Self Help

What They Don't Teach You at Harvard Business School - Mark H. McCormack

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Matheus Puppe

· 36 min read

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  • This is the introduction to the book “What They Don’t Teach You at Harvard Business School” by Mark McCormack.

  • McCormack founded International Management Group (IMG) in 1960 which grew to become a global sports, fashion and media company.

  • He argues that while business school provides a foundation, there are many “ins and outs” of everyday business that cannot be taught. Experience is the best teacher.

  • Through founding and growing IMG over decades, McCormack encountered every type of business situation and personality. He draws on these experiences to provide advice.

  • The book covers topics like selling, negotiating, starting/running a business, managing people, and “getting things done.” However, the overarching theme is developing “street smarts” - an applied sense of reading people and using it to one’s advantage.

  • According to McCormack, most business situations come down to people situations. Understanding people and how to influence them can provide an edge for decision-making and outcomes.

  • The passage discusses the importance of reading people and understanding their true character beyond any surface impressions or roles they may adopt.

  • Two anecdotes are provided as examples. The first involves chance meetings with Richard Nixon in 1963 where the author noted Nixon used stock phrases, indicating insincerity. This aligned with Nixon’s later troubles.

  • The second story involves golfer Doug Sanders, who had a reputation as a risk-taker. However, he promptly sent the author his commission from an exhibition, demonstrating good character.

  • In business, it is important to see beyond people’s corporate personas to understand their “real self.” True character will eventually be revealed through words and deeds in different situations over time.

  • Understanding people’s character helps be more effective in sales, hiring, negotiations and other business dealings. One shouldn’t be swayed by preconceived notions that prevent genuine insights into a situation or person. Reading people involves open-minded perception of what is really happening.

Here is a summary of the provided text:

The passage discusses Dave DeBusschere’s frustrating meetings with an insurance executive in Connecticut. The executive was genuinely interested in the TV show concept Dave was pitching, but was too overwhelmed by Dave’s celebrity status to focus. The executive reasoned that if it was such a great opportunity, a “regular guy” rather than a famous athlete like Dave would be selling it.

The passage emphasizes the importance of observing people and gaining insights. Small unconscious acts like avoiding eye contact or leaning away during sensitive questions can reveal much. Insights allow predicting how people may act based on their true nature. Listening is also critical for business success. A Pepsi example shows missing key information from not truly listening to a potential partner.

Observing aggressively means noticing both conscious and unconscious signals people send. Things like posture, decor choices, and eye contact can indicate how substance-focused someone is beyond initial impressions. Overall insights into people’s nature can provide subtle edges in business interactions and predictions about how situations may unfold.

The passage discusses how observing people in various contexts, both business and social, can provide useful insights into their personalities, strengths, weaknesses, and how they may act in business negotiations. Some key points:

  • Pay attention to interactions between people outside your company, like their eye contact and body language, to gauge influences and read what they may really be thinking.

  • Ego plays a big role in business and understanding a person’s ego can help you negotiate with them. Look for clues about their confidence, decision-making style, consistency, etc.

  • Even if an initial interaction doesn’t result in a deal, a positive impression of how someone handled it could lead to future opportunities.

  • Be wary of people who name-drop or imply strong connections that may not be accurate upon further investigation.

  • Learn about people from their subordinates, support staff, and how well they emulate traits of their bosses.

  • Social contexts and informal venues where guards are down, like sports games, can provide useful insights into personalities like impatience, temperament, ego, etc. that are relevant for negotiations. Pay attention to clues from any interaction, business or social.

The passage discusses the value of observing people in casual settings like breakfast, lunch and dinner meetings rather than just formal business discussions. Some key insights that can be gained include how firmly someone will stand by their negotiating position and how easily they may be swayed.

Specific anecdotes are provided about observing people’s behavior in restaurants when ordering food or changing their mind. Playing golf is also cited as a good way to learn about someone’s personality through how they handle things like conceding short putts or tracking their accurate handicap. Smal details and fringe moments before and after meetings are highlighted as more revealing than the core discussions.

The passage presents a 7 step approach to better observing and understanding people which includes listening aggressively, observing body language and non-verbal cues, talking less and asking questions, re-evaluating first impressions, taking time to apply insights gained, and being discreet about observations of others. The goal is to open oneself up to subtle clues about people’s character.

