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The LittleBlack Bookof ExecutiveSecretsBusinessManagementDailySPECIAL REPORT BLBES


The LittleBlack Bookof ExecutiveSecretsBusinessManagementDailySPECIAL REPORT BLBES


EDITORAlane KellerASSOCIATE PUBLISHERAdam GoldsteinPUBLISHERPhillip A. Ash©2007, Capitol Information Group, Inc., 7600A Leesburg Pike,West Building, Suite 300, Falls Church, VA 22043-2004. Phone:(800) 543-2055; www.BusinessManagementDaily.com. All rightsreserved. No part of this report may be reproduced in any form orby any means without written permission from the publisher.Printed in U.S.A.“This publication is designed to provide accurate and authoritativeinformation in regard to the subject matter <strong>cov</strong>ered. It is sold withthe understanding that the publisher is not engaged in renderinglegal, accounting or other professional service. If legal advice orother expert assistance is required, the services of a competentprofessional person should be sought.”—From a Declaration ofPrinciples jointly adopted by a committee of the American BarAssociation and a committee of publishers and associations.


Part One: Secrets of SuccessWhat is the difference between goodmanagers and successful managers?Good managers fulfill the company goals.Successful managers fulfill their own goals,a subset of which are the company goals.Good managers accept assignments andcomplete them on time and within budget.Successful managers put themselves inposition to receive assignments thatdirectly relate to the company’s bottomline, then complete them on time andwithin budget.Good managers accept praise. Successfulmanagers are known to and appreciated bythe CEO.Success comes to those who understand thesubtle difference between doing what is handedto them and using what is handed to themto advance their own priorities. The strategieson the following pages will illustrate how youcan draw more success from every situationyou encounter.- 3-


The Little Black Book of Executive Secrets / 5Win over a new boss ...Take these steps to earn a new boss’s trust:Make his agenda your agenda. When a newboss arrives, he’s going to be looking to seewho’s on board and who’s resistant to change.As you explain your job, offer him guidanceon why some projects deserve more of yourattention than others, but don’t try to forceyour agenda on him. Odds are, the boss wantsto score some quick, high-visibility victories.Indulge him for the first few weeks and soonhe’ll turn his attention elsewhere, trustingyou to manage your own priorities.Give answers. A new boss has lots of questionsand wants short, specific answers. Ifyou editorialize or babble, she may discountyou and look elsewhere for information.Make sure the first sentence out of yourmouth addresses the question head-on. Ifyou cannot deliver a yes/no or fact-filledanswer, acknowledge the importance of thequestion and promise to find out right away.Don’t gossip. Stick to work-related facts, atleast for the first few months. As your boss’sfaith in your discretion grows, he may beginto ask for your opinions about your co-work-


6 / Business Management Dailyers. Resist the temptation to tell all. If you’reasked whether Ellen should be given leadershipof a new project, don’t say that she hasbeen scatterbrained lately because she’sgoing through a divorce. Say that you thinkshe’s handling all she can at the moment.Increase trust with a long-term bossNot only will you move up faster if your bosstrusts you, you’ll get better assignmentswith less supervision along the way. Here arethree ways to earn more trust:Learn the questions to know the answers.Challenge yourself to answer your boss’squestions in the most factual, concise mannerpossible. That means anticipating whatthe questions will be and staying on top ofthe answers. For example, if you know yourboss is concerned about weekly sales, beready to answer “870 orders, up 6%” whenshe asks. Your preparation is evidence thatyou share your boss’s concerns. (If your bossthrows you an unexpected question, don’them and haw. Say you’ll research the answerand get right back to her—then add it toyour list of topics to stay familiar with.)


The Little Black Book of Executive Secrets / 7Keep a secret. Show discretion when aboss reveals confidential matters. Don’t tella soul, not even friends outside of work.Enough said.Be a spy. Bosses love employees who serveas their eyes and ears. Information such as“the CEO’s in a bad mood today” or “I overheardthat consultant speak highly of you”gives your boss an edge. Caution: Speak onlyof work-related matters until you’reabsolutely sure of your boss’s trust, and eventhen reveal personal information about coworkersonly when necessary.Example: Your boss says that his rival hasbeen under-performing lately and that nowmight be the time to try to absorb the rival’sdepartment. If you’re aware that the rival’schild is hospitalized, let your boss know—otherwise, others who also know may seeyour boss’s power play as mean-spirited.“The very key to our success has been ourability, foremost among nations, to preserveour lasting values by making change work forus rather than against us.”Ronald Reagan


