Sunday, November 21, 2010

How to Succeed in Business and Beyond

As top-ten lists go, Steve Tobak’s stands out, for their clarity and concision. They are utterly and impressively high concept. Link here.

Tobak calls them "rules of engagement" and he is right to do so. They will help you to engage with your job, to engage with your colleagues and bosses and staff. They might even help you to engage in the more personal sense of the term.

These rules all have the same structure: they are guiding us toward replace our bad habits with good ones.

It takes time to develop bad habits; it will take time and work to replace them with good ones. 

Tobak formulated these precepts for business leaders, present and future. They are so good that they will also work in other human relationships.

Here’s Tobak’s list:

1. Instead of covering your ass, put your ass on line.

2. Don’t rip off ideas, riff on them.

3. Tell it straight, don’t sugarcoat or breathe your own fumes.

4. Instead of protecting your turf, open up the playing field.

5. Don’t bitch about the boss; complement his weaknesses.

6. Attack the problem, not the person.

7. Don’t place blame; take responsibility

8. Instead of making waves, make decisions.

9. To break analysis paralysis, take a chill pill

10. Replace strategy du jour with strategic planning.

In the largest sense Tobak is showing us how to build our character. Character building involves ridding yourself of bad habits by practicing good ones.

Bad character is irresponsible, defensive, self-aggrandizing, dishonest, and self-absorbed. It is all heat and little light. Bad character refuses to learn from the past and fails to plan for the future. It is small picture thinking.

A person with bad character is focused on his ego; and there is nothing smaller than ego.

A person of good character makes decisions and takes responsibility for his decisions. He does not shift blame and does not take credit for ideas that are not his.

When he states an idea, he is clear and to the point. He does not indulge in ambiguity or invite exotic interpretations.

Having a large perspective, he thinks about what is good for the company because he identifies his good with the company good.

He never thinks to take advantage of the company for his own benefit.

What would happen if you applied these same rules to your personal life?

Would your relationships improve if you were more responsible, less defensive, less in it for yourself and more in it for the good of the couple? Would life be better if you were less intent on the present, but were planning for both or your futures? Would your relationships be better if you were clearer about what you are going to do, less prone to obfuscation, and less apt to blame everyone else for your own failures? And how much better would your relationships be if you attacked problems, not people. And if you attacked them together, as a couple?


Chuck Pelto said...

TO: Dr. Schneiderman
RE: A Timely Article

I'm facing a similar situation in a group I associate with. This will come in handy, as I'm about to engage one of the 'malcontents' with doing things differently. In the meantime, the group has been losing membership by the bucket, i.e., clubs at a time. Two so far this year with two more likely, as they have not paid their dues.

In the meantime, the 'powers that be' in the group refuse to adopt new methods of doing business.

I recently attended an 'organizational', to which I had not been invited, and watched in awe as they were, literally, 'rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic'. My tongue has YET to fully recover....


[Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, hoping for a different result.]

Dennis said...

This is good advice for almost anyone who takes what they do seriously. Just consider how differently Obama would be if he just took this advice. Just change company to country and one has a recipe for good governance.
Now all we need is for people in government to know the limits of the job assigned to them by the American people.

Anonymous said...

11. Find a new job.