October 2011 ~ 10 Commandments for Business Success
- 1. Set clear goals
- 2. Communicate the goals
- 3. Teach/coach employees to understand the goals
- 4. Help everyone realize the benefits
- 5. Hire the right people
- 6. Reward people and teams
- 7. Re-train or fire when necessary
- 8. Monitor success against goals
- 9. Adjust/re-adjust as necessary
- 10. Set a good example
- Resources (links, books, articles, the
2011 ~ 10 Commandments for Business Success
Our 10 Commandments come from a variety of training programs and books that
we have developed over the years.
1. Set clear
Executives and Managers must be clear about what they expect.
If they want to increase profits, they must be clear about that
goal. If they want to reduce costs, they must be clear about that
In the public sector, instead of increasing profit, goals might be to
increase revenue, increase efficiency, improve customer service, reduce the
tax burden on the public, reduce service fees, reduce complaints or reduce
overall costs. Some of these goals apply to for-profit businesses as
Too often, "management" has expectations of employees, yet
employees do not understand those expectations. The goals and
expectations must be spelled out clearly for employees.
Remember, most employees have not been leaders, managers, executives or
supervisors and therefore, do not have the perspective that leaders do.
2. Communicate the goals
constantly and consistently.
Letting employees know the company’s goals is an ongoing task, not a
Goals change as people change, circumstances change and ideas change.
is important to be clear about what a goal means and what results are
When leadership says they want to reduce costs, do they provide proven
methods and examples for employees so they clearly understand the
goal? Do they ask for employees’ suggestions and opinions on
opportunities for savings?
By allowing employees to have input to the process, they gain the
enthusiasm of employees and are able to use their ideas. Who better
than the front line staff know where the opportunities are?
3. Teach /
employees to understand that they are responsible and accountable for the goals
of the company.
Involving employees in the goal-setting process helps them to feel
responsible for the
results. If they feel responsible,
it is much easier for them to be accountable
for results. When someone else sets the goals and expects employees to
follow along like sheep, it is very hard for employees to feel responsible and to
Collaboratively working with employees to agree on goals and to agree on
how they can be implemented provides a strong foundation where employees can
work together with each other and with management to accomplish what is
4. Help everyone realize
the personal benefits to meeting the goals.
"What’s in it for me?" or WIIFM is a buzzword. And, it is what
most people think about when someone wants them to do something.
"What do I get out of this?" they ask. Therefore, it
is important for management/leadership to actually explain why, how, when,
where and what benefit the employees can expect if they meet the company
For example, if increased profits and/or reduced expenses are goals, what
benefit do the employees receive? Management should explain exactly
what is expected and what they expect the results to be. Some
- Will bonuses be larger?
- Will employees have more work with less money?
- Will the employee health care package be better or not?
- Will the company have more customers?
- Will layoffs be avoided?
- Will new people be hired?
- Will there be promotions to handle the increased workload?
- Will there be a party?
- Will there be more or less money for things the employees
- How will their individual or collective lives be better, richer or
happier if they go along with these new goals?
All of those questions are going through employees’ minds as they
evaluate goals presented by management.
If management does not provide answers, employees will "make
up" their own "stories" about what the end results will be,
or someone who is cynical or critical about management will supply their
negative view on the situation and erode employee enthusiasm for the
The result of employees "making up their own stories":
employees will not be overly enthusiastic or will unconsciously sabotage the
5. Hire and
keep the right people.
boundaries for hiring and firing.
What qualities are important in people you bring into your company or
organization? Have you taken the time to really identify those?
If not, you may be hiring "warm bodies" — people who take up
space yet may not be in alignment with your company’s culture, goals,
methods, processes, etc.
By clearing identify the cultural values and qualities that are important
to you, you can screen applicants in or out based on clearer
definitions. In addition to the normal things like job experience and
specific job skills, other qualities can make the difference between a good employee, a
marginal employee or an outstanding employee. Examples of qualities to
- Clear ability to work with others
- Personal initiative
- Willingness to take responsibility for their own actions
- Willingness to participate in making the company a better place to
- Strong workplace safety attitude,
- Good customer service attitude
- You may want to add others.
Also, it is important to set clear criteria for firing and let employees
know that certain behaviors will not be tolerated. Examples of firing
- Drug use
- Aggravated assault
- Disrespectful behavior to coworkers or management
- Dishonesty, lying
- Unethical behavior
- You may want to add others.
When those negative behaviors are seen in employees, they should be put
on probation for less serious ones or fired immediately for egregious
offenses or repeated serious violations of your policies.
Investigate complaints immediately and deal with problems quickly.
Bad employees are like "rotten apples" and can contaminate a good
working group if they are not removed. Taking care of those bad
employees properly will also gain respect from the good employees
that you want to keep.
6. Reward employees who are
meeting goals. Reward teams who are meeting goals.