The passage discusses the importance of managing impressions and perceptions in business situations. Some key points:

  • It is better to act rather than react and stay detached, as this allows you to gather more insights and control the situation. Reactiving and overreacting will give away your advantage.

  • Little things like dress, manners, efficiency make impressions on others and influence how they perceive and relate to you. Carefully managing these small details can help manipulate perceptions in your favor.

  • Play off others’ preconceptions - do the opposite of what is expected to gain an advantage through surprise. For example, appearing less knowledgeable than expected or avoiding aggression if aggression is anticipated.

  • Leverage cultural and language differences strategically. Pretend misunderstandings can conceal knowledge or drop phrases in another language to gain respect. Playing into perceived differences can also work to your benefit.

The overall message is that subtly influencing and controlling how others perceive you through your words, actions and impression management is an important tactical skill in business interactions and negotiations.

  • Mr. Fujita had lost his prized Rose Bowl but two days later had it back. This implies he found it or had it returned to him within two days of losing it. No other context is provided about how or why he got it back.

Here are the key points about the importance of meeting on your own turf from the passage:

  • Meeting at your own office or cubicle gives you more control over the meeting than meeting somewhere else. You can better exercise control over the dynamics and flow of the discussion.

  • Meeting on your own turf capitalizes on the “territorial imperative” or sense of invasion the other party will feel by coming to your space. This subtle tension can be diffused to earn trust and confidence from the other party before the meeting even starts.

  • The passage focuses on keeping your office space neat, clean, efficient and conveying that business gets done there. It argues a “powerful” office doesn’t need much affectation, just give that impression.

  • In summary, meeting on your own turf allows you to exercise subtle psychological advantages through ideas of control over the space and sense of invasion or tension for the other party. It frames the interaction on your own preferred terms from the outset.

  • As the company got back on its feet after difficulties, it not only increased client fees to make up for lost revenue, but also expanded the business relationship further when the company was later acquired by a new parent company, Allegheny International.

  • Maintaining good relationships is important in business. It’s best to be understanding if someone wants to change an agreement or position, listen to their perspective, and consider flexibility within the overall context of the relationship. Forcing strict adherence to past commitments can damage trust.

  • Successful relationships are built on soft bargaining and compromise when possible, prioritizing long-term cooperation over short-term wins. Making concessions or accepting alternate proposals can strengthen bonds for ongoing partnerships.

  • Legitimate, sincere flattery that accurately recognizes someone’s contributions and skills can be an effective persuasion technique, as long as it’s not transparently false praise aimed solely at making a sale.

  • Developing personal connections through friendly interactions like casually checking in on interests or recent experiences helps transform clients into friends. People are more likely to choose doing business with a friend.

  • Seeking guidance from respected mentors and sharing appropriate information on a confidential basis can transform those relationships into ones where the other party is strongly motivated to offer favors and assistance.

  • Discretion is paramount, as violating confidences will likely be discovered and seriously damage trust. It’s best to avoid committing private discussions to written records that could be seen by others. Maintaining neutrality is often the safest approach when privy to sensitive client information.

  • A good sense of humor can be a very valuable asset, allowing one to defuse tensions through laughter and maintain perspective even in challenging situations.

  • A company was going through a period where the finance/accounting people were heavily influencing decisions to cut costs by closing plants. They had already closed plants in Massachusetts and Texas.

  • Robert McNamara, president of Ford, called a meeting to discuss closing another plant. Everyone was against it but the accountants’ projections were dire so no one spoke up.

  • Finally, a veteran Ford executive named Charlie Beacham jokingly said “Why don’t we close down all the plants and really start saving money?” This broke the tension and lightened the mood.

  • The decision was made to postpone any further closures for now. The accountants were told to work for the company rather than run it solely based on numbers.

The narrator had been trying for years to convince Andre Heiniger, the chairman of Rolex, to sponsor a new scoreboard and timing system at Wimbledon. However, Heiniger felt it was a waste of money and associated sponsoring clocks with mass market watch brands.

The narrator knew the only way to change Heiniger’s mind was to get him to Wimbledon. During a match, while sipping tea in the Royal Box, Heiniger took in the elegance of Centre Court and the excitement of the match. After the match, he gestured around and said “This is Rolex,” agreeing to sponsor the new scoreboard and timing system. Getting Heiniger to experience Wimbledon in person allowed the narrator to leverage Heiniger’s appreciation for the event to gain his support for the sponsorship deal.

