Friday, April 21, 2006

The Rules

Raytheon CEO Bill Swanson wrote a booklet of 33 short leadership observations called Swanson's Unwritten Rules of Management. The rule that prompted an article in USA Today was “32: A person who is nice to you but rude to the waiter, or to others, is not a nice person. (This rule never fails).”

I absolutely agree. The way a person behaves when he is “in power” reveals what is essentially true about a person. This is true when it comes to parenting, teaching, hiring, you name it.

However, a couple of Swanson’s unwritten rules are a little perplexing. First of all, rules 1 and 22 seem contradictory:

1. Learn to say “I don’t know.” If used when appropriate, it will be used often.

22: Cultivate the habit of making quick, clean-cut decisions.

Secondly, rule 4 seems a little bit Zen:

4: Look for what is missing. Many know how to improve what's there; few can see what isn't there.

Last, rule 28 is feel-good pabulum that makes no sense.

28: You remember 1/3 of what you read, 1/2 of what people tell you, but 100% of what you feel.

I can't figure out how the heck that gem of wisdom is supposed to help me.

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