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 #11

Always have an opinion


Want to get nowhere in your career - always agree with the boss.

 

Most decent bosses hate sycophantic ‘yes’ men and women. What they’re really after are people with firm beliefs, even if those beliefs differ from theirs. They want leaders, and leaders have the guts to speak their mind, without second-guessing their superiors.

 

If you don’t think you can disagree with your boss without penalty, you should resign today. Because that business is heading for the rocks.

 

 

 #12

Look for wrong assumptions in your industry.


How are breakthroughs made in industry?

 

Well, in almost all cases, true progress is made when somebody questions a commonly held assumption.

 

Everyone said you couldn’t sell computers by direct mail. Michael Dell challenged that assumption and became a billionaire in his thirties.

People said the telephone was not a practical invention. Alexander Bell challenged that assumption and changed communications forever.

 

In the seventies everyone thought Adidas had the running shoe market tied up. Phil knight introduced the ‘waffle’ sole shoe and shot Nike to the top of the industry.

 

What about your industry? What is assumed by everybody to be true but is actually false?  The answer to this question can lead to breathtaking wealth and achievement.

 

 

 #13

Eliminate clutter in the office


Clean desks lead to clear minds. Get rid of 90% of the paper that lands on your desk. Either give it to someone else or bin it.

 

I once read an article in Success magazine. about a guy who charged 1000 to teach people how to maintain a neat desk. One of his main methods was to change the question in your mind from, ‘Will I need this again?’ to ‘Can I get a copy of this again if I need it?’.

 

When I took his advice my desk immediately became 50% cleaner.

 

By the way, the great super computer designer, Seymour Cray, worked with nothing on his desk but a pad of geometrically lined paper and a pen, so critical did he believe a clean desk was to clear thinking.

 

 

 #14

Reply to letters on the same paper they are written on


This is a great time saving tip recommended by time management guru, Alan Lakein.

 

Think about it. Replying on the same letter saves you typing it, and saves paper. It also lets you hand write, making your reply seem more personal.

 

Because the sender receives his or her own letter back you often have to write less too, as he or she is reminded of the questions they asked by seeing their own letter again.

 

 

 #15

Be constantly upbeat in the office


People love being around positive, uplifting people. Their vibrant energy gets everybody around them charged up and feeling good.

 

Likewise, people tend to steer clear of a miserable moper.

 

Make the decision now to force yourself to act happy (even when you don’t feel happy), and your success with people will significantly improve.

 

Remember, happiness is just a choice, it doesn’t have to be a good day or a lousy one. You can choose to be happy even if you’re having a disastrous time, you really can. If you do, you’ll not only be more liked by people, you’ll feel better about life in general.

 

 

 #16

Keep memos and reports to one page and insist others do the same


Brevity forces clarity.

 

The Everything On One Page rule encourages people to think more about what they’re writing, and eradicates fuzzy thinking. It reduces paper in your office or home dramatically, and streamlines the communication process.

 

Now you probably think that your issues , are far too important to be summarised in one page. Let me just remind you that no less a leader than Winston Churchill once asked for a complete summary of the Royal Navy’s ' preparedness for war – but insisted that that report be just one page long.

 

 

 #17

Schedule all meetings in the afternoon


The fact is minds tend to be fresher in the morning. That’s why it’s by far the best time to get your hardest mental work done. Most people accept this, and yet still fill that priceless morning thinking period up with dull, often unimportant meetings.

 

What a waste!

 

Schedule your meetings for the afternoon, when most people have mentally slowed down for the day. Then at least you can make your mornings truly productive, and will have the satisfaction of achieving some major tasks even before lunchtime.

 

 

 #18

Read every major book in your field


Albert Einstein said that anyone could become an expert in their field. All they had to do is read a book on that subject for one hour a day... for the rest of their life.

 

He’s right, of course. But that daily study is much more effort than most people are prepared to put in. What a shame, because it’s precisely that extra knowledge that makes the difference between a mediocre practitioner and a master.

 

By reading every important book in your field you equip yourself with the thoughts and strategies of the kings of your profession.

Some of it has to rub off onto you.

 

 

 #19

Always ask 'What will my industry look like ten years from now?'


Most people are so caught up with their day-to-day problems that they rarely look deeply into the future. (If they did they probably wouldn’t have so many day-to-day problems in the first place.)

 

I remember once asking Michael Dell, at 32 definitely one of the youngest billionaires in the world, how much time he spent envisioning the future for Dell Computers. He told me fully one-third of his time was devoted to looking far out beyond the horizon.

 

If a man as busy as Michael Dell can find the time to spend a third of his working hours future-gazing, then we can too.

 

 

 

 #20

Avoid business partnerships


There’s an old saying, ‘The only ship that’s certain to sink is a partnership.’

 

There’s a lot of truth to that. A business partnership is like a marriage, except that you usually spend more time with your business partner than your spouse.

 

All this time together means pretty soon you get sick of each other and start arguing about ever more trivial issues. I’m not saying this is always the case, but it’s often the case (which is one of the reasons four out of five businesses eventually fail).

 

If you can, own your business outright, or at least be the majority shareholder. Yes, it’s a lot more work, but it’s usually a lot less stressful politically too.

 

I’ve been in business around 15 years, and it’s only in the last year that I’ve found a business partner I’m comfortable with.

Until you’re absolutely sure you’ve got a great partner lined up, sail the ship yourself.

 

 


Uncommon Sense

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