Thursday, October 28, 2010

Random Rules


Rules for Your Business. Rules for Your Life.
by Michael Dalton Johnson
These rules don't have a theme. They are brief and random nuggets of advice that I have written on over the years. Many of them could be expanded into much longer articles and some might even serve as a basis for a book. However, I believe the essence of these ideas have survived my condensation. I hope you find them useful.

Take 100 percent responsibility for everything that happens at all times.

This is the first law of business and personal success. Nothing will transform your life faster than your faithful observation of this rule. The clarity and power you will gain will propel you to unimaginable heights.

"Steal" good ideas.

When you see a really good marketing concept or hear a compelling sales pitch, adapt it to your own use. This does not mean you should plagiarize, but simply adapt the concepts to your needs. I used to go to the post office on Saturday mornings and load up on dozens of unopened direct mail pieces which I would "steal" from the waste bins. I would then take them home and analyze them. I stole a treasure-trove of brilliant ideas from America's leading direct mail experts.

Go a little crazy from time to time.

Think of the most audacious, unexpected and exhilarating thing you can do to increase your sales.

What are you waiting for?

Get the fix in.

Play like the big boys and get the fix in. I'm not talking about bribing politicians or public officials. (There's enough of that already going on.) I'm talking about doing your sales research and marketing homework. Don't waste your time and money searching for sales in the dark. Turn the light on. Get the fix in.

Avoid attorneys.

Quite often, their interests are exactly the opposite of yours. You want a resolution of your problem. They want to bill for lots of hours. Most are professional and honest, but some will manufacture complexities to delay resolution for as long as possible. Since dealing with lawyers is stressful and expensive, have a plan to avoid them. Obviously you will need attorneys to review contracts along with a wide range of other legal "housekeeping" tasks. However, you can greatly lessen the need for litigation attorneys by simply having clear up-front written agreements. Don't forget an arbitration clause.

The mentor learns more than the protégé.

Be a mentor. Find a protégé who will value your advice and experience. You'll learn a lot.

Don't manage for the sake of management.

Some managers feel compelled to bring their authority to bear on virtually every element of the job. If your input is necessary, by all means give it. If not, get out of the way of your really effective and creative people. Your "management" may be slowing them down and they'll secretly resent it. A sure-fire way to lose good people is to over-manage them.

Set unreasonably high goals and find ways to reach them.

Shaw said, "Nothing was ever accomplished by a reasonable man." I would rewrite George's quote to read, "Nothing great was ever accomplished by a reasonable person."

Gossip not.

Gossip wastes time and diminishes you. There is an old Turkish saying, "He who gossips to you will gossip of you." Dismiss gossips and find a higher use for your time.

No deal is infinitely better than a bad deal.

Avoid bad deals both in your personal and business life. How many times have you said, "I should have known better."? The fact is, you did know better! Before entering into a time and energy-draining bad deal, there is invariably a voice inside your head warning you. Learn to listen to it.

Hit small problems between the eyes.

Ben Franklin gave us the folksy saying, "A stitch in time saves nine." Unfortunately many small problems are harder to spot than Franklin's stitch and have the potential for rapid growth. What may take you an hour to fix now can take weeks to handle later. Learn to recognize little problems and handle them right away.

Michael Dalton Johnson is the Publisher and Founder of His new book, Top Dog Recession-Busting Sales Secrets, gives you 80 invaluable lessons on recession selling from 50 leading sales experts. Click here.

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Randy Clark said...

This is near and dear to my heart. Something I found useful, as a leader, is the pinch theory of conflict management. At one time I was the most available senior Manager in an organization. Do not misunderstand what I am about to share. I love to mentor, to help, to train. I believe the only reason to consider management is because you get joy from watching others grow. With that said I hate gossip, I do not like dealing with, "He or she parked in my spot." - "They took 10 minutes extra on lunch." or "They talk about me." When I instituted the pinch procedure it almost eliminated these complaints, at least to me.

ScLoHo (Scott Howard) said...

I agree Randy,

Mentoring can be more rewarding than managing, because too many people don't manage themselves.

Last year I mentored a new co-worker who was brand new to my business, which I had been doing for 25+ years.

He soaked up knowledge and became a partner and continues to be a friend even though he has returned to his previous profession.