The passage discusses three important rules for climbing the corporate ladder and getting ahead in one’s career:

  1. Survival of the fittest. Due to the pyramid structure of most companies, there is natural competition between different levels of management as there are limited spots at the top. This creates subtle antagonism.

  2. Your peers are your natural allies. It is important not to alienate one’s peers, as they can be the strongest allies when trying to advance.

  3. Knowing and using the system. All companies have some sort of system in place, whether visible or not. To progress, one needs to understand their company’s particular system and find ways to utilize it effectively.

The key message is that getting ahead takes more than just skills and qualifications - it requires awareness of workplace politics and dynamics, and strategically navigating the “games” that are part of corporate advancement. Relationships with peers and understanding how power structures work are particularly important.

  • The passage discusses three phrases that are hard for many people to say but that effective executives know how and when to say: “I don’t know”, “I need help”, and “I was wrong”.

  • Saying “I don’t know” is important to avoid appearing like a know-it-all and to leave room for getting more information. Top executives are comfortable admitting what they don’t know.

  • Asking for help with “I need help” shows willingness to work with others and learn, rather than trying to do everything alone. Helping others when asked also builds support networks.

  • Admitting mistakes with “I was wrong” shows an attitude of constantly testing limits and pushing boundaries to get ahead, rather than being too afraid of making errors. Effective executives know how to acknowledge errors.

  • In summary, these three phrases that are hard to say can actually help executives’ effectiveness by avoiding pretense, building relationships, and demonstrating a growth mindset when it comes to challenges.

  • People who are overconfident in their abilities have the hardest time admitting mistakes. It’s better to own up to mistakes and move on rather than try to cover them up or blame others.

  • Successful executives are able to admit when they are wrong because it allows them to learn and move past mistakes to their next success.

  • Employees who are evasive or conceal details in expense reports and behaviors raise doubts about their trustworthiness and honesty.

  • Loyalty is important to employers. Threatening to look for other jobs unless getting a counteroffer undermines loyalty and isn’t effective. It’s better to emphasize your loyalty to the company.

  • Bosses judge employees on their commitment, attention to detail, and immediate follow-up on tasks.

  • It’s important to work within company systems and norms rather than trying to change them or use one’s position for personal goals or expression. Building relationships with colleagues helps one succeed.

  • Making things easy for others, like reviewing contracts proactively, builds cooperation across departments.

  • Be selective about which issues to push on - don’t waste credibility on small matters. Leverage one’s influence strategically to have the most impact.

The key details are:

  • The company’s new CFO went to Pittsburgh to meet with Mr. Rogers, the famous children’s television host.

  • The author was confused about why the CFO would be meeting with Mr. Rogers, as that did not seem related to his new CFO role.

  • It turned out the CFO’s previous role had involved licensing children’s products, so he still thought that work was part of his responsibilities as CFO.

  • This illustrates that people in a company often have misconceptions about each other’s roles and responsibilities. The CFO and his boss had differing views on what the CFO’s job entailed.

  • It’s important for executives to be clear on expectations for their role to avoid misunderstandings and ensure they are being evaluated appropriately.

So in summary, executives were actually upset that they had not been “appointed” to clear expectations and responsibilities for their new role, as illustrated by the CFO meeting with Mr. Rogers when he thought that was still part of his job.

The speaker is often asked why they keep pushing themselves so hard. Their simple answer is that they love what they do. They don’t have a better answer to give, but the truth is that they are driven to perform any task well, no matter how mundane. This attitude transforms even mundane jobs into something greater. Some people may get ahead through management training, but the speaker believes successful executives all had strong sales skills, even if they didn’t realize it. Selling is an important skill that isn’t taught enough. Many look down on selling roles, but the best understand its importance. Fear of rejection and failure are common challenges, but can also be strong motivators for success if channeled positively. The timing also has to be right for ideas and opportunities - success isn’t just about the idea itself but the environment.

  • Don’t write off a good idea or project simply because the timing wasn’t right when you first proposed it. Circumstances can change over time that make an idea or project more feasible.

  • If someone says no to an idea initially, it doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t like it - it could be for economic or internal reasons you aren’t aware of at that moment.

  • If you truly believe in an idea, consider going back to the same person or company in the future (weeks, months or even years later) when the timing may be better.