8 / Business Management DailyChanges at the top?Seek out the trusted lieutenantIf a new CEO or senior executive takes overyour company and vows to “shake thingsup,” don’t fret. While it’s wise to plan forupheaval by quietly job-hunting, also usethe internal turmoil to your advantage.Here’s how:Identify the new leader’s most trustedaide. This No. 2 person can influence whostays and who goes. Get to know this lieutenantby introducing yourself and offeringto help during the transition. Say, “I’d like tohelp you and your boss have a positiveimpact here.” Pounce on any tasks, exceedexpectations and earn points.“Never fight too often with one enemy oryou will teach him your art of war.”Napoleon Bonaparte


The Little Black Book of Executive Secrets / 9Need a creative spark?For a fresh look at your business, spend timewith new employees. Walk them throughprocedures and encourage their questions.Adopting a beginner’s perspective can leadyou to make connections and shed assumptionsthat limit your creativity.“Creativity is like a muscle—it hasto be stretched and exercised regularlyto keep it fit and functioning.”Gloria Hoffman and Pauline GraivierProvide skill coaching in privateIf you’re teaching someone—below you orabove you—a new skill, do it in private.Teaching works best when the learner doesn’tfeel self-conscious. If the office is watching, itcan make the individual nervous. Hold oneon-onecoaching sessions behind closeddoors, and prohibit drop-in visitors. Thisgives the learner a chance to practice andmake mistakes in a supportive environment.“Learning new things won’t help the personwho isn’t using what he already knows.”Anonymous


10 / Business Management DailyRe-directinga difficult work relationshipBe open to the idea that the solution to a difficultrelationship may be you. You maywant to change someone at work. Most of usdo. But changing others is a lot harder thanchanging yourself.Carefully observe the person with whomyou’re having trouble. Can you find a patternof when trouble erupts? Note exactly whatyou are doing at those times. Does yourbehavior seem to make that person feelthreatened? Put-upon? Sarcastic?Put aside your frustration with thatresponse. Keeping your work goal in mind,think of other ways you could approach theperson than with your usual behavior.Through trial and error, you may well dis<strong>cov</strong>era better way to work with that person.“The most important thing in communicationis to hear what isn’t being said.”Peter Drucker


The Little Black Book of Executive Secrets / 11Don’t react to putdownsIf a co-worker says something mildly insultingor tries to cut you down, ignore it or walkaway. Don’t descend into the mud by tryingto “top” the zinger with an even more causticcomeback. If the comment is deeplyoffensive, say so. But otherwise rise abovethe urge to react. In most cases, the safestand smartest response is to keep yourmouth shut.“The right word may be effective,but no word was ever as effectiveas a rightly timed pause.”Mark Twain


12 / Business Management DailyTurn runaway stress into powerAverage managers manage stress, but smartmanagers eliminate it. If you deal with thecore causes of your stress rather than merelytreating its symptoms, you can save yourselffrom fighting a constant battle of nerves.Start with these two steps to eliminate stressin your life:Impose “pre-deadlines.” Racing to tietogether loose ends before a deadline isinherently stressful. Instead, impose yourown pre-deadline that falls safely before theactual deadline. If you need to finish a reportby Friday, insist on a Wednesday due dateand stick to your schedule.Get more sleep. One of the easiest ways torelieve stress is to experiment with yoursleeping patterns. Commit to getting onemore hour of sleep every night for twoweeks, and watch the stress melt away.“Most stress is caused bypeople who overestimate theimportance of their problems.”Michael LeBoeuf, Ph.D.


The Little Black Book of Executive Secrets / 13Never rush out of a meetingWhen a meeting ends, you may be temptedto rush back to your desk. Don’t, or you willmiss the debriefing that tends to occur aftera formal meeting ends. Your colleagues mayprivately agree to modify or disregard actionplans they made earlier. Play it safe andlinger until most attendees have headedtheir separate ways.“Control your own time. Don’t letit be done for you. If you are workingoff the in-box that is fed you, you are probablyworking on the priority of others.”Donald RumsfeldDoing a big favor? Keep it to yourselfIf a boss or co-worker asks you to do a reasonablefavor for her, do it. Then accept hergratitude and don’t tell a soul what you did.If you brag, it looks cheap. You risk ruiningthe good will you’ve built up by your actions.If you do favors for others quietly, it increasesthe odds that they’ll find ways to repay you.“Happiness lies in good health and a bad memory.”Ingrid Bergman


