Top 5 business maxims that need to go

Same same

It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble.
It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.
– Josh Billings (or Mark Twain or Artemus Ward or…)

Much well-known business advice is sadly obsolete but can still be found in articles, business books and, not least, in daily use in the workplace. It seems that some companies are still guided by thinking that is sadly out of date – if it was ever true to begin with.

The worst of these old maxims are not only wrong, they’re bad for people and bad for business. Businesses who use them are making their employees unhappy and are harming the bottom line.

Here’s my pick of the top 5 business maxims in serious need of an update – with a suggested replacement for each.

UPDATE: Now there’s also a Part II post with 5 more horrendous pieces of business advice.

Old maxim #1: Failure is not an option

Meaning: We absolutely, positively must succeed.

Guess what: No matter how many times you repeat this maxim, failure remains an option. Closing your eyes to this fact only makes you more likely to fail. Putting pressure on people to always succeed makes mistakes more likely because:

  • People who work under pressure are less effective
  • People resist reporting bad news
  • People close their eyes to signs of trouble

This is especially true when it’s backed up with punishment of those who make mistakes. Peter Drucker provocatively suggested that businesses should find all the employees who never make mistakes and fire them, because employees who never make mistakes never do anything interesting. Admitting that mistakes happen and dealing constructively with them when they do makes mistakes less likely.

Also, failure is often the path to new, exciting opportunities that wouldn’t have appeared otherwise. Closing your eyes to failure means closing your eyes to these opportunities.

New maxim: Failure happens. Deal with it.

Old maxim #2: The customer is always right

Meaning: The customer is king. We satisfy our customers’ every need.

No. No, no, no. This tired business maxim often means that loyal hardworking employees are scorned in favor of unreasonable customers. It also, ironically, results in bad customer service.

I recently wrote a post outlining 5 reasons “The Customer Is Always Right” is wrong, concluding that sticking to “The customer is always right” makes employees unhappy and that unhappy employees almost always give customers bad service.

New maxim: Happy employees means happy customers.

Old maxim #3: Never be satisfied

Meaning: You can never be satisified and complacent in business. You’ve always gotta want more.

This is a bad mistake which rests on a very fundamental misconception, namely that being satisfied means that you stop acting. That satisfaction breeds complacency and therefore that a happy, satisifed company will be passive. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, a constant sense of dissatifaction in an organization sends one powerful message: We’re not good enough! The irony is that this results in worse performance.

People who constantly appreciate all the good in their organization and express their satisifaction create a much more positive working environment characterized by more:

  • Motivation
  • Energy
  • Self-confidence
  • Happiness at work

This is not about closing your eyes and pretending things are great if they’re not. It’s about appreciating the fact that people in constant states of dissatisfaction erode an organization’s will and ability to act. The trick is to appreciate what you have and still aim for more.

Replacement: Always be appreciative but never complacent.
UPDATE: “but never complacent” added thanks to Colin G.’s excellent suggestion.

Old maxim #4: Nice guys finish last

Meaning: We can’t be too nice in business. In fact, being nice may hinder your career and impede results.

That’s just not true, of course we should be nice at work. This doesn’t mean that you have to be nice to all of the people all of the time, but it means that you absolutely can be a nice person and succeed in business. I previously wrote about jerks at work and why they’re bad for business. The conclusion: Unpleasant people hurt the bottom line. In a networked world reputation matters, and it’s more important to be generous and likeable than to be ruthless and efficient.

New maxim: Nice guys get the job done.

Old maxim #5: Grow or die

Meaning: A business is either growing or dying. A business can’t be successful if it’s not growing.

It’s interesting to see how growth has been elevated to an automatic good, questioned by very few businesses and executives. Growth certainly has some positive effects especially because it creates new possibilities and challenges for an organization and its people. I’m not saying that growth is bad but that growth isn’t always right for every business. Sometimes a business might be better off spending a quarter or a year not growing but simply consolidating existing business. Consequently not growing or even shrinking does not automatically represent business failure.