  • Timing is a key factor in selling and can impact things like how long it takes to close a deal, when to say certain things, etc. But timing is not rigid - it involves judgment calls based on perceptiveness to the situation.

  • Listen for cues from customers on their processes, budget cycles, etc. to understand when timing may be better. Also listen rather than talk to grasp timing.

  • Envision the “life span” of a deal as having its own script or phases. Follow that script rather than force timing.

  • Have patience and be willing to adjust your own timeframe to suit others involved. Lack of patience can blow deals.

  • Persistence involves quality interactions, understanding when is best to engage, not just quantity of contacts. Remaining engaged over time is important.

  • Take advantage of timing opportunities when a client or customer is happy or received good news, as that is a good time to discuss contract extensions or new deals.

  • Capitalize on the bad timing of competitors, such as when a competitor angers a client or event organizer.

  • Consider weighting both the present situation and future timing factors when deciding deals and endorsements. Short-term deals may be better if future success is uncertain.

  • Major annual events like the Olympics provide timing opportunities years in advance to plan sales efforts.

  • Key dates on the calendar like elections, holidays, or anniversaries can be leveraged for marketing and sales.

  • Newly hired or soon-to-leave executives may be more open to deals due to their situation.

  • Consider the recipient’s attention span and don’t drone on in presentations or discussions.

  • If discussing multiple topics, save the most important for last and reserve sufficient time.

  • Impress clients by taking less of their time than expected for meetings when possible.

The passage discusses the importance and benefits of using silence in selling. It provides examples of how tactical uses of silence can allow the other person to talk more, which can get them to agree with your position or provide more information. Silence can also force the other person to elaborate if they feel a need to fill the void.

Some key points about using silence effectively include:

  • Pretending not to know specifics to get the other person explaining in their own words
  • Not asking follow up questions to encourage more elaboration from the other person
  • Using silence to collect your thoughts before responding
  • Allowing silence after asking for a commitment to avoid overexplaining

The passage advises only stating positive aspects and omitting potentially negative details. It also recommends avoiding excessive praise or rehashing details after a sale is made. Overall, it promotes using silence tactically to facilitate discussion, allow others to share more of their perspective, and avoid unnecessary speech that could undermine the sale.

  • Knowing your product inside and out is critical for a salesperson. A lack of familiarity will turn off potential customers immediately.

  • It’s important to understand not just mechanical features but also the intangible benefits, purpose, and image being projected by the product. These are key to convincing customers.

  • Anticipate objections customers may have, especially around price, and be ready to alter their perspective by framing the value differently, such as comparing costs to alternatives.

  • Some ideas or products are simply not viable no matter how hard you try to sell them. Cut losses when it becomes clear something won’t work rather than stubbornly persisting.

  • Focus efforts on the top 20% of customers who make up 80% of business. Customize interactions and outreach to their interests and tastes.

  • Approach sales differently based on understanding the company culture, whether established or new, conservative or aggressive. Momentum means companies stick to old ways even if goals have changed.

  • Figuring out decision makers within large, complex companies can be challenging. It may not be obvious departments and may involve consensus among high levels.

  • Companies have decision-making processes that are usually discernible if you do your homework and ask the right questions. Most employees are happy to provide information about their company’s structure, priorities, problems, strengths, etc.

  • Don’t make assumptions based on job titles alone. The real decision makers are not always who they seem based on organizational charts. People move between roles as well.

  • Finding influential “stars” early in their careers and building relationships with them can pay off significantly down the road when they rise to leadership positions in their own companies.

  • No multinational company executive is ever happy with their international operations, so opportunities there can lead to broader opportunities.

  • “Positioning” refers to determining what emotional benefits or attributes a customer truly buys and conveying those to influence their perception and purchasing decisions. It involves strategically emphasizing certain facts over others to achieve the desired impression or image. The most sophisticated positioning uses reflection and perception to influence reality indirectly.

  • Athletes don’t stay champions forever. It’s important to position them in ways that don’t depend on continuing to win, like promoting standard of excellence above competitors.

  • For golf and tennis clients, the agency avoids “win ads” focused on current championship status, as that won’t last. They position athletes based on enduring qualities like being a five-time champion or automotive expert.

  • Determining value is difficult but some questions to consider are uniqueness, alternatives, need/urgency, replacement cost, precedents, passion factor, long-term potential. Don’t be afraid to name your price first in negotiations sometimes.

