There is no silver bullet that will hit the bull’s-eye of a successful life or business. Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying. But there are some simple truths which, combined with hard work, increase the chance of success. That is all. – Sir Terry Leahy.
What are these simple truths? Sir Terry Leahy in his book, “Management In Ten Words” shows us the essence of management in ten words. Let us explore them:
Organisations are terrible at confronting the truth. It is so much easier to define your version of reality, and judge success and failure according to that. But my experience is that truth is crucial both to create and sustain success.
Truth is relative. We all have our own philosophy of life, our own values and what we consider right or wrong. That is okay. But that does not mean that everything is alright. There are certain things which are clearly wrong, such as drug trafficking or rape. But certain others are not so clear: killing animals for eating( the law allows that) or gambling. But we all know what really matters if we just look inside. But this aspiration to seek the truth and live with it as much as we can is very important to a successful life.
Winning and retaining loyalty is the best objective of any business – indeed, any organisation can have. The search for loyalty has, at its heart, an age-old idea: you reward the behaviour you seek from others.
Loyalty in life – what does this mean? To be loyal to your parents who have brought you up and to take care of them when they cannot take care of themselves, to be loyal to your spouse who has decided to share life with you, to be loyal to your children as they grow up and let them fulfill what they really want and not force them to do things they do not have passion for, to be loyal to your friends who chose you as their friend, to be loyal to your job….the list goes on. This means that you care for them the way you would like to be cared for if you were in their place.
Good strategies need to be bold and daring. People need to be stretched as they can do more than they think. Goals have to cause excitement, and perhaps just a little fear. Above all, they need to inspire, and present an organisation with a choice: have these great ambitions, or remain as you are.
An aimless life is always a miserable life.Every one of you should have an aim. But do not forget that on the quality of your aim will depend the quality of your life. Your aim should be high and wide, generous and disinterested; this will make your life precious to yourself and to others. We need courage to have such an aim and work towards it.
Strong values underpin successful businesses. They give managers a sheet anchor, something that holds their position and keeps them from being smashed against the rocks when caught in a storm. Values govern how a business behaves, what it sees as important, what it does when faced with a problem.
Strong values underpin successful lives. They give people a sheet anchor, something that holds their place and keeps them from being smashed against the rocks when caught in a storm. Values govern how a person behaves, what he sees as important, what he does when faced with a problem. Values give us a road map, a guidebook that helps us go in the right direction and bring us back on the right path if we go astray.
Intention is never enough. Plans mean nothing if they are not effectively enacted.
People who are learning without taking action, is like a man who continues to bring building materials to a job site. Day after day he brings lumber, plumbing supplies, shingles, nails, drywall, carpet, tiles, insulation, ext. An onlooker sees all the things that he’s bringing to the job site and says, “Wow, you sure have a lot of stuff. You must be building something amazing.” The man replies, “Yeah you should wait and see what I bring tomorrow.” The man continues to bring new materials, but never BUILDS anything. Eventually he gets tired and moves on to something else and nothing is ever built.
Never mistake movement for action. You can plan your route, fuel the tank, and pack the car but it you never get going it’s all a waste of time. You have to translate that intention into action fairly soon or your passion will turn cold and soon it will be a distant memory.
A balanced organisation is one in which everyone moves forward together, steered in the right direction, without being overrun by the juggernaut of bureaucracy.
A balanced life is important for real success. Balance means neither too much or neither too little, just the right amount. This is an intuitive feeling and cannot be explained in clear-cut terms. Balance is also very personal and different for each one of us. It means “enough”. I feel that two examples can help us understand this balance:
1. Bhagavad Gita
There is no possibility of one’s becoming a yogi, O Arjuna, if one eats too much, or eats too little, sleeps too much or does not sleep enough.He who is temperate in his habits of eating, sleeping, working and recreation can mitigate all material pains by practicing the yoga system.When the yogi, by practice of yoga, disciplines his mental activities and becomes situated in Transcendence–devoid of all material desires–he is said to have attained yoga.
This is balance.
