Read the Prince by Machiavelli

The Prince by Machiavelli, read it, it will teach you how the world really works. If you’re going to make a difference, it’s got to be in the real world. This world. Not in some ideal world that you would really like to live in. Machiavelli wrote a text book with some hard truths. Better…

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Work ethic can compensate for skill

Sometimes you and your team simply are not as skilled as the competition. Don’t despair, you don’t need to be the most skilled. Compare to basketball: The “full court press” is a much maligned strategy used by average teams to beat star teams. It means applying pressure over the entire court, giving the opposition no time…

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A-players take responsibility

B-players believe their errors were caused by factors outside their control: “My opponent got lucky” “The task was too hard “I just don’t have the natural ability for this” “My staff let me down” A-players, by contrast, believe they are responsible for their errors. A-players may attribute success to luck, but never failure . A-players…

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Amateurs vs professionals

Amateurs believe that the world should work the way they want it to. Professionals realize that they have to work with the world as they find it. Amateurs are scared of uncertainty and avoid surprises. Professionals feel like they are capable of handling almost anything and embrace surprises. Amateurs think they have all the answers. Professionals…

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The noise bottleneck

We think the more information we consume the more informed we will be become. Except the mind doesn’t work like that. When the volume of information increases, our ability to comprehend the relevant from the irrelevant becomes compromised. We place too much emphasis on irrelevant data and lose sight of what’s really important. In other…

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No such thing as a free pen

In business, you sometimes come across freebies. A free cap. Or free dinner. Or free flight. Or free pen. There is so such as a free pen. Everything comes with an expectation that you repay in someway. It’s pure psychology: the reciprocation bias. All humans feel indebted to anyone that gives them a gift. Feeling…

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Only crazy people waste time

If we see someone throwing money away, we call that person crazy. This bothers us, in part, because money has value. Wasting it seems crazy. And yet we see others — and ourselves — throw away something far more valuable every day: Time. If you spend your time meeting people you don’t need to meet, or doing things you…

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Focus on incentives

Years ago, Federal Express were struggling to clear it’s warehouses on time, resulting in delayed deliveries. The heart and soul of the integrity of the system is that all the packages have to be shifted rapidly in one central location each night. And the system has no integrity if the whole shift can’t be done…

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Iatrogenics: Why Intervention Often Leads to Worse Outcomes

The temptation to meddle is strong. You can see a problem. Others are telling you about the problem. Surely you should just intervene and sort things out? Wrong. 9 times out of 10 you should not intervene. The unintended consequences are too risky. A simple rule for you, as boss, is that intervention needs to…

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Offer no friction

One of the easiest ways to increase your value to an organization is to reduce the friction required to get you to do your job. You don’t need to learn any new skills for this; you just have to shift your perspective to your boss’s point of view and see how hard it is for…

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Kantian fairness principle

It’s your business, you’re the boss. Remember this: It’s more important to have the right systems with the right incentives in place, than trying to be fair to one person — even if that person close to you. You must be fair, and more important, you must be seen to be fair. Put in place policies, processes…

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Eat your broccoli

Anything really worth doing is probably hard work, and will absolutely require you to do things you don’t currently do, which will feel uncomfortable for a while. This is a “hard truth” we must all face. If it was easy, everyone would already be doing it. If everyone were already doing it, you would have…

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