The Boss Twenty

Joan Marques, MBA, Doctoral Student
October, 2002

In our struggle to stay ahead of others, we often tend to disregard the most obvious aspects of success. Listed below are the twenty most logical, but also most overlooked hints in business. The "Boss" twenty:

1. The time is never right for starting a new venture. So just do it. The ones that were ignorant to recessions are the ones that prosper now.

2. Change is good, but it's not natural and hard to get used to. But once you've managed to get yourself in the mode of accepting continuous change, you're a winner!

3. Success is not tied to age or education. Education may help you in determining a strategy, and age may calm you down, but being young certainly doesn't eliminate you from earning millions in a decent way.

4. Know your personal ethical standards, and stick to them. They will guide you in making appropriate decisions.

5. Identify your goals. If you don't have any, you are just a wanderer who deserves to be wherever he ends up.

6. Lay out your strategy. There are several ways to get from point A to point B. Which one do you choose? However...

7. Always have one or two back up plans ready: if your initial strategy doesn't work for some reason, you can't afford to be knocked out. So be prepared!

8. Be able to zoom out and in: zooming out is leadership; zooming in is management. When you perform leadership, you think long-term. When performing management, you mainly focus on short-term outcomes.

9. Value diversity. Working with people from different backgrounds and cultures may not deliver short-term profits, but it sure is a long-term jackpot! Think of the possibilities: a diverse workplace enables all kinds of customers to identify with your organization.

10. Flirt with technology. Keep yourself aware of the latest developments, but only apply them to your company if the environment is ready for it. Newer is not necessarily better.

11. Always, always, always build your decisions around the 5 main focus points of your organization: the people, the environment, the strategy, the size of the organization, and the technology.

12. Trust the people who work with you. Give them ownership and recognition. Show them that you respect them. Remember: you reap what you sow.

13. Listen to- and involve: subordinates, customers, family members, friends, and competitors. Keep yourself abreast of everything that's out there. Communication is the key here. You never know when you need the information.

14. Know your focus: are you a price-breaker, a quality-enhancer, or a customer-accommodator? Each of these requires a different approach.

15. Always give a little more than expected. To everyone! It will pleasantly surprise them and create goodwill. You may need that someday!

16. Discard arrogance. You don't know anything anyway. None of us do. There's just too much out there. Therefore: accept your humility and respect everyone. You never know when you'll meet them again...and how.

17. Know your weaknesses and subsequently attract those people that can complement them. No need to find a force of people with similar skills. You need holistic perfection.

18. Adapt to different situations. If you plan on operating in a new market, ask for advice. There is no one single way that works for all circumstances. Nowhere, and surely not in business.

19. Look and unmask! Blessings sometimes disguise themselves as disasters, vice versa. Be perceptive enough to see what others tend to overlook. That will make you stand out.

20. Don't forget yourself. In your attempts to please others you may forget to pat your own shoulder now and then. But remember, what would you be without...yourself?