How to become CEO by Jeffrey J. Fox
Rating — 5/5
This is arguably in the top 3 business books I have ever read.
Always take the job that offers the best money
Advantages of higher paying jobs:
- Greater benefits, perks, bonuses and subsequent raises.
- Higher paid persons get the higher paid jobs
- Greater visibility to top management
- Greater responsibility =>Opportunities to perform and show off talents
Remember: Money is the scorecard
Avoid staff jobs, seek line jobs
- Line jobs make money for your corporation
- Line jobs include: sales people, sales and product manager, marketing directors, supervisors and general managers
- Staff jobs are the stepping stone to other jobs
- Staff jobs include: lawyers, planners, data processing employees, R&D scientists, and all administrators
Dont expect the personnel department to plan your career
- Your career plan is not predetermined by your corporation
- Take responsibility in designing your own career plan.
Get and keep customers
Customers are the lifeblood of any organization.
- Customers provide jobs for new products and applications.
- Customers provide early warning signals of product quality and obsolescence.
- Customers provide vision to the future.
Keep physically fit
- Ninety percent of aspiring executives are out of shape.
- Your capacity for productivity increases by good physical condition.
- Being in good shape:
a) Enhances your energy level
b) Increases sleep and motivation
c) Decreases depression
Do something hard and lonely
- Regularly practice a solitary task to increase mental toughness.
- Hard and lonely tasks include:
a) Studying late for a graduate degree
b)Running long distances in the early AM
d)Working in the garden
Never write a nasty memo
- A nasty memo criticizes, belittles, or degrades a colleague.
- A nasty memo gives your rivals a smoking gun.
- Spend your energy on positive pursuits.
Think for one hour everyday
- Spend one hour each day planning
- Write down ideas at a scheduled time each day.
- Keep written notes in a special “idea notebook”.
Keep and Use a Special Idea Notebook
- Buy a notebook that you like.
- Keep it in one place.
- Write down all ideas, plans, goals, and dreams.
- Use the notebook to record yearly, monthly, weekly and daily “To Do” lists.
Don’t have a drink with the gang
- Avoid drinking with coworkers after work
- Avoid drinking at lunch, instead you work.
- Avoid the before dinner cocktail party, at meetings and seminars
- Avoid getting tipsy with coworkers — signals weakness and lack of control.
- Smoking an offend a non-smoker who can influence your career.
- Smoking is a self-centred interest.
- Smoking wastes time
- Avoid smoking expensive cigars
- Smoking gives an appearance of being in control
Skip all office parties
- An office party is not a social gathering
- Never attend a company picnic without your spouse
- Attend the party if the unwritten rule is “Attend else you will offend”
- At company parties:
a) Drink only soda
b)Stay no more than 45 minutes
c)Thank the boss for the invitation and leave
Remember: Dont mix business with pleasure
Friday is “How Ya’ Doing?” Day
- Take a person that you need out to lunch each Friday and ask, “How Ya’ Doing”
- Choose a person not in your department — i.e take the sales manager’s assistant to lunch
- Make one good ally in your company in each month
Makes Allies of your Peer’s subordinates
- Gain support of your coworker’s teammates
- Teammates help scuttle deliberate or unintentional acts by your peers.
Know everybody by their first name
- Learn everybody’s full name
- Find out what they do, and their job’s importance
- Introduce visitors to other employees and explain their jobs’ importance.
Make one More Call
- Inches make the difference between successful and average employees
- Who does the best job?
a)The salesperson who makes one more sales call
b)The copywriter who does one more draft
Arrive forty-five minutes early and leave fifteen minutes late
- Be first on the job — always arrive early.
- Leave fifteen minutes late to ensure your hard-working reputation.
- Get ahead on your work — arrive early and leave late.
Don’t take work home from the office
If you always take work home, you are:
- Not managing your time properly
- Wasting your precious leisure hours
Remember: No real work is done at home
Earn Your “Invitation Credentials”
•Every corporation has a cosa nostra — an inner,special family.
- This inner group decides:
a) Who becomes CEO
b) The length of tenure
•Entrance credentials characterize those in the innercircle.