As mentioned above, setting goals is important. Rewarding employees
and teams is just as important as it rewards the behavior you want to
There are many ways of rewarding employees from small day-to-day kindness
and respect to elaborate parties or bonuses. Make a practice of
thanking people every time they do something well. Plan team
celebrations for larger accomplishments like completing a project.
7. Re-train or fire
employees who are not meeting goals.
If employees don’t have the skills you want or need, training may fill in the missing skills. Taking the time to match up the needed
skills with a person’s interests and attitude can go a long way toward
making sure they are suitable for the job needed.
When it is clear that an employee is not going to fit into your company
or is unable to successfully meet the company’s goals, keeping them is
only a waste of time and energy for them and for you. Sometimes, they
can be successful in a different job within the same company, so consider
that before firing them. If not, help them realize that this is not a
good fit and move them out.
8. Monitor success of the
company against the established goals.
Goals are wonderful things. Someone needs to pay attention to what
is happening with progress toward the goals.
Maybe, several people are responsible for monitoring progress towards
goals. For example, the Finance department may be responsible for
monitoring how revenue compares to revenue goals. Technology may be
responsible for monitoring progress for large technology projects or
monitoring how well the company website is working.
Human Resources may be responsible for monitoring progress for hiring and
performance reviews. Marketing may be responsible for monitoring
All of those monitoring points can then be summarized for the
company/organization’s management team that gives them a
"snapshot" or "dashboard" to quickly know where the
company is at any time.
9. Adjust and re-adjust as
All plans and goals have to adjust periodically as new situations arise,
as conditions change and as goals are met.
New goals need to set. Old goals need to be retired. Other goals
may need to be modified to meet new demands and events.
This is a constant process. Some companies do it quarterly, others
annually. Some, only when they feel it’s right. The size and
maturity of an organization will determine the right timing.
10. Set a good example at
Does management set an example by their actions
that they really believe in a particular goal? For example, do leaders
say they want to reduce travel costs yet they continue to fly first class or
travel to exotic locations for reasons that employees think is
frivolous? Or, do leaders change their habits to match the goals they
Management and leadership are being watched closely by employees at all
times. Think of it as an "on the job interview" every single
What leaders DO says much more than what they write or
speak about. Be sure that your actions are consistent with your words.
Emerson said, "What you do stands above
you and shouts so loudly I can’t hear what you are saying."
- 10 Commandments of Small Business Success. Marguerite
Kirk. Bookhome Publishers, 1999. ISBN-13:
- The Ten Commandments for Business Failure. Donald Keough.
Portfolio Hardcover, 2008. ISBN-13:
- The 100 Absolutely Unbreakable Laws of Business Success. Brian
Tracy. Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2002. ISBN-13:
- The 12 Factors of Business Success. Kevin Hogan, Dave Lakhani,
Mollie Marti. Wiley, 2008. ISBN-13:
- The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success: A Pocket book Guide to Fulfilling
Your Dreams. Deepak Chopra. Amber-Allen Publishing,
- How to Get What You Want and Want What You Have: A Practical and
Spiritual Guide to Personal Success. John Gray. Harper Paperbacks,
- Spiritual Healing for Personal Prosperity. Edgar Cayce.
A.R.E. Press, 2011. ISBN-13:
- 10 Secrets for Success and Inner Peace. Wayne Dyer. Hay
House, 2002. ISBN-13:
- The Tao of Success: The Five Ancient Rings of Destiny. Derek
Lin. Tarcher, 2010.
Personality Types: Discover Your True Role in Achieving Success and
Happiness. Elizabeth Puttick, PhD. Hay House, 2009.
US version: ISBN-10:
1401924565 ISBN-13: 978-1401924560 (UK & Australia
- The Power Path: The Shaman's Way to Success in Business and Life.
Jose Stevens. New World Library, 2002. ISBN: 1577312171
- Transforming Your Dragons: Turning Personality Fear Patterns into Personal Power.
Jose Stevens. Bear & Co; (July 1994) ISBN: 1879181177
- Income Without a Job: Living Well Without a Paycheck. Michael
Jay Anthony, Barbara J. Taylor. Lulu.com,
978-0-557-00377-8. Website: www.income-without-a-job.com.
Tap into your own creativity and use your full potential. Learn
how to see opportunities that others miss.
Related newsletter articles:
February 2004 - Corporate Integrity
& Credibility: Why it is so important
July 1998 - Developing and Using
December 2000 - Sponsoring
August 2008 - Secrets of New
June 2004 - Successful
June 2001 - Successful project
September 2000 - Climbing the
Ladder of Success
May 2000 - Case Study: The Birth of
- The man may teach by doing, and not otherwise. If he can
communicate himself, he can teach, but not by words. He teaches who
gives, and he learns who receives. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
- If a teacher has any opinion which he wishes to conceal, his pupils
will become as fully indoctrinated into that as any which he
published. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
- It is one of the most beautiful
compensations of this life that no man can sincerely try to help another
without helping himself.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
- It is a vain attempt to keep a secret from one who has a right to know
it. It will tell itself. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
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