- What is required
- What is allowed
- What is prohibited
You have to learn the rules of the game. And then you have to play better than anyone else. Albert Einstein
For this post I distinguish and work with 3 categories of rules in business and life:
- Those from Reality's Operations, e.g. the human body allows the great majority of human beings to learn and compete only through our early 60s.
- Laws, Rules or Regulations made by those with political authority, e.g. the rate of taxation on certain income levels or transactions; more fundamentally what types of transactions are consistent with the rules
- Rules we specify, e.g. what we require of others to have and retain our help, how our organization will be governed
Personal honesty and giving up an addiction to denial are two of the seven prerequisites for superior marketplace performance. This means we must learn reality's operations in order to quit the actions inconsistent with the laws of reality, and to increase our competence for performing effectively and powerfully the actions that allow us to succeed. I have written previously about personal practices. For example, I know that our performance is constrained and limited by our biology and by the state of our bodies. Therefore, to perform our best, we must invest a portion of our capacity to maintain and/or increase our fitness, knowledge and capabilities for thinking and acting. We are in denial when we think we can compete effectively without daily and weekly practices for sufficient exercise, effective nutrition, rest and competitive learning.
The rules from political action are complex and constantly changing. For whatever our particular industry and offer, and for our roles as CEOs and business owners, there are many rules to learn about and be aware of the drift. Only when we know these rules can we make new interpretations of how we can best use them to perform and compete. When a competitor is not following the rules, we might make a complaint to the appropriate authorities. Only when we fully understand the rules can we design new actions to change how the results of their application to us. An example here is how we take money from our enterprises. Depending on current tax laws, we may find a more powerful design of the combination of compensation (salary and bonuses), dividends, interest or distributions (taxed as investment earnings in some cases). One way to know tax rules is with a superior CPA in our network.
It will be of little avail to the people that the laws are made by men of their own choice if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood. James Madison
Lastly are the rules we specify. I say this is an underutilized area for many ambitious business professionals. Notice where you have power to declare rules. Sources and locations of this power or authority include:
- Your role: CEOs have the power to declare how the enterprise will be organized and how it will function
- Your offers of help: when you have highly-valuable offers of help, you have the power to specify what's allowed, prohibited and required to access your help, to retain your help and to increase the help you give
- Financial Capital: when you are making investments you have power to specify what is satisfactory in exchange for your capital investment
- Your network: to make the help of your network available to another you have increasing authority the more valuable the help
Leadership and learning are indispensible to one another. John F. Kennedy
- List all of the interactions, engagements or roles you currently have
- Next list what rules you have specified; in what form do they exist? Are they being held?
- What consequences can you produce for those who follow your rules? For those who decline to follow or ignore your rules?
- Speculate about what's missing, flawed, incomplete or weak in your use of your authority and in specifying rules
- What new thinking and action is produced?
- What new commitments will you make?
We are in a new economic and political environment, as well as a global marketplace of tough and increasing global competition. The possibilities for you and your network to take care of your concerns, and fulfill your ultimate personal and business ambitions, will be produced, maintained and increase by your actions. It is not possible for governments to take care of citizens to a standard most of us would consider satisfactory. Effective thinking, committed action, continued competitive learning and strong networks are the dominant strategies for success in the world in which we find ourselves.
As always, I invite your questions and comments as you work with my guidance. Although I work to produce and function in a strong discursive network, as opposed to a social network, I regularly tweet links to statistics and writings of others I find valuable. To receive these follow me on Twitter.
Relevant Prior Posts
Image Credit Flickr User/Otzberg