That’s what Semco’s CEO Ricard Semler meant when he said this:

There is no correlation between growth and ultimate success. For a while growth seems very glamorous, but the sustainability of growth is so delicate that many of the mid-sized companies which just stayed where they were doing the same thing are much better off today than the ones that went crazy and came back to nothing. There are too many automobile plants, too many airplanes. Who is viable in the airline business?

If someone asks me, ‘where will you be in 10 years’ time?’, I haven’t got the slightest idea. I don’t find it perturbing either if we said, ‘look, in 10 years’ time Semco could have 500 people instead of 3,000 people'; that sounds just as interesting as 21,000 people. I’d hate to see Semco not exist in 10, 20, 50 years’ time, but what form it exists in, what business it’s in and what size it is are not particularly relevant.

Growing also entails its own risks, especially fast growth on borrowed money. This almost killed Patagonia in the early 90’s. Founder Yvon Chouinard says this:

It was back in 1990 or so and we were growing the company by 40 to 50 percent a year and we were doing it by all the textbook business ways — adding more dealers, adding more products, building stores. Growing it like the American dream, you know — grow, grow, grow. And one year we predicted 40 to 50 percent growth and there was a recession and all the sudden we only grew 20 percent. And at the same time, our bank was going belly-up and we had cash-flow problems and it went to absolute hell. And I had been the person who had never bought anything on credit in all my life. I always paid cash for everything, and to have to call someone and say, “I’m sorry, I can’t pay my bills this month,” was killing me. And I realized that I was on the same track as society was — endless growth for the sake of growth.

That’s when I decided to put the brakes on and decided to grow at a more natural rate — which basically means that only when our customers want something do we make more, but we don’t prime the pump.

New maxim: Grow when you gotta.

Wrap-up

The scary thing about maxims is that they’re often accepted unquestioningly because they come in the shape of old addages which are repeated – a little like nursery rhymes used to educate children. That means it’s not enough to oust the old maxims we need to replace them with new ones that are guaranteed to bring better results for people and for the bottom line.

Here they are at a glance, the tired maxims and the suggested replacements:


Tired old maxim New maxim
Failure is not an option Failure happens – deal with it
The customer is always right Happy employees means happy customers
Never be satisfied Always be appreciative but never complacent
Nice guys finish last Nice guys get results
Grow or die Grow when you gotta

I’m working on another post called, in a fit of almost supernatural creativity, five more business maxims that need to go. Do you know any that belong on the list? Tell me about it in the comments.

If you liked this post, I think you’ll also enjoy these:

107 thoughts on “Top 5 business maxims that need to go”

  1. I couldn’t agree more. The five maxims are old industrial thinking and they do not reflect the reality af the knowledge-based organization. In the “collaborative organization” that I have described inmy recent book, The Second Cycle – Winning the War against Bureaucracy” I highligt four aspects of a winning organization: 1) A meaning beyond profit, 2) Partnership, 3) Collaborative Organization, and 4) Value-based leadership. In such an organization failures occur because employees are liberated to do their best, customers are partners, i.e. they are not always right, managers encourage rather than control (appreciative), everybody must behave decently (nice guys) and growth is not a goal in itself – rather a consequence of doing things right.
    What has to go? Here are a few suggestions:
    a) Managers have the right to manage – no no, they have the duty to lead.
    b) Managers must keep the organization organized – no no they must ensure that the organization is disorganized because that is what innovation takes.
    c) Employees and employers are opposites – no no they are partners with common goals.

  2. Another interesting post. I think your posts are solidly founded in the Scandinavian welfare model. I would be interested in reading a post about how to deal with incompetent people, can you fire them? Should you hug them?

