Lessons Learned

While preparing for an upcoming class I’ll be teaching on leadership and relationships, I came across another masterpiece from my Incredibly Succesful Career (ISC).  This was written in 1999. Just think about all that has occurred since we ended the last millennium.

I wrote this to my business unit at the intergalactic agency.  It was titled “My Goals.”  It was a reflective piece at the time and actually still is.  As I wrote in the preamble:  “I demand these of myself and hope for these in others.  Whether these attributes actually exist in each of us is not the point.  The point is we should all aspire to them.”

I thought I’d share them with you.  Some of these I read or stole and others I’ve developed over many years of trial and error. I’ve added a few along the way, as well.   The point is they all still apply — even in this millennium.  Enjoy.

Jan’s Goals

1.  Create a balanced team that produces consistent, high-quality ideas.
–  Attract the best people at every position.
–  Understand each job in the company, and its value to you and the company.
–  Treat each person and every job function with respect.
–  Create quality at every level, in every product detail.

2.  Create an environment that fosters personal and professional growth.
–  Decentralize authority. Give good people the responsibility to get the job done and the authority to do the job well —  then get out of the way.
–  Recognize and accommodate individual growth.
–  Know the difference between someone doing something wrong, versus that person doing something differently than you would do it.
–  Communicate everything with your people.  By providing full disclosure of good news and bad, you are saying, “I trust you.”  Your openness and honesty will be rewarded by their desire to help solve problems.

3.  Create an environment that’s honest, productive, friendly and fun.
–  Match people’s strengths with their jobs.
–  Respect the personal rights of your colleagues.
–  Be tolerant of others’ personalities and their quirks.
–  Judge success by the quality of the work, not by where the work was done or by how long the work took to complete.
–  Avoid politics.
–  Eliminate gossip.

4.  Grow fast enough to compete with the best firms and slow enough to integrate and manage the growth.
–  Grow the business fast enough to match the growth of talented people.
–  Grow coherently: keep the entrepreneurial qualities that got you here.
–  Know that growth is inspiring to your best people and encourage them to seek out profitable growth opportunities.

5.  Build a reputation for great ideas, great results.
–  Publicize your innovation to feed the pipeline for future great employees.
–  Promote your best examples in every possible venue.  Your prospective new clients and customers should know you as problem solvers and great thinkers.
–  Your peers should know you as winners.  Make the public aware of your business practices, your results and your unique skills.
–  Own your point of difference and make it your competitive advantage.

6.  Reward your people for their success.
–  Provide salaries that compete with the best in the business allowing for differences in talent, experience and geography.
–  Provide bonuses that incentivize and reward significant contributions to your fame and fortune.
–  Be known as the company that takes care of its people and rewards them.  Make it hard for competitors to steal your best and brightest.
–  Demand as much of yourselves as you do of your subordinates and colleagues.

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