In my career, I’ve made my share of mistakes. In an effort to try to avoid repeating these mistakes, I have generated a list of “Rules of the Road” that I share with colleagues, friends and, especially, those who report to me in the hope that others can avoid some of the uncomfortable, productivity-disrupting moments that I have had to endure. I shared the first five Rules in my previous post.
After all of these years of working in professional services organizations directly for and with equity owners, I occasionally still find myself in uncomfortable situations, and almost always, upon reflection I see that my discomfort stems from a violation of my own rules. The balance of my list of Rules mostly cover moment-to-moment conduct of business.
6. Delegate. Just because you receive an assignment from me or anyone else, does not mean that I expect you to do it personally. Find your highest and best use, and spend time there. If an activity is not at your highest and best use, try to place it where it can be more appropriately handled.
7. Complete your staff work. Don’t offload onto me or others work (like footing columns of numbers or spell- or fact-checking) that you could have done yourself. If you want me or anyone else to make a decision, bring me accurate timely facts on which I can make a decision — facts that truthfully reflect all points of view.
8. Don’t overcommunicate. When there’s something that needs my attention, make sure to make a note about what I am supposed to do. Do not copy me on correspondence that is unnecessary for me to see given the fact that I am empowering you to make decisions and take actions.
9. Avoid commitments that do not directly relate to the point of sale. No committees. As few meetings as possible. No side tracks.
10. Act as though you own this business.
11. Help everyone you can. If you say that you will help, you are obligated to do so. I can help you turn down work, but there must be good reasons for doing so. Once you have accepted an assignment, you are totally on the hook to finish it.
12. Make it happen. Stir the pot. Keep the balls in the air. Precision and control are less important than high levels of productive activity. Remember that running is “controlled falling.” We want to run.
13. Make me proud.
14. Have fun.
What are the rules of YOUR road? Feel free to share your own “Rules of the Road.”