  • The right place can be as important as the right time for a sale. Informal, relaxed settings where the buyer’s guard is down tend to work better than formal offices. Social settings associated with hobbies or pastimes can also help.

  • Important to understand what the buyer wants to buy and who does the buying before pitching. Find the problems and show how working together can solve them. Know the company’s processes and decision makers.

  • Let potential buyers say no on some trial proposals first before the real pitch. It allows them to feel smarter and establishes the right environment for a yes.

  • Sell defensively by finding out who the competition is disliked and position the solution as pushing away from rivals.

  • Often best just to expose the product and let the exposure promote itself. Buyers will develop their own promotional ideas and sell themselves on being involved. May also give the product away to gain exposure through personable athletes or personalities.

  • Get preliminary opinions from interested buyers to shape the proposal. Having input makes them commit to the larger idea before realizing.

Here is a summary of the key points using “them”:

Agreeable objectives that can be precisely defined and clearly stated beforehand are important. Any proposal, concept, or idea that directly responds to those objectives is halfway to being sold by them. Getting everyone to agree on clear objectives upfront helps them evaluate proposals and makes it more likely for them to support something that meets those predefined goals. Precisely framing the discussion around jointly decided aims and targets helps smooth the path to a favorable decision.

Having aligned expectations and a shared definition of success from the start provides a structure for them to assess options. Solutions developed with those standards in mind are predisposed to seeming suitable by default. Coming to consensus on the problems to be addressed makes reaching consensus on approaches to tackling them more attainable.

  • If an ad proposal reaches the stage of agency review, it likely means someone at the client company already likes the idea. However, agencies may be overly paranoid and try to tear ideas apart before understanding internal client support.

  • The author met the chairman of a Fortune 500 company socially and mentioned a concept he felt may work for the company. The chairman was interested but said it had to go through the promotion department. When the author followed up there, the idea got no interest.

  • The author then told the promotion director about directly seeing the chairman’s positive reaction. The author suggested it was in the director’s interest to learn more about the idea. Ultimately, the agency sold the idea to the company, it worked, and the director got sole internal credit despite not originating the idea.

  • The key points are that internal client support is important for an idea to progress, but agencies may be too skeptical. The author was able to leverage seeing the chairman’s positive reaction to get the promotion director interested in an idea they initially disregarded.

  • The passage discusses strategies for handling contract negotiations where one party wants a longer-term contract commitment while the other wants shorter-term.

  • It describes a past negotiation with Slazenger where they wanted to avoid terminating anyone they had a long-term financial commitment to over 5 years.

  • It also describes a past negotiation with Allstate Insurance over golfer Arnold Palmer’s contract. The new CEO did not want a long commitment, so they agreed to a 15-year contract that could be terminated after 3 years with a penalty fee slightly more than the annual fee. This discouraged early termination.

  • The key strategies discussed are structuring contracts and penalties in a way that discourages early termination even if a party wants out, in order to maintain the relationship and agreement over the long run. Negotiating the “magic point” where both sides feel they are getting something is important.

Here is a summary of the key points from the provided text on negotiation:

  • Get the other party focused on smaller “side issues” to distract from the main issues and make small concessions seem bigger than they are. This can help you get the big prize you want.

  • Candor at key moments, like admitting something is important to you, can help diffuse tension and get the other party to become more conciliatory when an impasse seems insurmountable.

  • It’s important to assess whether you are negotiating from a position of relative strength or weakness. Strength can discourage compromise on minor issues, while appearing weak can encourage unnecessary concessions.

  • Vague or non-binding language in contracts generally benefits one party more. Determine upfront which type of agreement better suits your goals.

  • Draft contracts yourself first when possible to control the language and have first say over questions that arise. Be wary of legal terminology that could change meanings.

  • Break down guarantees, royalties, etc into clear allocations for each product/territory to avoid ambiguity and maximize payouts.

  • Move contracts through decision makers, not just legal, to avoid unnecessary delays and maintain momentum. Speed of execution is important.

  • IMG’s early success in golf representation led them to diversify into other individual sports like tennis, auto racing, and skiing to represent stars in those sports globally.

  • They grew slowly and deliberately at first to solidify their position in golf before expanding, taking time to learn and get the right people and infrastructure in place.

