Performance management: 33 unwritten rules of management

These rules are credited to Bill Swanson. In a news story several years ago, it was revealed not all the rules are original. Whatever the source, they are useful aphorisms for life management.

The handbook has become an underground hit among senior executives and management thinkers. The Unwritten Rules of Management is part Ben Franklin and part Yogi Berra, with a dash of Confucius thrown in. Jack Welch says there’s something about both the man and his management style that makes the handbook a worthwhile read for any CEO. “It’s a neat little manual, and each of these rules makes sense,” Welch says. “It covers almost everything, and I like Swanson’s feet-on-the-ground approach.”

Here are the rules, written, but without any explanation. Make of them what you will.

  1. Learn to say, “I don’t know.” If used when appropriate, it will be often.
  2. It is easier to get into something than it is to get out of it.
  3. If you are not criticized, you may not be doing much.
  4. Look for what is missing. Many know how to improve what’s there, but few can see what isn’t there.
  5. View-graph rule: When something appears on a view-graph (an overhead transparency), assume the world knows about it, and deal with it accordingly.
  6. Work for a boss with whom you are comfortable telling it like it is. Remember that you can’t pick your relatives, but you can pick your boss.
  7. Constantly review developments to make sure that the actual benefits are what they are supposed to be. Avoid Newton’s Law.
  8. However menial and trivial your early assignments may appear, give them your best efforts.
  9. Persistence or tenacity is the disposition to persevere in spite of difficulties, discouragement, or indifference. Don’t be known as a good starter but a poor finisher.
  10. In completing a project, don’t wait for others; go after them, and make sure it gets done.
  11. Confirm your instructions and the commitments of others in writing. Don’t assume it will get done!
  12. Don’t be timid; speak up. Express yourself, and promote your ideas.
  13. Practice shows that those who speak the most knowingly and confidently often end up with the assignment to get it done.
  14. Strive for brevity and clarity in oral and written reports.
  15. Be extremely careful of the accuracy of your statements.

YES, there are 18 more “unwritten rules.”  To finish reading them go to Ian’s Messy Desk

 

By Ian McKenzie

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