The Magic Question: A Simple Question Every Leader Dreams of Answering by David Cottrell is an excellent management resource aimed at motivating people. The book explains in detail what characteristics are needed to be a good coach.
Cottrell believes that everyone in an organization should be in synchronization with goals and priorities for getting things done according to a uniform metric. The author quotes Johann Wolfgang von Goethe on the subject of setting priorities when he states: “Things that matter most must never be at the mercy of things that matter least.”
A coach defines what is important from the outset. Explanations to staff and relevant others should be clear, consistent and simple to interpret or apply. Frequently, coaches seek out quality feedback so that projects don’t go too far off targeted goals. The author explains the importance of consulting with key team members on a periodic basis.
A good coach encourages team members and provides performance feedback on a regular basis. Most importantly, people must know that management cares about them and appreciates their efforts. Lastly, coaches need to remind team members of what’s expected and the timeframe for project deliverables.
The Magic Question is an important work on the dynamics of project management, teamwork, goal congruency, goal measurement and providing incentives so that a team can function efficiently. The presentation is easy to read, understand and apply. A beauty of the work is that the style of writing is conversational so that the author emulates typical instruction sets provided in an actual workplace.