14 / Business Management DailySay ‘no’ and make it stickWhen colleagues and staff ask you forfavors, you may dread saying no. Agreeing tothe favors not only undermines your ownagenda, it makes you a target of morerequests.Next time, just say no. Practice this in yourpersonal life with unsolicited salespeople,the person trying to pressure you to becomePTA chair, and the relative who wants to borrowmoney. It gets easier with practice. If aco-worker persists, stand by your no andoffer an alternative. Example: “I can’t dothat, but I can suggest a few other options.”If they still nag you, give a “no and here’swhy” statement, such as: “Again, theanswer’s no. The reason is ...”“I had a life with options but frequentlylived as if I had none. The sad result of my nothaving exercised my choices is that my memoryof myself is not of the woman I believe I am.”Liv Ullmann


The Little Black Book of Executive Secrets / 15Keep your ego in checkMaybe you’re nice enough. But why do colleaguesseem to avoid you in the cafeteria or“forget” to invite you to parties?A common culprit: ego. Beware of theserapport-ruining behaviors:Playing “topper.” When someone tells afun anecdote, don’t rush to top it. Example:Joe discusses his kid’s soccer game. You pipeup to brag about how your kid scored thewinning goal last weekend.Lecturing. A co-worker shares his strugglestrying to master a new software program.You should nod and empathize, but insteadyou interrupt to give unsolicited advice. Evenif you’re an expert and you’re itching tochime in, wait until someone asks for help.Taking yourself too seriously. A goodnaturedcolleague gently jokes about a mistakeyou made. Don’t take offense or defend yourself.Laugh along. Acknowledging that you arehuman allows everyone else to be human, too.“It is important for our friends to believe thatwe are unreservedly frank with them,and important to friendship that we are not.”Mignon McLaughlin


16 / Business Management DailyExplain your errors—brieflyYou blundered. Now you want to apologize.Don’t overdo it. If you launch into a blow-byblowaccount of why you screwed up, you’llcome across as overly defensive or incompetent.Instead, give a two-sentenceapology. Example: “I’m sorry for not followingthrough. I know what went wrong and itwon’t happen again.” Unless you’re asked forthe gory details, leave ’em out.“Mistakes are part of thedues one pays for a full life.”How to snag the right mentorSophia LorenYou’ve identified an executive who wouldmake a great mentor. Now your challenge isto build a relationship with that person.Whatever you do, don’t come out and ask,“Will you be my mentor?” That makes it easyfor busy people to say no.Instead, ask for advice on one issue you’refacing. Then assess the feedback. If you likewhat you hear, say, “That really helps. Can I


The Little Black Book of Executive Secrets / 17come to you again?” Let the relationshipevolve naturally.Rebuff unfair criticism“Talk low, talk slow,and don’t say too much.”John WayneCriticism is hard enough to hear when youdeserve it. But when you receive scaldingfeedback you know is unwarranted, youmust speak up without sounding defensive.Here’s how:Criticize yourself—on the right grounds.Respond to inaccurate criticism by substitutingaccurate criticism. That redirects thefocus to relevant issues while saving youfrom picking a fight.Example: Your boss thinks you drew thewrong conclusion by using faulty data,when in fact you used the right data butdidn’t clearly state the time frame for yourprojections. You’re convinced your conclusionis valid. So you say, “My timing was off.I’m disappointed in myself for not makingit clear that I was presenting a long-range


18 / Business Management Dailyconclusion.” By initiating your own criticism,you get rid of fuzzy or misguided ideas.Position yourself as part of the solution.If you’re blamed for someone else’s mistakes,don’t point fingers. Instead, propose away you can now begin to have responsibilityand solve the problem.Example: The CEO drops by to criticizeyou for your unit’s soaring expenses. (Intruth, your boss wastes oodles of money.)Ask the CEO, “As much as I’d love to enactcost-saving steps, I don’t have that authority.Will you give me that authority by letting mechair a committee to cut expenses over thenext year?”“When it comes to critics,remember that nobody will everget ahead of you as long as he is kickingyou in the seat of the pants.”Tony Randall


The Little Black Book of Executive Secrets / 19Giving advice? Not so fast!Your employee comes to you with a problem,and you’re ready to dish out advice.Wait. First lay the groundwork so that yourinput sinks in. Follow these three steps:1. Ask. Probe to find out more about theproblem. Ask two or three questions toclarify your assumptions, learn what theemployee thinks or collect more facts.2. Support. Give a one-sentence pat on theback. Examples: “You’ve done everythingright so far” or “You’re going to persevereand survive this.”3. Advise. Now that you’ve probed and supported,offer insight. By bonding withemployees first, you ensure they’re readyto accept your advice.“Sometimes I think that the mainobstacle to empathy is our persistent beliefthat everybody is exactly like us.”John Powell, S.J.


