Business Lessons

  • It’s not important to be liked but it is important to be likeable.


  • Email is good but talking is better.


  • Why can’t an employer leave an employee the way an employee can leave an employer? Why is one a sacking and the other a resignation? It would be so much easier if an employer could resign from an employee.


  • Data wants to be accurate.


  • Find out what people are good at and get them to do more of it. Find out what they’re bad at and get them to do less of it.


  • Pay your bills on time. If you can’t pay your bills you shouldn’t be in business.


  • We are who we pretend to be so we must be careful about who we pretend to be.


  • Money doesn’t talk. People talk. Money doesn’t care.


  • Sometimes your decisions will be right and sometimes they’ll be wrong. Don’t avoid making them because they might be wrong.


  • Don’t hire the best people, hire the right people. The right people are not always the best and the best people are not always right.


  • Don’t avoid confrontation. Some things need to be confronted. Avoid people who avoid confrontation.


  • If you want to compete with hour competitor’s price, expect to also compete with their business model.


  • Nice guys don’t always finish last.


  • Detail is everything.


  • If you want people to follow your vision, you better make sure that it’s a vision worth following.


  • Do the things you avoid doing.


  • You don’t need a unique selling proposition, you need a unique buying proposition.


  • Language and grammar aren’t important to a lot of people. But for the people it’s important to, it’s important.


  • A tender doesn’t have to be good, it must win. One doesn’t necessarily follow the other.


  • It’s easy to be horrible; being nice to people is hard and takes thought and effort. You’re not a more effective manager because you’re horrible to people.


  • Respect must be earned; it isn’t yours by right.


  • People who have relocated for no particular reason are likely to relocate again for no particular reason.


  • People don’t need your help, they need your management. Don’t confuse ‘helping’ with managing. Managers deserve to be paid more, helpers get paid less.


  • You don’t have to be in early but you should never be late. Don’t treat your job as unimportant, respect your team.


  • Responsibility is worth paying for.


  • It’s easy to be loyal; just don’t leave. Don’t confuse loyalty with someone who just hasn’t left yet.


  • Good ideas are just that – good ideas. Without implementation, they’re just intellectual narcissism.


  • The world is full of clever people. A business needs effective people. Not all clever people are effective and not all effective people are clever.


  • Not everyone wants, deserves or needs promotion. Value your loyal people as much as your high fliers.


  • Don’t pay yourself more than your business can afford. But if your business can’t afford to pay you after a year, re-think your strategy.


  • Cut the costs that can be cut.


  • Fix the roof when the sun is shining.


  • Make changes before they’re forced on you.


  • Don’t have long good-byes.


  • People who join for money will leave for money.


  • Choose your IT well and wisely – think about what you’ll need in 3 -5 years, not 6 months.


  • Get a grip on your debts or they’ll get a grip on you. Never let a debt get to be more than 2 months old.


  • Don’t let anyone become indispensable, including yourself.


  • Which is best – a yes man or an honest man? Choose wisely.


  • Imagined slights are the hardest to forgive.


  • Work smart, work wisely, work well – above all, work hard.


  • If you ask someone to do something, there is a real risk that they will do it – so be careful about what you ask them to do.


  • Don’t lose sight of the goal while changing the means of achieving it.


  • Don’t gamble more than you can afford to lose.


  • When recruiting people, be aware of your gut instinct.

If your gut says yes, check the evidence that says you shouldn’t; if your gut says no, ignore the evidence that says you should.


  • People won’t improve if they don’t have an opportunity to practice. Don’t expect them to win the match if you haven’t let them practice.


  • Winning is not always the best outcome; losing is not always the worst outcome.


  • Don’t have an Executive Chairman and an Executive Managing Director. If you appoint an MD, measure his results, don’t measure his methods.


  • Just because your competitors are doing something doesn’t mean it’s right. Just because they’re not doing something doesn’t mean it’s wrong.


  • Time you spend planning is never wasted – as long as you implement the plans you’ve made.


  • Money doesn’t motivate. But the lack of money demotivates.


  • Don’t abouse your power by making jokes about your subordinates.


  • Harness the pwer of gossip to spread positive messages. If you don’t the power of gossip will spread negative messages.


  • Doing more work is not the same as doing better work. Don’t reward inputs, reward outputs.


  • Provide a good service and make a few bob. Not necessarily in that order.


  • Just because your competitors are bidding for a contract doesn’t mean that you should. Just because they’re not doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t.


  • What someone has done is a better measure of their performance than what they say will do. Look for the evidence.


  • Don’t over-estimate loyalty. But don’t under-estimate it either.


  • Beware of people who earn too much; they may not want to leave.


  • When asking questions of applicants, think whether your questions are designed to show how smart they are, or how smart you are. Don’t be a show-off.


  • If you come to work late don’t regale your staff with stories about how bad the traffic was – unless you let them make the same excuse.


  • Don’t expect your staff to feel sorry for you because you’re down to your last million.


  • Individually, your managers may not be as effective as you. But collectively, they should be more effective.


  • Teams are built – they’re not found or inherited or automatic. And if they’re not nurtured and reinforced they can fall apart.


  • A company has many different teams. The strongest one may not be the one that you put together.


  • Your company’s history is important. But it’s present is more important. And its future is more important still.


  • Not liking the solution won’t make the problem go away.


  • Don’t depend on luck; it’s not reliable.


  • A team of managers is not the same as a management team.


  • My line. My sand.


  • Make decisions quickly and review slowly. Not the other way around.


  • Don’t major in minor things.


  • Don’t expect others to respond to the written word just because you do.


  • Do what you say you’ll do. Don’t do what you said you wouldn’t.


  • Look for the good in others and let them know when you’ve found it.


  • Sometimes what I say is what I want to say but is not what I should say and sometimes what I say is what I should say but is not what I want to say. And sometimes I don’t say what I should say even though I want to.






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