Avoid Superiors When You Travel
- If flying with an executive, be sure to:
a) Avoid clever conversation — You are judged on results.
b) Avoid creating an overly industrious image.
c) Sit in a different section.
d) Best option - Fly by yourself.
Eat in Your Hotel Room
•Breakfast and dinner in your room saves time, money,strengthens your individuality, stretches your workday,and extends your office.
- Hotel room activities include:
a) Planning your day
b) Setting daily objective
c) Writing e-mail
Work, Don’t Read Paperbacks, on the Airplane
- Have specific objectives for each trip.
- Plan your work according to the allotted time
- Carry a small stapler.
- Bring a large prestamped envelope to send to youroffice.
- Bring envelopes and stamps for handwritten follow-upnotes.
Keep a “People File”
- Obtain a large address book or a notebook computer.
- Keep a file of people you meet, work with, and get to know.
- Use a pencil to record notations.
- Obtain a business card for file.
- Keep a backup copy in a safe place.
Send handwritten notes
- Handwritten notes make you stand out.
- Handwritten notes are non digital and personal.
- Handwritten notes include thank-yous, congratulations,regrets, for your information, etc.
- Send one handwritten note per week.
- Make sure notes include cards and envelopes
Don’t get Buddy-Buddy with Your Superiors
- Remain business associates, not friends
- Do not cross the line between business and friendship.
- Know your boss’ and subordinate’s problems, plans, personalities, strengths, and weakness and idiosyncracies.
Don’t Hide an Elephant
- Avoid becoming a “hider”
- Become a discoverer and “expose” the problem immediately
- Turn a big problem into an opportunity to shine
- Always act in control of the situation
- Classic elephants: Watergate, Vietnam, and surprise business bankruptcies.
Be visible: Practice “WACADAD”
- Prove your abilities with action — “Words are cheap and deeds are dear”
- Work on visible projects
- Examples of visible activities include:
a)Presentations to senior management
b)Instructing a training class
c’)Speaking before the sales force
Always take vacations
- Your department should function without you.
- Always plan vacation in advance
- Never leave a phone number on vacation
- Inform superiors of trip in advance
- Take a vacation to:
a)Increase chances of meeting helpful people
b) To observe new business practices and trends
c)To think and plan
Always Say “Yes” to a Senior Executive Request
- Always say, “I can do it” when a top executive asks.
- Listen carefully to the request
- Give the boss:
a)More than she/he wanted
b)Sooner than expected
c)With your own touch of ingenuity
Never Surprise Your Boss
- Bosses dislike surprises — good or bad.
- No surprises keep your boss feeling in control.
- Surprising your boss leads to mistrust.
Make Your Boss Look Good and Your Boss’s Boss Look Better
- Improving your boss’s promotion chances leaves a vacancy for you.#
- Your boss’s boss is always the key to assure your promotion chances.
- Make your boss’s boss look good by anticipating their needs and problems
Never Let a Good Boss Make a Mistake
- A good boss is essential for climbing the ladder of success.
- Help your boss avoid making hurtful mistakes by:
a) Doing their homework
b) Giving a heads-up briefing
c) Beefing up a weak presentation
d) Avoid making personal your boss’s mistake.
Add One Big New Thing to Your Life EachYear
- Broadens your horizons and prepares you for a top executive job.
- Examples of big new things:
a) Learn a foreign language
b) Write a book
c) Make a list of things to accomplish in 10 years
Study These Books
- Obvious Adams by Robert Updegraff
- The Bible
- The Art of War by Sun-Tzu
- The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli
- The Forbes Book of Business Quotations Edited byTed Goodman
•The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
- Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
- Anything by Thomas Jefferson
“Dress for a Dance”
- If you Dress for business, you do business
- Dress for success — Your dress= your personality.
- Buy a book on how to dress in business, such as:
a) Dress for Success by John T. Molly
b) New Women’s Dress for Success by John T. Molly
Overinvest in People
- Hiring the best people => Great return on investment.
- Overinvest in salary and emotional currency — praise,encouragement, freedom.
- Corporate leaders should never be anti-people.
•Hire according to the three “I’s” —
a) “I” for integrity
b) “I” for intelligence
c) “I” for the “I can to it” attitude
Overpay Your People
- Underpaying decreases employee productivity.
