I've been working on various forms of my Master Presentation, pretty much fulltime, for the last couple of weeks. A Post yesterday started a rather vigorous discussion about success "rules" that withstand the test of time. Virtually nothing—you, me, the corporation, the nation—withstands the test of time. And one of the principal reasons is hardening of the philosophical arteries—increasingly rigid interpretations of yesterday's "success" rules.
So I outright reject success "rules" or "eternal" principles. Nonetheless (whoops, here it comes), you gotta do something. What follows is as far as I will go. My first list has three items:
Cause (worthy of commitment)
Space (room for/encouragement for initiative-adventures)
Decency (respect, grace, integrity, humanity)
That is, find something useful that turns folks on, give them a lot of room to try their own interpretations thereof—and offer them the respect they deserve for participating in the game with commitment and determination.
I actually like my second list better, consisting of some four items:
Hire Great People (Resilient, Passionate)
Try a Lot of Stuff (S.A.V.-Screw Around Vigorously/R.F.A.—Ready. Fire. Aim.)
All "Wow" All the Time (Shoot for the moon—in every circumstance)
Enjoy It While It Lasts (And it ain't gonna last forever, so you might as well keep swinging)
I find I have a kindred spirit in Mayor Mike. The current (06.25.07) BusinessWeek extracts business lessons from Bloomberg's tenure at City Hall in New York. The article is first-rate, but this Blooombergism elicited a loud "Yeeeeeeeeeeessssss" from me:
"In business, you reward people for taking risks. When it doesn't work out, you promote them because they were willing to try new things. If people come back and tell me they skied all day and never fell down, I tell them to try a different mountain."
This perfectly complements a quote I've used in my presentations lifted from MB's book, Bloomberg by Bloomberg:
"We made mistakes, of course. Most of them were omissions we didn't think of when we initially wrote the software. We fixed them by doing it over and over, again and again. We do the same today. While our competitors are still sucking their thumbs trying to make the design perfect, we're already on prototype version #5. By the time our rivals are ready with wires and screws, we are on version #10. It gets back to planning versus acting: We act from day one; others plan how to plan—for months."
Amen. And: Amen.
For your amusement, I've included three—count 'em—versions of a presentation simply called, with tongue in cheek, "The 'Rules.'" There's a VERY short version, a SHORT version and a "standard" (longer) version.
Just keep throwin' that spaghetti against the wall, folks ...