  3. Great article, with one observation. I don’t think “Always be appreciative” is insightful enough to qualify as a maxim. Taken literally, which you shouldn’t do with maxims but frequently they are, you should be appreciative of mediocre successes. That is OK to a limited extent, but it shouldn’t preclude further drive to improve, which can easily happen. Perhaps a minor addition of “Be appreciative, but not complacent” would be positive, descriptive, yet brief enough for a quality maxim.

  4. impeed now fixed so it no longer impedes the text :o)

    Moneymatador: That’s actually a great question, which I will be writing a post on soon. I wrote a little about it in the Happy At Work book, in this chapter: http://positivesharing.com/2006/06/what-doesnt-make-people-happy-at-work/

    Look for the section called job security. My position briefly: Making people happy at work absolutely requires that you fire people who don’t fit in. Not necesarilly at the first sign of trouble but as soon as it becomes clear that they’re not contributing and can’t be helped so that they will.

    Colin G: Your version is way better than mine, thanks! I’ll update the post accordingly.

  5. Lars: Thanks for the feedback – your book is an excellent example of challenging conventional business wisdom. And thanks for the suggestions for more tired business maxims, they’re going on the next list.

  6. Nicely done.

    I have one suggestion, though it isn’t so much a maxim as a cliche: “take it to the next level”. It is painfully overused by managers as a way of saying “just make it better than it is now”.

    I would like this phrase to go away, because I now get a nervous tic whenever I hear it.

  7. Perhaps we could also deprecate the use of the phrase “Guess what”, which usually means “I think this is obvious, and if you don’t, you must be stupid.”

  8. Thanks for another good article – however, the opening quote (one of my faves) is a little wrong and misattributed:

    “It ain’t so much the things we don’t know that get us into trouble. It’s the things we know that just ain’t so.”
    – Artemis Ward

  9. WRT to the “grow or die” issue, it seems that major universities have taken that maxim to the extreme. Campuses, especially publicly funded universities, have been going through an unprecedented building boom in the past few years. I think this is going to come back to haunt them at some point since it seems the growth is outrunning all sense of proportion and has reached levels of absurdity–growth for the sheer sake of growth. The upkeep of all that infrastructure may saddle them (and taxpayers) in monumental debt with little to show for it. Of course, this is just a humble observation from someone who has no dog in the fight.

    My other observation of private businesses I have worked at is there are too many MBAs with zero talent for anything.

  10. Maybe not a maxim but still… Businesses should follow clear, simple terminology not marketing jargon to impress or confuse people. This is an unwritten rule almost everywhere with certain managers…

    #5 implies that short term loss maybe deliberately undertaken for long term growth. Please flesh this fact out.

    Lars mentioned this point ‘A meaning beyond profit’ but have something on mindless and mindful cost-cutting, which in turn is related to #5…

  11. How about this one: Leave your personal life at home

    While we don’t have the right to unneccesarily burden our co-workers and boss with a heart on our sleeve, we are entire people when we are hired so you get everything that effects us. The above is the ostrich approach by the employer of abdicating offering any kind of assistance or outreach.

    Plus…..how much business is not left at the office either literally in work taken home, to encroaching on home time by needing to stay late to meet deadlines, to the mental processing that goes on once one is away from the workplace.

  12. Kirsten, David, Scott, Michael, Amit: Thanks for the suggestions. They’re going on the list.

    Amar: Change is important but “Always be open to change” strikes me as a little simplistic. I recently talked to a CEO who mostly attributed his company’s success to the fact that they’d resisted change for some years, opting instead to perfect what they’re already doing.

    Is there a more nuanced way to phrase it?

    goldenbb: Great example. What are they going to do in a few years when the falling birth rates start impactinh the number of students?

    Missbossy: Thanks for the tip I hadn’t seen that on – MAN that’s excellent!

  13. These new rules are just as simplistic as the original 5. 4 of the original 5 are perfectly valid if you add ” just don’t be stupid about it.”, or some variation, to each one of them. Which should go without saying, of course.

    example: “The customer is always right, just don’t be stupid about it.”