- Do not cut people cost and expect to save money.
- Key to success: Hire fewer exceptional people allmaking money than more people at a lower payroll cost.
“Stop, Look, and Listen”
- A good president must Stop, Look, and Listen before acting.
- Listening is a learned art and essential for business success.
- Listening = wisdom and intelligence.
Be a Flag-Waving Company Patriot
- Show total commitment to your company and to its products and services.
- Use your company’s products and promote them.
- Buy company stock.
- Never be cynical about your company
Find and Fill the “Data Gaps”
- Identify what you don’t know and what your company doesn’t know.
- Get the facts. Talk to customers and users.
Homework, Homework, Homework
- Avoid the “rocking chair syndrome” — lots of movement,but no real productivity.
- Find the facts and cover all the bases. — Do your homework!
- Homework precedes a successful project
Never Panic — -or Lose Your Temper
Nothing gives one person so much advantage over another as to remain cool and unruffled under all circumstances — -Thomas Jefferson
- In a heated situation, tell yourself to “stay calm.”
- Signs of panic:
a) temper tantrums
c) finger pointing
d) cowardice acts
e) rash decisions
Learn to Speak and Write in Plain English
- Poor communication = loss of time and money.
- Be “to the point”.
- Guidelines for better communication:
a) Write necessary correspondence
b) Choose specific objectives
c) Choose simplest mode
d) Gather facts
e) Write a scattergram
f) Organize message
g) Write a zero draft
h) Write a first draft
i) Edit to a one page final draft
j)Tailor language to audience
Treat All People as Special
Excellent managers make people feel that they—
- are asked, not questioned…
- are over paid, not underpaid…
- are measured, not monitored…
- are people, not personnel…
- are sold on what to do, not told…
- are instrumental, not instruments…
- are workers, not worked…
- are contributors, not costs…
- are needed, not heeded…
Be a Credit Maker, Not a Credit Taker
- A credit maker gives 100 percent credit for work done.
- A credit taker assumes responsibility for other’s work.
- A credit taker is insecure, dishonest and known to all.
Give Informal Surprise Bonuses
- Give bonuses for extraordinary work done.
- Give bonuses randomly to avoid drawing attention.
- Surprise bonuses increase employee motivation and innovation.
Please, Be Polite with Everyone
- Use good manners with everyone.
- Be gracious
- Never pull rank
- Never smoke at meetings or meals
- Never let visitors or clients wait in lobby
- Always say “please” and “thank you”
- Always introduce yourself and others clearly and slowly.
Ten Things to Say that Make People Feel Good
- “Thank you”
- “That was a first — class job you did”
- “I appreciate your effort”
- “I need your help”
- “I am glad you are on the team”
Remember: Always be sincere
The Glory and the Glamour Came after theGrunt work
- The visible parts of business success = The glamour behind the scenes.
- The invisible, day-to-day toil = The grunt work.
- The grunt work precedes the glory.
- Some examples of grunt work:
b) Weekend travel
c) Checking and rechecking
d) Trial and error
Tinker, Tailor, Try
- 97% of people in all companies fear change.
- Be an innovator — It catches attention!
- Tinker with and tailor new ideas to specific needs.
Haste Makes Waste
- Speedy decisions are risky
- Revocable decision: Changeable decision that is madequickly with less risk.
- Irrevocable decision: Non changeable decision thatinvolves more time and risk.
- Examples of revocable decisions: Choosing office layout and advertising schedules
- Examples of irrevocable decisions: Choosing brand names, acquisitions, executive hires
Pour the Coals to a Good Thing
- Never change the formula for success — Only add improvements.
- A good example of a good thing investment — Disney’s legendary Mickey Mouse.
Put the Importance on the Bright Idea, Notthe Source of the Idea
- Good innovators always listen to the ideas of others.
- Idea sources include customers, children, competitors, cab drivers, etc.
- What matters is who implements the idea — Not who created the idea.
Stay Out of Office Politics
- Rampant office politics symbolize a weak leader.