20 / Business Management DailyRid yourself of labelsYour colleagues label everyone from the“bean counters” to the “paper pushers.”Don’t join in. Refer to each department byname (“accounting,” “human resources”)without the cute moniker. You never knowwho’s going to take offense.“Human beings, like plants,grow in the soil of acceptance, notin the atmosphere of rejection.”Move up with modestyJohn Powell, S.J.The more success you find, the more modestyou should appear. Share credit for a jobwell done. Say that you’re going “to try hardernext time to produce even better results.”This shows you’re not too full of yourself.When it’s clear you’re a hot property, speakwell of the results, not your own performance.“Get someone else to blow your horn and thesound will carry twice as far.”Will Rogers


The Little Black Book of Executive Secrets / 21Use the ‘3 C’ modelto build successful teamsWhen assembling a team, ask the group toselect a Commander, Collaborator andCommunicator from among their ranks.The Commander acts as leader.The Collaborator is in charge of fosteringteamwork.The Communicator is the team spokespersonthroughout your organization.“The first responsibility of a leader is to definereality. The last is to say thank you. In betweenthe leader is a servant.”Rescue a meetingMax DupreeMany meetings turn into a time-wastinghell. If you’re running the meeting, watch forthese threats and be ready to act graciouslybut firmly—most attendees will be gratefuland everyone will respect time more:Hogging. One person monopolizes theproceedings.


22 / Business Management DailyBogging. The group dwells on one subject,especially in the first half-hour.Fogging. One person evades topics orbecomes vague or defensive.Frogging. The group leaps around aimlessly,stopping briefly to discuss one subjectand then jumping to the next.Flogging. Participants fling personalattacks at each other.Source: Managing Teams by Lawrence Holpp(McGraw-Hill, 1999).“Give me a stock clerk who wants to workand I will give you a person who will make history.Give me a person who does not want towork and I will give you a stock clerk.”J.C. Penney


The Little Black Book of Executive Secrets / 23Drop hints to keep audience tuned inIf you’re giving a presentation that lastslonger than 10 minutes, you’re probablygoing to lose everyone’s attention after thefirst 10 seconds—unless you actively engagethem. Try these two strategies:Build suspense. Early in the speech, posea mystery that you promise to solve.Example: Point out how certain customers’behavior doesn’t make sense, but hint thatyou’ve found the explanation.Mention listeners by name. Pepper yourpresentation with praise for individuals inthe audience. This keeps everyone listeningto hear whom you’ll recognize next.“People will pay more to beentertained than educated.”Johnny Carson


24 / Business Management DailyMake people listen to your messageCompel others to listen to you by starting offwith these attention-grabbers:“I’ve got good news.”“You’re going to like what I’m about tosay.”“You may want to sit down for this.”“When you asked me for this information,I never thought I’d find out so much.”“This is complicated, so here’s the short,sweet version.”“I’m going to summarize this for you inless than 20 words.”“Good communication isas stimulating as <strong>black</strong> coffee, andjust as hard to sleep after.”Anne Morrow Lindbergh


The Little Black Book of Executive Secrets / 25Coping with a seriously ill employeeLeading your team through the illness ofone member is one of the greatest testsyou’ll face. Keep these tips in mind:Don’t walk on eggshells. Don’t becomehypersensitive; simply aim for normalbehavior. There’s nothing wrong with theusual greeting of “How are you?” But itwould be rude to hound the person for adetailed response. And don’t comment onthe employee’s appearance.Avoid Aunt Sophie Syndrome. When anemployee tells you that she has a serious illness,you may immediately recall someoneyou know who had a similar condition. Everysituation is different, and the outcome forAunt Sophie may be very different from whatthis person faces. Don’t diagnose, and don’tproject your experience onto this situation.Remember that you’re being watched. Ifone employee in your department is ill, thewhole department is affected. Decide whatthe department response will be and state itclearly.Consider the precedent-setting nature ofyour decisions. Don’t offer star performersoptions that you won’t offer others.