  • To fill gaps in their TV expertise, they hired Jay Michaels from MCA to start their TV division TWI, which became a leader in sports programming and rights.

  • IMG established international offices around the world staffed locally to take advantage of global demand for athletes and developments like satellite TV.

  • They began charging for their expertise in sports marketing through their corporate consulting division MCI, as more companies wanted to utilize sports but lacked knowledge of how to do so effectively.

Here is a summary of the key companies mentioned:

  • dak, R.J. Reynolds, AT&T, Seagram, Rolex, Hertz, Heinz, the Hearst Corporation, and Procter & Gamble - These are described as clients of MCI that helped suggest other ways for MCI to profit from its expertise beyond just consulting, such as creating and implementing sports events.

  • Pepsi, Grand Slam, World Triathlon Championships - Events that MCI’s concept of creating sports events led them to establish.

  • Legends men’s and women’s tennis tours, World Championship of Women’s Golf - Other tours and events MCI created using their specialized sports event expertise.

  • Picasso - An anecdote is provided about Picasso charging $10,000 for a scribble on a napkin to illustrate that expertise takes time to develop and should be valued accordingly.

  • Arnold Palmer, Bjorn Borg, Jackie Stewart, Alberto Salazar, Sebastian Coe - High profile athlete clients whose financial holdings and investments MCI manages.

  • Laraine Ashton, London, Legends, New York - Modeling agencies MCI has acquired as part of expanding into the modeling industry.

  • Czonka/Kiick, World Football League - An example of an early sports contract negotiated by MCI involving a million dollar deal in American football.

  • As organizations grow and systems take root, they can begin to choke out creativity and common sense. Systems are inflexible and things become difficult to change once entrenched.

  • John DeLorean’s anecdote shows how easily misunderstandings can arise within large company systems, as a casual remark of his became blown out of proportion throughout GM.

  • Responsibility gets passed around within large organizations, so by the time a task reaches the person who is supposed to do it, important context may have been lost.

  • An example with Arnold Palmer’s endorsement deal with Lincoln Mercury illustrates how minor details got distorted as the request was communicated down the organizational chain, resulting in unnecessary costly arrangements.

  • Well-run companies focus on breaking the stranglehold of rigid systems through flexible structures and policies.

  • As organizations grow, preserving the creative “small company feeling” becomes a challenge. Systems and bureaucracy tend to dull the competitive edge.

  • Segmenting the company into autonomous but interconnected profit centers was an attempt to structured things in a way that gave everyone an important role and maintained that small company spirit as the organization expanded.

  • Structures should not be allowed to run the operations - flexibility is needed to respond quickly to new opportunities that may not fit neatly into existing systems. Getting buy-in for this flexibility is also important from employees.

  • Specialized sports events hosted by IMG have helped showcase the company’s flexibility. These events often involve coordination between multiple IMG companies. However, there is no formal structure defining these events.

  • An example event described is a Masters of Hockey game between hockey legends and former Boston Bruins stars. The idea came from an executive in a different division than the one that administered it.

  • As chairman, the author reserves the right to make arbitrary decisions at times. This is needed to provide for future growth and flexibility, even if decisions are not always fair or popular in the short term.

  • Outdated policies can stifle business momentum. The author has encountered many restrictive policies that no longer made sense.

  • Policies should not be followed just due to precedent if it means missing major opportunities.

  • Managing unconventionally by breaking conventions and considering unexpected approaches helps companies gain momentum against existing conventions.

  • Delegation and letting go of tasks is key to being a confident manager, but can be difficult due to egos wanting to control tasks or be seen as essential. Confidence in others and in oneself is needed to delegate well.

These passages discuss various issues related to ego and delegation in management. Some key points:

  • Managers must find ego satisfaction in building up others rather than just tangible tasks. Good managers train and direct employees rather than doing all the work themselves.

  • Executives often hold on to tasks they enjoy rather than delegating, even if not the best use of their time. They also tend to pass off undesirable tasks.

  • People delegate for the wrong reasons like wanting to do a task rather than what’s best for the company.

  • Early on, the author personally handled all requests from star client Arnold Palmer. But over time as the business grew, he had to delegate and hire experts to properly manage different areas.

  • A good mantra is to “hire people smarter than yourself” and sell your company’s capabilities rather than just yourself. This allows for proper growth.