  14. I hope you do not give advice for a living. The “myths” you debunk have all been proven for decades. They may not be valid in the “new economy” but they are very valid in the real world. Clients can fire you….. employees can’t. That is simple common sense. Failure is definitely an option…. for those who intent to lose. Complacency is great for those who have gone as far as they intent to go, Stagnation is surely the way to advance thinking. Finally, as far as I know- Nice guys finish last is not a business maxim in the first place. Some of the nicest people I have ever known also happen to have been the most successful in business. I hope you weren’t actually paid to write this drivel. I have no doubt however that you are a nice guy.

  15. Yeah, I agree with you :). The comment was more of a catalyst than a fully flushed out idea. I think resisting change and reacting to change are different things. I am not implying one must always “react to change” but that one must not blindly resist change or fear change.

    I am assuming the CEO you mentioned did not decide that he was not going to change years in advance. I am guessing he made conscious decision to not change at every instance when change was possible. I think this is only done by thinking through the implications of the change instead of taking a rigid stance or fearing change.

  16. Bill,
    companies should have guiding principles. In the absence of them, employees spontaneously develop an institutional culture that embodies values implicit in the decisions leaders make. Whether you call it maxims, mantras or an ideology, these thoughts are meant to guide positive decisions.

    Dave Warner,
    I hope you are not a company leader. You seem like a negative person. Explain how these mantras have been proven? I don’t think they have as companies all followed them leaving no room for competition with potentially better ideologies. I work for a company staunchly in the “old-real” economy. We reject these old maxims and follow the new ones, except for growth (which we do temper). We have been perennially profitable with good employee relations, in an industry awash in losses and poor employee relations. While they all may not work in all situations, there must be something to these new mantras.

  17. “Failure is not an option” does not lead to true success, only the illusion of success. It leads to projects whose goals are so mediocre that failure isn’t possible, but the “success” is hardly worth the effort. At worst, this kind of thinking leads to cover ups, problems and failures being unreported or falsely reported. Look at how many times Microsoft has failed. Or Google. Or McDonald’s. Pick any leader. Increased failure rates lead to increased success rates. If you’re not failing, you’re not trying or risking enough.

    The things in life (and business) which are true are often counter-intuitive, even paradoxical, and in no way do they resemble “common sense.”

  18. “Failure is not an option” is a perfectly fine sentiment when used appropriately, e.g., rescuing Apollo 13, building a bridge, or those rare make-or-break moments. But it becomes counterproductive when used as a mantra. Its cousin is a “zero tolerance policy,” especially for things that are not entirely in employees’ control (e.g., computer viruses, customer complaints).

    One criticism: I can’t believe you didn’t include “work smarter, not harder” in your top five!

    One last point: If you replace “Grow or Die” and “Never Be Satisfied” with “Adapt or Die” then you’ve actually got a pretty reasonable maxim, keeping in mind that 1) adaptation only makes sense as a response to changing competition or a changing environment; 2) adaptation can take many forms (behavioral, physical, short-term, long-term); and 3) adaptation is impossible without some failures.

  19. With respect to #1, I’ve had the misfortune of working for companies that have taken this maxim to heart. The most recent one is a darling of the biotech industry but “out-of-the-blue” (not) lost its CEO, showed major losses and even reported its balance sheet ahead of its income statement in this most recent SEC 10K!

    Sadly only engineers spend a lot of time learning about feedback systems. One nugget from the subject: reducing system errors to zero is *mathematically* the same thing as approaching “open-loop” or having an uncontrolled control system. If you have zero error in your system you no longer have any control of the system which means *any* small random change in the environment can send the system wildly off in *any* random direction with the full force of the system.

    This is not how you want to operate any system, be it an engineering machine or a business, or a country (e.g. nanny-state = zero feedback).