2. The Eight-Fold Path
- Right Understanding: This is a significant step on the path as it relates to seeing the world and everything in it as it really is, not as we believe it to be or want it to be. Just as you may read the directions on a map, and then make the journey, studying, reading and examining the information is important, but only the preparation for the journey. At a deeper level, direct personal experience will then lead us to Right Understanding.The Buddha says “my teaching is not a dogma or a doctrine, but no doubt some people will take it as such.” The Buddha goes on to say “I must state clearly that my teaching is a method to experience reality and not reality itself, just as a finger pointing at the moon is not the moon itself. A thinking person makes use of the finger to see the moon. A person who only looks at the finger and mistakes it for the moon will never see the real moon.”Knowing reality is of very little value if we don’t put it to personal use in our lives.
- Right Intent:Right Intent means persistence and a passion for the journey. Setting out to climb a high mountain means you must understand the lay of the land and the pitfalls, the other team members, and the equipment you need. This is similar to Right Understanding. But you will only climb the mountain if you really want to and have a passion for the climb. This is Right Intent. The mountain we climb here is our journey though life.
- Right Speech: Right speech involves recognition of the truth, and also an awareness of the impact of idle gossip and of repeating rumours. Communicating thoughtfully helps to unite others, and can heal dissention. By resolving never to speak unkindly, or in anger, a spirit of consideration evolves which moves us closer to everyday compassionate living.
- Right Action: Right Action recognises the need to take the ethical approach in life, to consider others and the world we live in. This includes not taking what is not given to us, and having respect for the agreements we make both in our private and business lives.Right Action also encompasses the five precepts which were given by the Buddha, not to kill, steal, lie, to avoid sexual misconduct, and not to take drugs or other intoxicants.
- Right Livelihood: If your work has a lack of respect for life, then it will be a barrier to progress on the spiritual path. Buddhism promotes the principle of equality of all living beings and respect for all life.
- Right Effort:Right Effort means cultivating an enthusiasm, a positive attitude in a balanced way. Like the strings of a musical instrument, the amount of effort should not be too tense or too impatient, as well as not too slack or too laid back. Right Effort should produce an attitude of steady and cheerful determination.
- Right Mindfulness:Right Mindfulness means being aware of the moment, and being focused in that moment. When we travel somewhere, we are hearing noises, seeing buildings, trees, advertising, feeling the movement, thinking of those we left behind, thinking of our destination. So it is with most moments of our lives.Right Mindfulness asks us to be aware of the journey at that moment, and to be clear and undistracted at that moment. Right Mindfulness is not an attempt to exclude the world, in fact, the opposite. Right Mindfulness asks us to be aware of the moment, and of our actions at that moment. By being aware, we are able to see how old patterns and habits control us. In this awareness, we may see how fears of possible futures limit our present actions.
- Right Concentration:Once the mind is uncluttered, it may then be concentrated to achieve whatever is desired.
This is also balance.
Change in any fast-moving, fast-growing company is not easy. My solution is quite simple: to make things simple. Simplicity is the knife that cuts through the tangled sphagetti of life’s problems.
Simple means to find the essential important things and not get bogged down by the inessential. It means to find the important things, whether they are urgent or not. It means to understand that our real needs are few and a simple life can be a rich one.
Sustainable consumption depends on desiring goods and services that require fewer natural resources. By thinking lean, we can go green – and do more, for less.
Lean is the sister of simple. It means less. It means recognising the meaning of enough. Vicki Robin wrote about in the book “Your Money or Your Life” and I think a lot of what is in that book is timeless and true.
Competitors – and the act of competition itself – are great teachers. Don’t wait for your competitors to come over the horizon. Seek them out.
Competition is necessary for us to evolve. Not competition with others. But competition with ourselves and things as they are. We seek to better all the time as we are all manifestations of the Divine which is unparalleled in all aspects. Aspire to become like the Divine and that is what real competition is all about.
Trust is the bedrock of leadership. When people trust you, they feel that their interests are safe in your hands, and they have confidence in your vision, ability, judgment, drive and determination to see things through.
Trust is essential if life has to have any meaning. We trust something all the time which helps us live. Trust is unconscious most of the time, but conscious trust in Life will take you farther.
TEN WORDS: Truth. Loyalty. Courage. Values. Act. Balance. Simple. Lean. Compete. Trust.