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Playbook for 2009

Business Philosophy | Guiding Principles | Lessons Learned


Business Philosophy:

  • The way an enterprise does business is as important as the business it is in.

  • Successful enterprises have a sense of purpose grounded in Vision, Mission and Values.

  • Incentive compensation systems must reflect known business goals and objectives.

  • We can’t manage what we don’t measure.

  • Control what you can and anticipate what is not under your control; look around corners and have the courage to seize opportunity.

  • Any business enterprise must be viewed and managed by its leaders as an integrated whole.

  • When the going gets rough, maintain a positive outlook and wear a brave face; but never attempt to hide reality from your employees as you will surely undermine your own credibility and your ability to lead.

Guiding Principles:

  • Manage Conflict; it won’t resolve itself if ignored.

  • Time matters; act with urgency.

  • Looking inward, solve for the greatest good of the enterprise; Looking outward, put the customer first.

  • Benchmark for success; against competitors’ best practices and against commitments made to all stakeholders - - fellow employees, customers, suppliers, partners and investors.

  • Value both individuality and teamwork; innovation often comes from individuals pursuing their ideas but success is tied directly to the ability of people to work as a team.

  • Keep Character; if you think people aren’t watching you, you’re wrong.

  • Spend Other People’s Money the way you spend Your Own Money.

  • Treat your employees with care; scared chickens don’t lay eggs.

  • Keep your commitments.

  • Avoid surprises

  • Don’t handle dead snakes; once you’ve moved beyond an investment or discarded an initiative, let it go.

  • Promote the power of “And” / Defeat the tyranny of “Or” [It should never be a choice between releasing a new product on time “Or” adhering to quality standards; it has to be on time with quality!  It is not a choice between increasing top line growth “Or” controlling costs; it has to be both. Etc.]

Lessons Learned:

  • Always try to reduce complexity; it is the enemy.
  • Innovation is often born of constraint.
  • Take personal responsibility; set standards and demonstrate your commitment to the greater good of your organization.
  • Hold yourself and others accountable for their actions and results.
  • Don’t expect what you don’t inspect.
  • There is no substitute for intellectual honesty.
  • Invest, don’t spend.
  • Our fate, ultimately, is in “How” we do things.
  • What goes around comes around; if you live by the sword you’ll die by the sword.
  • Top Fifteen List of what’s important for you to “Know”

1)    The Charter of your organization.

2)    What’s core to your business success.

3)    What’s critical to quality from your customer’s perspective.

4)    The business context/climate in which you are operating.

5)    What’s “in scope” and What’s “out of scope” for the project on which you are working; don’t bite off more than you can chew and after that, watch out for scope creep.

6)    Who are your Friends and who are your Enemies.

7)    Your Cost Drivers; drive them down without compromising quality.

8)    The difference between Right & Wrong; Integrity is everything.

9)    Your Values; consider them the light to guide you in the dark and your compass when you are in the woods and need to find true north.

10) What makes you Happy!

11) The value of your time.

12) Your own limitations and limits; we are all human.

13) Your  “Place”; you’ve got to have a sense of time and place.

14) Your  “Stuff”; Hey, you’ve got to know how the business works, you’ve got to know your product line, and you’ve got to know what you are doing.

15) What’s Really important; don’t sweat the small stuff.



 One more thing:  People don’t care how much you “Know” until they know how much you “Care”