26 / Business Management DailyBe aware of your image. Employees willwatch you closely to see how you respond toa seriously ill worker. Balance your compassionwith making sure the job gets done.As time passes, turn up your listeningskills to understand what your employeesare facing.Don’t assume anything. Take a lessonfrom a company vice president who tellsthis story: “The first thing I said when myinternal audit manager told me she had cancerwas, ‘Forget about work.’ I wanted tomake it clear I was more concerned with herfighting this thing than with any considerationsabout work. But I soon realized thatshe wanted to dwell on work. That was herway of coping.”“In times like these, it helps to recall thatthere have always been times like these.”Paul Harvey


The Little Black Book of Executive Secrets / 27The right ways to check referencesOne of the most tedious parts of the hiringprocess is checking a candidate’s references,but neglecting this step is an invitation totrouble for months or years to come.Neutralize the references’ fear of lawsuitsand get the truth about your potential hirewith these questions:“Is X eligible to be rehired?” If not, “Is thisbecause your company has a general policyon rehiring employees or is there anotherreason?”“Would you enthusiastically recommendX?”“How would you compare X’s work habitswith those of her co-workers?”“Did X function better at your companyworking alone or as part of a team?”“What, if anything, distinguishes X fromothers who do the same type of job?”“What can we expect from X if she worksfor our company?”One reference-checking ploy. As youknow, a candidate’s former employer rarelyreveals all the details about the individual’spast performance. Try this trick:


28 / Business Management DailyCall the references’ direct lines on theweekends (or whenever you think they won’tanswer). Leave the following message ontheir voice mail: “Bill Smith is applying for[position] at our firm. Your name has beengiven to me as a reference. Please call meback if this person was outstanding.”A former employer who has strong positivefeelings about a candidate will surelycall. But if only two or three references out of10 promptly return your call, it could be ared flag. Note of caution: This method maynot be reliable if you use it during a typicalvacation period, such as August or lateDecember. And it’s also chancy with only afew references.“Remember, it wasn’t rainingwhen Noah built the ark.”Howard Ruff


Part Two: Eight Who Dareto SucceedLessons From the School of Hard KnocksSuccessful managers learn from everyencounter with a problem employee, anoverdue project, a budget that makes nosense. Then, when the workday goes haywire,successful managers turn all those lessonsinto action that analyzes and organizesthe chaos into achievable tasks. Finally, themost successful managers solve the underlyingproblems that brought the chaos on.Following are the hard-knocks lessons thateight highly successful managers want tocommunicate to Business ManagementDaily’s (BMD) readers. The lessons are yoursfor inspiration as you make your owndreams come true.- 29 -


30 / Business Management DailyAsk for helpIn his eight years as an emergency room(ER) physician, Arky Ciancutti, M.D., managedcrises with aplomb.BMD: What’s the biggest obstacle that preventsmanagers from moving up the ladder?Ciancutti: They may resist asking for helpfrom the right people. And that isolatesthem. In the ER, I had to be able to hear anurse tell me that she thought I was about tomake a bad decision. ER nurses often knowmore than the doctor. That nurse is my subordinate,so I had to ask for help and get it ina way that did not diminish my authority.BMD: How did you do that?Ciancutti: I’d wait for a calm moment andsay to the nurse, “You’re an expert at this.There are times you know things that arecritical to patient care, and I need your help.I’d welcome that information.” If you saysomething like that, employees ask questionsand volunteer more.BMD: But doesn’t that make you lookweak?


The Little Black Book of Executive Secrets / 31Ciancutti: You’ll be weak if you do not askfor help. It’s harder for a manager to earnrespect than it is for an employee to earnrespect. Employees don’t have the authoritybaggage.BMD: What if you prefer not to ask forhelp?Ciancutti: Get over it! Listen, there are twoways to rise to the top—a negative way anda positive way. The negative way is to findout where the wars are, guess which side youwant to be on and fight. The positive way isto eliminate the war, to get people to helpyou.“Outstanding leaders go out of theirway to boost the self-esteem of theirpersonnel. If people believe in themselves,it’s amazing what they can accomplish.”Sam Walton


32 / Business Management DailyShine, shine, shineAs a technology director at Corning Inc.,Lina Echeverria runs a group of 45 glassresearchers, including 25 Ph.D. scientists,for this $5 billion company.BMD: If you’re brilliant but bashful, howcan you get ahead? Should you assume thatyour great ideas will speak for themselvesand get you promoted?Echeverria: No! You must let the worldknow you’re the best. Participate in professionalsocieties, present your work internallyto senior executives, publish articles injournals. And get your boss involved. I tellmy employees, “I’m your PR agent.”BMD: What do you think is the smartestway a creative employee can impress theboss?Echeverria: Performance, performance,performance are the three rules of movingup. A consistent performance not onlyproves your value, but it gives you a marginof error for those times when you don’tdeliver.


