When you write somebody a memorandum or make a
not ever let a question get begged that is not answered.
do complete enough staff work.
always. The reason you care about relationships is
because you accomplish things in your life with and through
people. A little diplomacy and finesse in your
a huge amount.
constancy of purpose. You get this out of having
own principles and values and beliefs and acting on them. With
some people, you know exactly where they are going to be on an
issue. With others, they are all over the place. The
between them is principles. You want what John Adams called
of the laudable kind: ambition to excel. Not to be first or
or powerful or famous. To excel."
and brevity in everything you do. Write by the
not by the pound. You cannot make it short enough.
a high energy person. Energy is a scarce
the world, so examine yourself and ask if you have the energy
level to compete. You can develop guidance, but you are
energy. The author David McCullough noted that "ease and
not synonymous." It takes a lot of work to succeed, and yet it
can bring you great joy.
solutions, not problems. Dont delegate
People are dying to put stuff in my office so I can tell them
what to do. Im too busy, so please provide solutions,
hire people that are better than you are. Its
the only way youll ever get to have time for the golf
and yet most people will not hire people stronger and
content, content. You should always have an agenda
whenever you go to a meeting. You have to know what you
accomplish. Think about it ahead of time and be prepared.
downward, not upward. Some people have the sense
they can politic their way into the executive suite, so
always looking upward. Thats the wrong way to be
Senior executives actually have eyeballs and look at people
the time and what we like to see are the backs of
heads who are focusing on the job at hand.
Young people have this binary, fight or flight view of the
It never works. Learn the first lesson of diplomacy and, in
face of conflict, just back up. Dont give up, but
ever let people put a glove on you.
optimize around the short term.
People get preoccupied with and worry about the work piece
is right in front of them, and so try to optimize
that work piece. Dont do that. Always look at the
Look past the immediate problem and start optimizing around
confuse your income or your net worth or your stock price with
your real worth.
These things can dull you into false conclusions. You are what
forget gravity and other intergalactic
You get moved around by huge forces in life. I actually got
several times in my career by forces that were vastly
control. People thought I was a genius. But dont forget
gravity either. If things feel like they are too good for too
long, youd better start looking behind you.
ever compromise your ideals.
Lots of young people have a cynical viewpoint about corporate
America. I will simply tell you this: that view is largely,
wrong. The bad things that have happened, even in our own
are not endemic. They are really truly very isolated and
because people largely dont compromise their ideals. You
should never compromise yours.
At least, not often. When I look at a resume, one of the first
bad flags is when I see five or six employers. Im not
in people that are not constant. I like momentum with a single
employer or two.
work the proximity theory of success.
Some people feel if they are physically near the center of
something good will happen. It doesnt work that way, at
least not with me. We care about people who have their
to perform the job and get it done because thats the
ever threaten people.
There is a difference between a threat, which is something you
may not intend to carry out, and a hard decision, which you do
carry out. Dont make idle threats, and the corollary
is dont enter a negotiation without knowing 100%
will stop. Have a bottom line, and know when to put the
paddle down and walk out of the room.
scarce executive resource is time.
Find ways to relieve executives of time obligations.
are many more opportunities in corporations than there is
not the reverse.
With talent and application and work, you will find
up the executive ladder faster than you have the slightest