BIG IDEAS

1 Thing to Know About Everything at Work

The business of business is simple. All you really need is what's listed in this post.
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This post contains the single most important thing you need to know (IMHO) about each element of the working world. Here goes:

Arguments. Trying to win every argument is a good way to lose all your friends.

Brainstorming. Even with best intentions, most brainstorming produces only a dull drizzle.

Branding. Brand emerges from the customer's experience; all branding can do is stick a label it.

Business Books. Most business books consist of 10 pages of content and 190 pages of filler. Mostly, case studies.

Career. If you lack a mental picture of your dream job, there's zero chance you'll ever find it.

Commitments. Your reputation is based not on how many commitments you keep but on how few commitments you don't.

Corporate Culture. Once a company experiences great success, its culture will resist change, even when it absolutely must adapt to survive.

Co-workers. Co-workers enjoy gossip but they respect discretion.

Customers. A single loyal customer is worth a hundred hot sales leads.

Decision Making. It's better to make a bad decision now than a better decision when it's too late.

Engineers. Most engineers would rather work on an interesting project than earn a lot of money. That being said, the money is still appreciated, thank you very much.

Executives. As a general rule, the pricier the watch, the bigger the jerk.

Failure. If you define success to include "learning something valuable," it's almost impossible to fail.

Firing. Firings and layoffs should be like surgery. Make the cuts quickly, take some time to heal, and then move on.

Hiring. Job interviews are how hiring managers convince themselves that their first impression was correct.

Human Resources. In most companies, if the HR department suddenly vanished, nobody would notice for at least a month.

Innovation. Great ideas are dime-a-dozen; what matters is execution.

Leadership. Anybody who claims to be a leader or a thought leader isn't.

Management. The manager's job is to make the team successful; the team's job is to make the manager successful.

Marketing. The sole purpose of marketing is to generate qualified leads for somebody somewhere.

Meetings. Any group meeting without a written agenda is almost always a total waste of time.

Mission Statements. If a mission statement is longer than 10 words, it's too long to remember, much less act upon.

Presentations. There's a special place in hell reserved for whoever invented PowerPoint.

Productivity. People who work 40 hours a week generally get more done than people who work 60 hours a week. The reason: burnout.

Selling. The ultimate purpose of all sales activity is to help other people become happier.

Stress. Stress is never the result of events; it's always the result of the meaning you've attached to those events.

Success. Measure success by how much you accomplish, not by how much money you make.

Teams. A team full of leaders is as pointless as an orchestra full of conductors.

Technology. Technology never solved a difficult problem without creating an even more difficult problem.

Time Management. Twenty percent of your actions generate 80 percent of your results, so only do that 20 percent.

Travel. If you get seated near a crying baby, it's your fault if you didn't bring earplugs.

Venture Capital. Being a venture capitalist is the only job in which you can fail 90 percent of the time and still be considered a big success. 

Work-Life Balance. "Having it all" is a toxic oxymoron.

Based on Business Without the Bullsh*t: 49 Secrets & Shortcuts You Need to Know

Last updated: Jul 3, 2014

GEOFFREY JAMES | Columnist

Geoffrey James was recently named a "Top 40 Social Selling Marketing Master" by Forbes, and his blog has won awards from the Society of American Business Editors and the American Society of Business Publication Editors. His writing has appeared in publications as diverse as Wired, Brandweek, and Men's Health, and he is the author of numerous books, including The Tao of Programming, Business Wisdom of the Electronic Elite, and, most recently, Business Without the Bullsh*t: 49 Secrets and Shortcuts You Need to Know.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.



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