The Little Black Book of Executive Secrets / 33BMD: How do you handle pressure fromabove, like when the boss gives you anunreasonably tough deadline?Echeverria: You rely on your past performanceto develop the credibility to sayopenly, “Yes, this is doable” or “There’s noway we can do this.” I’ve been in bothplaces. You don’t want to try to fool anybody.You just draw upon your experience.“If you believe in unlimited quality and act inall your business dealings with total integrity,the rest will take care of itself.”Frank Perdue


34 / Business Management DailyPlay to your strengthsIn the 25 years after she joined Ford MotorCo., Janine Bay climbed the ladder to becomedirector of vehicle personalization for theautomotive consumer-services group. Fromher office in Ford’s Dearborn, Mich., headquarters,she managed 177 employees,including 70 in Europe and 12 in Asia.BMD: How did you earn so many promotions?Bay: I had an executive coach a while backwho helped me. Now usually, a coach mightinterview you and then focus on what youneed to change or what you don’t do quiteright. But my coach forced me to focus onwhat I did well and why my strengths wereimportant to Ford Motor Co.BMD: What are your strengths?Bay: My coach found I had strong peopleskills, I was fairly entrepreneurial and fairlyinnovative. Twenty years ago, these skillswouldn’t be as important at Ford. Now theyare. Once you know your strong suits, youcan then seek out jobs that capitalize onthem. Play to your strengths and you’ll getpromotions.


The Little Black Book of Executive Secrets / 35BMD: What happens if your strengths don’tjibe with your company’s needs?Bay: That’s a good question. I rememberwhen I went to my boss and discussed thestrengths that my coach helped me identify.He said, “Wow. There’s always been somethingabout you that troubled me. I couldnever figure out what it was.” I allowed forthe pregnant pause. He <strong>final</strong>ly added, “Mystrength is discipline. If I put discipline andinnovation on opposite ends of a scale, yourend [innovation] is what we need now.”What a man to admit that!“True education makes for inequality: theinequality of individuality, the inequalityof success, the glorious inequalityof talent, of genius.”Felix E. Schelling


36 / Business Management DailyThe Hard Truth by ‘Z’For years, one of our most popular columnistswas ‘Z,’ who offered insights into whatit really takes to get ahead. This 25-year veteranof the corporate battlefield has climbedthe ranks to head a $100 million informationservices company.The Hard Truth, #1: Stop cringing. Myneighbor got a mangy old dog, Jake, from ashelter. The poor thing had been abused.Now Jake cringes whenever anyone walks inthe room. The dog looks up, sees someonecoming and expects to be hit.Some employees are like that, carryingthemselves like victims. When you look atthem, they look away. When you ask a simplequestion, they start apologizing, not answering.If you talk business, they fall all overthemselves with embarrassment becausethey didn’t contribute more, make moreprogress, give more evidence, whatever.If you recognize yourself, get a grip!If you think you’re worthless, you’ll convinceyourself your strengths are reallyweaknesses. You’ll sabotage yourself at everyturn.


The Little Black Book of Executive Secrets / 37Riddled with doubt? Keep it to yourself.When you arrive at the office, pretendyou’re putting on a mask. Assume the role ofa confident, can-do kind of person. Early on,a boss told me to straighten my back anddrop my shoulders. He said, “Dammit, looklike you have something important to say.”He was right. I practiced in the mirror, likedwhat I saw and began faking it. Whenever Ifelt a shred of doubt, I’d tuck in my belly andsee myself as Gen. George Patton!“Positive thinking is the key to success inbusiness, education, pro football, anything thatyou can mention … I go out there thinking thatI’m going to complete every pass.”Ron Jaworski


38 / Business Management DailyThe Hard Truth, #2: Make yourself layoffproof.In our lunchroom, the topic of layoffscomes up a lot. My employees have a “thatcould be me” look in their eyes.I want them a <strong>little</strong> worried.I want workers who think of ways to makethemselves valuable. By contributing to thebottom line, they not only safeguard theirjobs but rack up influence and promotions.Think how you spend your time. Do youbellyache about your employer’s failings andfret about how ‘the idiots at the top’ are makingmistakes? Or do you master new technologies,study for a degree or invent aprocess that can save your employermoney?If you’re whining about what you can’tcontrol, you’re probably in line for a pinkslip. But if you’re taking responsibility, you’llprobably come out on top.Stay put and prosper. Say you love yourjob and would hate to leave. That alonewon’t protect you from losing it. But creatinga track record of success will make it harderfor someone like me to let you go.Convince me you’re layoff-proof.First, astonish me. Produce dramatic