  20. A more insightful article would be examples from the real world, how are the new companies doing business. What’s happening at google, ebay, yahoo, amazon, microsoft, ibm, exxon – how are these people doing business? How are they evolving? What’s their new managment all about? Do that research and report back to us, I’d pay to read that.

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  22. Greetings to All!

    This was (is) an amazing blog, it is my first time reading it and as a small business owner who just entered the market this year, it really refreshed my spirit and confirmed my initial intuition, which was that, at the end of the day, being a pleasant, helpful businessperson with realistic and genuine goals would work for the best.

    As for other maxims which in the spirit of these “ruthless adages” as you call them, how about “Always Be Closing” by I believe Gordon Gecko of Wall Street fame?

    In retail, especially in home and garden decor where buying decisions take time and customers like to comparison shop, I think “Always Be Courteous” works best because today, your biggest competition is how well educated and informed your customer is. Your product HAS to speak for itself, and you have to speak for YOUR service. If the two match up perfectly, the CLOSE happens naturally and fluidly.

    But then we just began our journey so what do I know :)

    Lots of appreciation and regards,
    Mohammad Khan
    http://www.importcorneronline.com

  23. I could not agree more, Mohammed: Business goes better, particularly in the long term, when you’re nice and do the right thing.

    “Always be closing” goes on the list of obsolete business advice! Thanks for the suggestion and thanks for the kind words. And good luck with your business!

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  25. I think the adage about “the customer is always right” was debunked in the Rosenbluth book
    The Customer Always ComesSecond”
    You said it well – treat your employees well and they will treat the customers well.

  26. Old Maxim #6: The more hours you’ve put in, the harder you’ve been working.

    Hey there CHO. I’m Earl, 22, working with an IT company. I stumbled upon this great, great dotcom today and couldn’t agree with you more. I’ve been reading and reading and I’d like to take the next step. Add some thoughts of my own :)

    The above maxim has been used, abused, misused and of course, practiced every extra minute of every extra hour of every extra day at work. And managers love it. Don’t they? After all, isn’t it great to see your “caring” employees working hard for the organization? Even to the point of personal and familial sacrifices? Not so.

    What appalls me is how managers can endorse such a mundane work-culture when they’re…ahem…managers? I mean, weren’t managers after all, 20-something employees at some stage of their lives? WAKE UP ALREADY!!!

    New maxim: Its not about how long you work, but how efficient you are.

    Keep smiling and spreading the happiness CHO,
    Regards,
    Earl.
    (Happy to be.)

  27. Thanks for the kind words, Earl, I’m really glad you like the site.

    And I agree completely – the maxim you mention is one of the major ones we need to get rid off. Thanks for the input!

  28. I agree with the overall premise of the article. In my experience I have found that, more often than not, most businesses “program” failure into their daily activity which in turn compounds into larger problems. Lack of focus, failure to follow through, preferring form over substance are some of the reasons businesses are struggling today. There are certain principles and methods that apply to all businesses. If any of these elements are missing the result is a foregone conclusion.

  29. Having been through 2 failed telecom startups, the one phrase I heard that is completely bogus is “Nothing personal, it’s just business.” If there is a human being affected anywhere in the decision chain, then it is absolutely personal for somebody. When someone says, “nothing personal, it’s just business” the person saying this is usually benefiting from the decision and screwing someone else over.

  30. Two other common sayings at work that I hate: “Are we having fun yet?”, nearly always said to an over-stressed employee (me) by someone in disconnected management or sales, who’s making ten times more than I am (and, as a result, is able to have much more fun than I can afford); and my favorite pet-peeve, “Get with the program!”. This is a demeaning insult, implying that: a.) you don’t understand the system like the rest of us do; and b.) you better do it the way it’s been defined (“be a good robot”), or else.
    Sorry, I’m a little sensitive about those…
    This is a -great- site, and I’m finding -lots- of inspiration here! Rock on!

