Weddings discretionary, funerals mandatory.

Leadership by Rudolph W. Giuliani

“Surround yourself with great people. Have beliefs and communicate them. See the things for yourself. Set an example. Stand up to bullies. Deal with first things first. Loyalty is the vital virtue. Prepare relentlessly under promise and over deliver. Don’t assume a damn thing. And of course, the importance of funerals.” — Rudolph William Louis Giuliani.

Due to my job, and personal interest, I read about leadership, management, and people’s behavior. It’s fun since the base of all these topics is human complexity; there are a lot of opinions, feelings, perspectives, and theories to explain everything.

I got this book in a garage sale in San Francisco by $1. I remembered Giulanni like many others by 11/9 events and because a few years after that, when he was famous, we tried to invite him as a speaker for a leadership event and his fees were $1M USD. Impossible! So, this book let me understand a little bit about the man behind such a responsibility of reacting in one of the most terrific situations in the modern days.

The reaction, the plan, and the people structure that faced the events of 11/9 didn’t were improvisation that day, all that was part of a culture and a team.

Here are my notes of the book:

“First things first”. You need to understand, practice, and learn to prioritize. It is not easy for most of us but is a must when you start being a leader of a group of people and more and more people want to speak, work or talk with you.

“Start small with success”. Short steps with a clear and big purpose are more powerful than a big moon shoot and always remember, “sweat the small stuff”.

One of my favorites: “Prepare relentlessly”. Train, do your homework, understand what you are talking about, and “Don´t assume a damn thing”.

“Visualize things for yourself”. You can´t separate work from personal life. It’s part of you. Whatever you want to do in a professional field must be aligned with your personal life, family, money, quality of life, etc. Don’t try to separate it because you’ll never make it.

“Everyone´s accountable, all of the time”. Every single person, team, area, organization, project, etc. One of the causes of the lack of results is this, we trust people’s effort and attitude, but not in their capacity to deliver results.

“Surround yourself with great people”. No words to add. This is everything about leadership.

“Under promise and over deliver”. “A leader must manage, not only results but expectations”. People are always expecting something. What they expect is your responsibility, not theirs.

“Develop and communicate strong beliefs”. Humans are emotional beings, first, they feel, then they think. We do things because we believe in something, a cause, a vision, an idea, a purpose. If it’s not clear, the effort and the engagement won’t be either. Once you communicate your beliefs or ideas, “Stick to your word” and don´t use the same word for different publics.

“Be your own man and set an example”. Don’t construct a character of a movie. Develop yourself, be yourself, expose yourself, adapt yourself.

“Don’t let critics set your agenda”. Manage your time, play at the offensive, plan, develop a time system, and be disciplined to it. Otherwise, you’ll let the rest of the people manage your agenda. Learn to say “no”.

And, “Weddings discretionary, funerals mandatory”. Keep in mind that the important people in your life are expecting a lot of you.