The Little Black Book of Executive Secrets / 39results. A slight gain will not grab my attention.Announce a bold objective, smile in theface of my skepticism and then get it done.My sales manager set a production goal thatI viewed as pure bluster. Three months later,he exceeded it. This guy’s not leaving mypayroll, that’s for sure.Second, be quick and decisive. Like mostCEOs, I can’t always afford to be patient.Think in terms of proving your value everyquarter, not putting in a year’s effort only tocome up with a modest gain that wasn’tworth the wait.Finally, don’t be needy. Express confidenceby taking risks. Speak out. If you’reshot down, come back fighting. The moreyou convey “I don’t need this job,” the moreI’m going to hang onto you.“To do anything in this world worthdoing, we must not stand back shiveringand thinking of the cold and danger,but jump in, and scramble throughas well as we can.”Sydney Smith


40 / Business Management DailyShare your dreamsAs founder, chairman, CEO and president ofStorage USA Inc., Dean Jernigan understoodhow to create a team. Now CEO of U-Store-It,Jernigan, 61, likes to surround himself withfolks who show desire and can-do attitude.BMD: What are some rare traits that onlytrue leaders possess?Jernigan: Finding someone with a realcan-do attitude is hard. There are enoughpeople out there who tell us why we can’t dothings. But it’s a rare employee who acceptsa challenge even if I don’t think he canaccomplish it. They adopt a glass-is-half-fullphilosophy and wind up exceeding my highexpectations. Those people go very far.BMD: Lots of ambitious, talented employeeswant to reach the top. Why do so manylose their way?Jernigan: Because they’re not thinking bigenough. If your vision is to be the officesupplystore in your town that sells the mostpaper clips, you can reach that vision. But sowhat? You won’t be that successful. When westarted the company in 1985, we named it


The Little Black Book of Executive Secrets / 41Storage USA even though we only had onestorage facility. People laughed at us forchoosing such a grand name. Now we’regrowing internationally. So even I didn’tthink big enough!BMD: What other barriers block careeradvancement?Jernigan: Poor communication skills. Ifyou’re involved in lots of communicationbreakdowns, that’s a bad sign even if youthink they’re not your fault. You could probablyhave prevented at least some of thosebreakdowns if you communicated well.BMD: What’s a great way for one of yourmanagers to impress you in a quick conversation?Jernigan: Talk in terms of “we” and “our”to emphasize we’re a team. I deplore the useof “I” or “me.” I’m always correcting peoplehere who forget that and say “I” or “me.”“Dreams are powerful reflections of youractual growth potential.”Denis Waitley and Reni L. Witt


42 / Business Management DailyGo the extra mileThere are only 29 openings for head coachof an NBA team. Butch Carter filled one ofthose jobs for three years, boosting theToronto Raptors from 16 wins to 45 wins.Carter, co-author of Born to Believe withhis brother Cris Carter, a wide receiver forthe NFL’s Minnesota Vikings, understandsthe petty politics that characterize the turbulentworking world.BMD: How did you move from player tocoach?Carter: As an assistant coach with theMilwaukee Bucks, I worked with anotherassistant coach, Lee Rose. He taught me howto promote myself to become head coach.He said the best way to get there is to getsomeone else to promote you so you don’thave to. When we were on the road, he said,“I’ll talk great about you and you talk greatabout me.” I admired him, so I agreed. Hissupport really helped me.BMD: Lots of able folks aspire to be top dog.What separates the best from the rest?


The Little Black Book of Executive Secrets / 43Carter: A lot of people have a dream butdon’t want to participate in making it happen.They don’t want to go to company parties.They don’t want to go the extra mile toensure their projects are done right. Andthey don’t manage others’ perceptions.BMD: What do you mean by managingperceptions?Carter: As a coach, I always arrived atwork one hour earlier than everyone elseand left one hour after the last person left.Sometimes a colleague would leave andthen call back in a half-hour or even come byagain to see if I was still there. They wantedto think they were working harder than me,but I wouldn’t let them. As a result, they perceivedme as a really hard worker, as someonetotally dedicated. Then they would tellothers how hard I work, and I earned a goodreputation.“The will to win is not nearly asimportant as the will to prepare to win.”Bobby Knight