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  32. Failure is not an option cost me 2 years of my life. Our management was convinced that if we kept throwing more and more resources at a fundamental design flaw on a new product, we would punch through and become an overnight success. “Failure is not an option” grew into a mantra to work weekends, holidays, duplicate tests, and increasing desperation. Abbreviated as FINO – our problem now had a logo and desk stickers. Our team, the worker bees stuck with doing all the testing, innovating, the working smarter AND harder, renamed it “Failure is now obvious”. Which it was. Except to the managers who had a stake in seeing the development succeed. It took 2 years of testing and innovating and screaming and yelling to realize that the laws of physics are still inviolable.

    Failure is not an option is self-defeating. Fail fast is a mantra. If you’re not learning, failing is just a lifestyle choice. Maxims and cliches are crutches for those who don’t want to think for themselves. An Axiom, however, is something that always holds. Which is why these maxims are cliches and not axioms. “Good pitching will beat good hitting” is an axiom, because, well, if they’re hitting, it’s not good pitching.

    Fail-safe, fail-soft, multiple redundancy, these are system approaches to handling failures and can be incorporated into a design. They aren’t cliches, they are design approaches. They assume that failure is a possibility and deal with it. That’s an adult approach.

  33. I don’t like the last two replacement maxims. I don’t think they really communicate what is important about the points in question.

    I offer instead: “Goodwill has enduring value that’s better invested than sold.”
    and: “Allocate assets to high returns.”

    Whether to grow a business depends on its return on assets. A profitable company with a low return on assets has no excuse for growing instead of returning those profits to the shareholder.

  34. Dear Mr. Kjerulf,

    I wanted to tell you about a recent Harvard study that supports an assertion you make in your article Top 5 Business Maxims That Need To Go”. Specifically I am referring to the “old” maxim that nice guys finish last. Your new maxim “Nice guys get the job done” was supported by the findings. Michele Norris of National Public Radio (US) reported on the research findings this week. It was a 4 minutes report which you can listen to here:

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=88607500

    More detailed reports can be found in The Boston Herald newspaper and the Scientific Journal Nature. If you are interested you can see the links below. both have at the links below:

    http://www.bostonherald.com/news/regional/general/view.bg?articleid=1081491

    http://www.nature.com/nature/index.html

    I read several articles on your website today and enjoyed them very much.

    There are a few common aspects of corporate culture that Id be interested to read your opinions on, if you ever feel inclined to address them on your site.

    The first is that “Working smarter, not harder” only goes so far . . . you cannot incrementally add an infinite amount of work with seeing the quality suffer. When you give an employee too much work you set them up for failure. This frequently happens when a position becomes unexpectedly vacant and his or her duties are assigned to someone else. Sometimes they can manage the extra load for a while but eventually it can often de-motivate an employee to the point that they begin looking for work elsewhere. If the person can adequately handle the newly added duties, the responsibilities become permanent so that there is no need to fill the vacant position. Very often they are not compensated at all.

    If you have a formerly outstanding employee whose work seems to be slipping it is not always “problems at home”.

    The other point is that many people are so overloaded that there is always something crucial on the back burner that they dont have time to address.

    Finally I have never worked for a company where visits by the CEO or some other top level exec have not been pre announced. The result is everyone panicking to hide their skeletons and orchestrate a dog and pony show for the top brass.

    All of the above are related. I really think many execs do not have a good enough understanding of the workflow and processes they over see to appreciate the potentially negative consequences of their decisions.

  35. They say that on average a true entrepreneur will fail at their startups several times before hitting upon a successful and profitable business. I cannot agree more. We must not forget the importance of being daring enough “To” make a mistake and to learn from them.

    Farrah Ashline

  36. My son was wanting to give our mutual employer ‘two weeks notice’. I told him not to. Still, motivated by some noble sense of honor, he spoke with the foreman about his intentions.

    In less than ten minutes he had been ushered to the door, accused of disloyalty to the company for ever wanting to leave.

    I don’t know how to phrase this as a maxim except to say that “Punishing employees for giving notice makes staffing problems certain.”