- Symptoms of office politics:
a) Fighting each other instead of competition
b) Currying favor
c) Wasting time
d) Implementing unfair and unclear reward systems
- Spend time creating and accomplishing — Not practicing office politics.
Look Sharp and Be Sharp
- A little vanity is good.
- Avoid faddish or cheap clothes.
- Avoid a pale, unhealthy look
- Have a bright smile
- Practice good grooming
Remember: Be up. And smile
Emulate, Study, and Cherish the Great Boss
- Great bosses are rare.
- Traits of a great boss:
a) Sets challenging, fair goals
c) Fosters employee growth
- Model a good boss’s business behavior
Don’t Go Over Budget
- Get the job done on time and within budget.
- Tight budgets promote creativity, ingenuity, and inventiveness.
- See a tight budget as a challenge
Never Underestimate an Opponent
- Opponents are:
b) Rival managers
c) Buying committees
- Appearance or reputation can be misleading.
- Never underestimating an opponent’s intelligence, skill, dishonest, and cunningness.
- Overestimating your opponent may lead to being pleasantly surprised.
Become a Member of the “Shouldn’t Have Club”
- Avoid the “should’ve club” of risk adverse, non doers — ”I should’ve done that” or “I would’ve done that.”
- Join the “shouldn’t have club” of doers and risk takers — ”Gee, I shouldn’t have done that.”
Remember: No guts, no glory
The Concept Doesn’t Have to Be Perfect, but the Execution of It Does
- Waiting for the perfect time or perfect product or perfect way ==> Nothing.
- Execute the concept with meticulous attention to detail.
- Excellence of execution ==>Success
Record and Collect Your Mistakes with Care and Pride
- See mistakes as learning tools
- Record in your idea book:
b)Causes of mistakes
c) How to handle the same event again
- Acknowledging mistakes signals security and confidence
Live for today,; Plan for tomorrow; Forget about yesterday
- Do not rekindle yesterday — it is past history
- Get on with today — it is whatever you want it to be
- Plan for the future
Have fun, laugh
- Is your job not fun? — Change jobs or make it fun.
- A serious pressured work environment leads to stress and inefficiency.
- A sense of humour = A successful executive
Treat your family as your number one client
- Put your family 1st place to work
- Schedule your family on your calendar
- Put family activities on “To Do” list
- Respond to your family as you do your job or an important client
No goals, no glory
- No goals, no win, no glory
- Goals shape our plans, direct your energies, and focus your responses
- Record goals in Idea Notebook
a)Business and life goals
b)Use 25, 10, 5 and 1 year timetables
- Create a yearly, monthly, weekly, and daily “To Do” list — record a plan to reach goals
Always remember your subordinate’s spouses
- A spouse can be:
a) An important ally
b)A virulent enemy
- Always thank spouse for their support
- Arrange a “weekend for two” for a job well done.
- Invite spouse to dinner with a colleague
Seeing the job through the salespeople’s eyes
- Selling is key to the corporation.
- A salesperson has direct contact with the customer
- A successful executive spends time in the sales field.
Be a very tough “Heller Seller”
- Learn to sell like hell
- To be a salesperson that sells:
a)Determine “customer’s” needs
b)Determine how “product” will satisfy customer needs
c)Develop “persistence” and “tenacity”
c)Make sales call necessary to make the order
Don’t be an empire builder
- Get the job done with less — less people and less money.
- Promotions and power go to producers — not people administrators.
Push Products, Not Paper
- Corporations encourage the bureaucratic creep, — steady growth of red tape.
- Corporations need innovators and prudent risk takers — internal entrepreneurs.
- Typical corporate entrepreneurs are:
Remember: Avoid getting paper-trapped
To Teach is to Learn and to Lead
- Always accept a chance to teach others:
a) What you do
b)Why you do it
c)How you do it
- Good preparation and practice — A good presentation
- A good presentation creates:
a) A reputation for being an expert in your field
b)Familiarity with other company departments
c)Strong circles of influence
Do not get discouraged by idea killers
- Idea killers say, “we have tried that before”, “management wont buy it”, “we can’t afford it”, “it wont work”
- Idea killers nourish the status quo.
- Idea people build businesses
- Fight the idea killers by making the ideas work