44 / Business Management DailyAssociate with the bestAlan Shugart, 70, who founded SeagateTechnology in 1979, built the companyinto the world’s largest independent manufacturerof disk drives and related components.When he left the firm in 1998 as itschairman and CEO, it had grown to 110,000employees.Before launching Seagate, Shugart climbedthe corporate ladder for 18 years at IBM andfour years at Memorex.BMD: How did you exert leadership over110,000 employees?Shugart: Part of being a leader is makingsure everyone knows you’re a leader. Somemanagers forget that. They just hide in theiroffices and don’t get out in front of theiremployees. You have to take charge and setan example of what you want done and howyou want people to act.BMD: Is it hard not to let all that power goto your head?Shugart: The best leaders are proud buthumble. I learned that lesson when I was 12years old. I came home from a softball game


The Little Black Book of Executive Secrets / 45and told my mother all the great things I didfor the team. I went on and on. Finally shesaid, “That’s great. I just wish someone elsehad told me.” Here we are, 58 years later, andI’ve never forgotten that.BMD: How do you decide whom to promoteamong many good employees?Shugart: I learned this exercise at IBM.You list all your employees. Then you say toyourself, “I’m going to quit and start a newcompany. Who’s the first of my employeesthat I’m going to take with me?” It doesn’tmatter what kind of company you start. Thekey is to base your decision on character,not technical ability. You can always teachsomeone who’s smart to master a new skillor understand a new business. Certainnames will jump out at you. They’re the onesyou promote.BMD: How about deciding whom to hirewhen you have plenty of strong candidates?Shugart: Seagate’s HR people would getupset at me when I said this. But I’d tell them,“Hiring is easy. Just ask yourself two questions:Are they smart and do you like them?”


46 / Business Management DailyBMD: How about the question of workethic?Shugart: That’s important, but you alsowant to hire people who have balance.Remember, all work and no play makes Jacka dull boy. My mother added to that. Shesaid, “All play and no work makes Jackunemployed.”“If people are coming to workexcited … if they’re making mistakesfreely and fearlessly … if they’re havingfun … if they’re concentrating on doingthings, rather than preparing reportsand going to meetings—thensomewhere you have a leader.”Robert Townsend


The Little Black Book of Executive Secrets / 47Seize the dayPhilip Crosby, a corporate vice presidentwith ITT Corp. for 14 years, quit his job in1979—the same year his now-classic management<strong>book</strong>, Quality Is Free: The Art ofMaking Quality Certain, appeared. Helaunched a consulting business in 1979 that,in 10 years, grew to 300 employees and $80million in revenue.BMD: What do you think separates meremanagers from true leaders?Crosby: Leaders have an agenda. Theydon’t need to have all the answers, butthey’re not afraid to say what they’re goingto do or what they want to achieve. They alsotake the time to build relationships withtheir staff. That does not mean they becomebest friends with their employees, but theydo show interest in them as fully dimensionalpeople and they help them to becomemore successful. A mediocre manager, bycontrast, doesn’t go that extra mile.BMD: How about knowledge level—areleaders smarter than everyone else?


48 / Business Management DailyCrosby: They certainly are more worldly.They have the ability to think about morethan just their own narrow area. They realizethat there are 5 billion people out there, thatwe’re in a world economy where it’s importantto move beyond narrow boundaries ofunderstanding. They think on many levels,taking into account all sorts of factors thatothers might miss.BMD: Most managers would surely agreethat it helps to be a broad thinker. But inpractice, how can someone become moreworldly?Crosby: Read more and be curious. ReadThe Economist, a magazine that gives a greatworldwide view. There might be someone inanother part of the world dealing with thevery same problems that you’re facing,whether it’s staffing or managing change orwhatever.BMD: What do you see as the No. 1 mistakethat otherwise competent managers tend tomake?Crosby: They get so wrapped up in whattop management is doing that they fail to


The Little Black Book of Executive Secrets / 49think about their own employees. They forgetwho they’re doing business for. Insteadof thinking about improving their operationor listening to their employees or customers,they dwell on every move that senior managementmakes and they think, “How doesthis affect me?”BMD: You were a rising executive at ITTCorp. How did you beat out rivals for promotions?Crosby: At first, I had a tough time movingahead. But then I decided that I was going tobe useful and reliable. So I went to Toastmastersand studied speaking to becomemore useful. Almost everyone else madelousy presentations, so I figured this was away I could stand out. It worked. When I wasa quality engineer, I got sent to a conference.When I returned, I was asked to give a presentationto higher-ups on what I’d learned,and I summed up everything so that theycould understand easily. Afterward, theywere just thrilled and they gave me moreresponsibility. They said, “Where did thisguy come from?”


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