  • It takes time (5 hours) to train someone to do a task but saves much more time long-term vs doing it yourself quickly (5 minutes). Training is important for delegation and growth.

  • Flexibility and consistency are key management philosophies. Being flexible to new situations but consistent in processes allows for steady, healthy growth over time. Rigid adherence to old ways can cause erratic results.

So in summary, these passages discuss the ego challenges of delegation for managers and the importance of training, hiring experts, and flexibility for proper management and business growth over time.

The passage discusses four philosophies for dealing with employees:

  1. Pay them what they are worth - start lower and pay more as they prove themselves. Split ego from true contribution.

  2. Make them feel important but also motivate positively and negatively. Praise accomplishments but also point out minor shortcomings to encourage growth. Keep employees on their toes.

  3. Make them think for themselves. Give vague/ open-ended guidance rather than direct answers to encourage independent thought.

  4. Separate office life from social life. Minimize non-work relations to avoid issues from personal clashes/ behaviors impacting work.

The key ideas are:

  • Pay based on performance and contribution over time
  • Motivate through both positive and negative feedback
  • Guide employees to solve problems independently
  • Keep work and personal lives separate

The overall message is about finding the right balance between supporting employees while also challenging and pushing them to get the best results.

  • The passage discusses some challenges that can arise from socializing within a company, such as complicating business relationships and opening up confidentiality issues. It notes that it’s generally better not to socialize too closely with subordinates to avoid problems.

  • There are various ways to fire people, from giving notice and preparing them to abrupt firings. When firing loyal employees, it’s best to first explore other options and give them time to adjust or find a new job. Dishonest or disloyal employees may need to be fired more quickly.

  • Consultants should be fired if their advice is not being followed, as the company is wasting money by not implementing the consultant’s recommendations.

  • Leaders should lead by example and demand as much from themselves as their subordinates. They shouldn’t ask employees to do things the leader isn’t also willing to do themselves.

  • Doomsayers within companies who try to push defensive moves into new businesses for protection should be ignored. Defensive moves rarely work well.

  • To get a less biased perspective, leaders should get to know people one or two levels below them to understand what’s really happening beyond the usual reports.

  • Companies should remember their core purpose of making a profit. Sometimes increased pricing can be a simple path to improved profitability.

  • Management teams are often afraid to fully test how much profit they can achieve or ask for full expenses in addition to fees. They are reluctant to explore the outer limits of what clients may be willing to pay.

  • An example is given of a secretary who did excellent extra work for clients but never billed them properly over two years, as she was uncomfortable discussing fees.

  • Executives must learn to control their time rather than be controlled by it. Interruptions and constant activity make it hard to accomplish planned work.

  • Solutions involve proactively scheduling work and non-work time, including relaxation, rather than constantly expanding time to fit growing activities. Some people resist effective time management as it makes them seem less busy.

  • Controlling time leads to greater productivity and enjoyment than being at the mercy of an unscheduled day. Important to view each week as a fixed set of hours and schedule relaxation as well as work tasks.

  • The person starts their day earlier than necessary to have dedicated personal time for reading, relaxing, and exercising before their first appointment. This allows them to avoid rushing.

  • They hate leaving unfinished tasks and work intensely to carve out moments of “empty space” in their schedule with nothing to do. This motivates them to finish work on time.

  • They have a highly developed awareness of managing time down to the minute. Every task and commitment is viewed in terms of the time allotted for it.

  • They challenge themselves to fit as many tasks as possible into short time segments to develop time efficiency.

  • They have extensive knowledge about minimizing time wasted on travel, tasks, routines, and activities based on years of experience.

  • They keep a detailed organizational system with legal pads, calendars, and index cards to schedule all tasks, calls, trips in advance. This allows them to forget about tasks and focus on the present.

  • Sticking to schedules is important. Interruptions are scheduled like any other task. Enough time must be allocated for each task.

  • Time management is a constant process of planning schedules for the short and long term to stay on top of tasks.

Here are the key points from the summary:

  • A significant portion of the workday is spent dealing with people, so it’s important to factor in their individual styles and personalities when budgeting time.

  • Some people can cover many topics quickly, while others are more drawn out even for simple discussions. It’s best to budget more time for those who are more verbose.

  • You should have a good idea of discussion topics and complexity before meetings, but also factor in individual communication styles - how quickly they get to the point, personal style, etc.