  37. HI,
    Loved your challenging th 5 myths. You are so right. As Dr. Appreciation for 30 yrs, I would agree with the earlier comment that
    always being appreciative without distinguishing great from mediocre performance is risky.
    My favorite 2 business myths are: 1. Change is difficult and painful 2. Everyone resists change. As a Ph.D. in Change Leadership, pioneering positive change 30 yrs. ago ( I know, too early, the downside of being a futurist), I learned from clients that this myth I was taught in grad. school was just the opposite of the truth. Thousands of clients have all hungered for change, IF they have a positive safe environment to go for it. They did not resist change with my positive appreciative systems, they flourished. But what they did resist: The omnipresent traditional “find out what’s wrong and fix it” change method. Duh! No one wants to be the what’s wrong. When we engaged their best in the change process, nothing could stop their forging agead to great results, with much fun! More myths bite the dust!

  38. Hey! These sound a lot like the values EBBF tries to promote actively in business life. You seem to share their values, take a look :) it’s a great great forum of people. All the best :)

  39. I’ learning a lot from your posts – very interesting, very relevant to work and everyday life. I want to read more, please keep me in the loop.

  40. This is a really cool list. I especially like #1 – Failure is not an option…well it may not be an option but there are things in life we will fail at.

    Great Job!

    Thanks,
    Michelle

  41. You are so right! As an expert in positive appreciative leadership for 30 years (I was the lonely pioneer), I can attest to your accuracy. And here is one more, my favorite that is blatantly untrue: No pain, no gain!
    All my positive leadership systems are about less pain more gain, and they work!! The less pain, the more gain. The strengths-based expert approach and systems create zero fear, zero pain and zero resistance to change. Just the opposite of what I was taught in grad. school in the old problem-solving model. No wonder I got in trouble there when I started my appreciative leadership work–just the opposite of what they were teaching me. Hohohohoho! It’s been a blast strengthening results and people. I have books too! http://www.whatyousayiswhatyouget.com
    Thanks so much for speaking out on this–I love it!!
    Dr. LInne Bourget MA MBA Ph.D.

  42. I really like the first one…failure happens deal with it; I think we all need to understand this as leaders of people and business.
    It may be possible to keep winning always however it may come at a very high price that the individual pays.

  43. “being nice may hinder your career and impede results”

    While this is not true at the lower levels of a company, it must be nearly always true at the director’s level and above. The power-hungry are driven to power, and niceness is not only not required, but is likely to hamper the typically ambitious.

    I hope I misunderstand how power politics work, but I suspect that it is what I think it is.

  44. I am definitely agreed! Happy employees means happy customers..This is like this business formula:
    happy employees = happy customers = better business
    It is one of the key things to remember in business. Thanks for sharing!

  45. I agree with the list of tired business maxims. However instead of the “Grow when you gotta” alternative I like to emphasize that unless we are improving we as individuals or as organizations are standing still or moving backwards. You need to improve to maintain what you have, and it may also lead to growth. Sticking to the tried and true leads to stagnancy and boredom.

    The need to grow (or win) is a part of our culture but instead of the alternative that some preach to their children when they are involved in activities “to just have fun”, as in business, we also need to try and get better at whatever it is we are doing – both are important.

  46. “At the end of the day…”
    “You people are ACCEPTING POOR behavior from your managers…”
    “I’m not going to stand for…”
    “Get engaged…”

  47. “It’s not personal…” “It’s just business.” — Life is very personal. Businesses consist of people, who are persons, who have feelings and need to be listened and paid attention to, and treated with the same respect you expect to be treated. There are something that are not personal, business decisions, etc. I believe it’s often beneficial to explain business decisions, especially where a lot of time and effort has been put in so as to avoid the feeling from any one that something is not personal. Even such as basic statement as: “I’ve heard and listened to and thought about everybody’s input, and here’s what I’ve decided… and why…”

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