Monday, June 27, 2005

Curious about the CEO’s Secret Handbook? The July Issue of Business 2.0 Has the Lowdown

The minute I took my July issue of Business 2.0 out of the mailbox, I was intrigued. In large bold letters the cover proclaimed, “The CEO’s Secret Handbook - Warren Buffet Sent It to 100 Friends, Jim Collins Calls it Good to Great, and You Can’t Buy It. We Have Exclusive Excerpts.”

Talk about compelling copy! I could hardly wait to get home and open it.

Described in the magazine, “The tiny handbook has become an underground hit among senior executives and management thinkers. Written by Bill Swanson, CEO of aerospace contractor Raytheon, Swanson’s Unwritten Rules of Management is part Ben Franklin and part Yogi Berra, with a dash of Confucius thrown in.”

I am going to share my thoughts on a few of the excerpts that especially rang a bell with me, but I would suggest purchasing the magazine if you don’t have a subscription, so that you can log onto their website and read extra comments by business leaders. They are enlightening!

Most of the ideas and rules are common sense,
but also great reminders.

Learn to say `I don’t know.’ If used when appropriate, it will be used often.” When we are giving a presentation and/or involved in a meeting or a class, we are much more respected if we are willing to admit that we don’t know an answer to a question. Others will know immediately when we try to fake an answer. Much better to admit a lack of knowledge and say, “I’ll research that and get back to you.”

One of the quickest ways to make enemies is to not follow this rule: “Never direct a complaint to the top; a serious offense is to `cc’ a person’s boss on a copy of a complaint before the person has a chance to respond.” It is like being a tattle tale when by talking to the person in question first, you can often resolve an issue and make a friend in the process.

Most of us don’t crave criticism, but “If you are not criticized, you may not be doing much.” I love the line, “Problems are not like wine and cheese; they don’t get better with age.” Much wiser for us to take the risks and face the criticism that often follows.

This next rule is one of my favorites, “A person who is nice to you but rude to the waiter - or to others - is not a nice person. (This rule never fails.)” Having been a server (waitress) for many years, this rule really hits home. It is the real jerks that treat people they feel are of lower status with a subtle form of condescension or even masked contempt. Just remember that everyone is important no matter what their station in life is!

And, my all time favorite is almost a mantra with me. “Have fun at what you do. It will be reflected in your work. No one likes a grump except another grump!” Have you ever noticed that if you keep a bounce in your step and a smile on your face, the people you pass on the street or in a store smile back. Yes, happiness and laughter definitely beget more laughter.

I would love to get my hands on the full 76 page handbook, but, at least, we have a good taste of what it holds and proposes. Do check it out, and let me know what you think.