1. IT’S ALL ABOUT PEOPLE- It’s actually a hard-nosed scientific and financial reality. Any hour you spend on people is a better investment than an hour spent on systems, processes or policies. Great people can overcome average systems; average people won’t live up to great systems. Action- Spend time with your folks every week. Learn their strengths and weaknesses. Learn their projects. Learn their children’s names.
2. MORE COMMUNICATION IS BETTER- No matter what the situation: work or home, professional or personal, boss or subordinate, it is always more communication that solves the problem or clinches the deal. And think about this: communication is what the listener does. Action- Pick up the phone. Provide an update. Admit your behind. Over communicate, and you’re halfway there.
3. YOU’RE NOT THAT SMART; THEY’RE NOT THAT DUMB- You can’t fool people. Ever. The fact is, people know when you mislead them. Yes, they might go along with you, but they know it doesn’t feel right. That you don’t feel right. After all, didn’t you used to be “them?” Action- Tell the whole truth. Don’t leave anything out. When in doubt tell everyone. Use candor as an advantage, rather than seeing it as a weakness.
4. CONTROL IS AN ILLUSION- There is no single person whom you think you “control” who would agree with you. If you really think you’re so good as to control another, then who in your organization thinks that way about you? Stop trying to control. You’re wasting your time. Build relationships that allow you to influence. Action- Build relationships based on trust. Say, “I trust you.” Let your team choose their path at times, even when you disagree.
5. THE RIVER IS WIDE, THE CURRENTS ARE MESSY, BUT ALL WATER ENDS UP IN THE OCEAN- Watch water flow down river sometimes. It doesn’t march in nice straight lines. It meanders. It’s messy. Scientists say 20% of it is actually going up river. Your organization is organic – it’s made up of people -just like a river. Your projects and timelines are going to be messy and defy control. Stop fighting it. Action- Don’t worry about or punish every missed deadline-wait for a pattern. Think about a Chinese finger puzzle. Sometimes a light touch is the way out. Let go – FLOW – to get ahead.
6. THERE ARE NO SECRETS- If you think you can keep something quiet in your organization, you’re kidding yourself. What everybody is talking about is what’s NOT being said. Everybody knows already. The one associate or friend you felt you could tell has already told someone else whom they trusted…and so on. If you try to keep secrets others lose respect for you, because you show you don’t trust them. Action- Tell everybody everything. Forward every e-mail you get to all of your team…automatically. Don’t go “off the record”.
7. HOW YOU FEEL IS YOUR FAULT- If you find yourself saying, “that guy / situation / boss makes me mad,” you’re wrong. They did something and then you decided how to respond. Think about the word responsibility (Response-Ability) You’re able to choose your response. Action- Choose the right response. Choose not to get angry. Choose to understand why they behave the way they do. Your response will be more powerful.
8. THE “OTHER” WAY OFTEN WORKS JUST FINE- There’s someone else out there who has succeeded to the same level as you have with the exact opposite intuitions you have. (They wonder how you got where you are, too) Your idea that your way is the right way is routinely controverted. You just think it’s right because it’s yours. Action- Try the opposite every once in a while. After your first thought, wait for a second – different – one.
At first glance the laws appear to be common sense, and in fact they are. Much like the law of gravity these concepts “just are”. It’s good, however, to remind ourselves of laws such as these from time to time to keep us from falling into the trap of believing that our current situation is somehow different and thus, immune to these facts.