  • The author provides examples of two CEOs - one who gets to the point quickly, the other who has more meandering discussions that require allocating more time.

  • Returning all phone calls is important for personal style, but calls should be initiated in a controlled way to plan what you want to accomplish.

  • Pausing before phone calls allows time to anticipate goals and plan the quickest path.

  • Get to the point first in calls before small talk to be efficient with time.

  • Provide outside dates for follow up if a definite response can’t be given to avoid wasted “long maybes”.

  • Initiate follow up calls yourself rather than playing phone tag to resolve issues within two calls.

  • Use mutual acquaintances, desired information, or no-cost opportunities to motivate others to take your call.

  • Silence on requested actions or agreements over the phone implies consent to save time.

Here is a summary of the key points about internal meetings:

  • Meetings with more than 4-5 attendees tend to be less productive, as productivity decreases exponentially with larger numbers.

  • Companies often have executives who judge their importance by how many people they can force to attend meetings. There is also “left-out factor” where people want to attend meetings to feel important.

  • Meetings should be reviewed regularly to assess if their frequency, necessity, and size are still appropriate. Not everyone needs to attend every meeting.

  • The frequency and purposes of regularly scheduled meetings can often be altered without losing effectiveness, such as combining some meetings or reducing their frequency from biweekly to monthly.

  • Decision making is difficult and ineffective in large committee meetings. Meetings are better used to get different views, not make decisions.

  • It’s important to establish a clear agenda, start/end times, and distribute this information ahead of time to keep meetings on track and productive. Shorter informational items should be at the beginning.

  • Many “meetings” are better handled through informal hallway discussions of 3-4 people rather than formal scheduled meetings.

  • When meeting with heads of sports federations or other unpaid volunteer positions, it’s important not to be too rushed or forceful. Let them talk at their own pace and guide the conversation. Trying to speed things along too quickly can backfire.

  • The author prefers restaurant meetings to office meetings since they are more informal and relaxed. This helps the other person open up. Some tips for effective restaurant meetings include keeping it to one-on-one, reserving larger tables, and not starting business talk until after ordering.

  • It’s important to know your own work habits and schedule your time accordingly. For the author, early mornings are best for thinking and calls to other time zones. Afternoons are less frenetic. Sticking to a schedule that fits your rhythms helps focus and avoid stress.

  • Saying no is an important time-saver, even when it’s difficult. A polite but firm no is better than dragging things out. Making quick decisions rather than seeking every last fact is also important for effectiveness. Intuition plays a big role in decision-making alongside analytical data.

The key message is to be thoughtful about etiquette and customs, but not move too slowly. Also important are scheduling based on personal rhythms, making clear decisions promptly, and balancing analysis with intuition. Taking time to do things right sets the stage for future effectiveness.

The passage discusses making good decisions based on facts and data. Some key points:

  • Facts alone won’t make the decision for you and require interpretation. Look around the fringes of facts for trends, biases, opportunities.

  • The most useful information may lie beyond just the facts known. Don’t be constrained by only what is already known.

  • Good decisions must consider how circumstances have changed over time, not just rely on old facts.

  • Allow first impressions to settle before making a final decision. Keep options open initially.

  • Good decisions are self-fulfilling if you commit to making them work, rather than doubting them.

  • Flip a coin to help clarify an indecisive decision by seeing your reaction to the outcome.

  • Informal, quick exchanges of information are generally more efficient than formal meetings and reports.

  • Writing is not always necessary - consider if verbal communication would be simpler and more efficient if there is no special reason to write it down.

The passage emphasizes interpreting facts fully, looking beyond just known data, avoiding outdated assumptions, giving decisions a chance, and preferring informal information sharing when possible over more formal written reports.

The key advice is about being realistic and asking tough questions before starting a new business. Some key points:

  • Examine your motives - make sure it’s not just to escape a job you dislike. You need true passion and commitment to succeed.

  • Understand the risks - the first two years will likely be very difficult. You need emotional commitment to keep going during tough times.

  • Question if your idea truly fills a need or gap. Having expertise alone is often not enough.

  • Analyze market connections - how does the idea connect to current trends and what will convince customers? Generic ideas often fail.

  • Consider problems - what issues will likely arise and how can you solve them? Be prepared to address challenges.

  • Evaluate your skills - are you truly the right person to make it work? Past relevant experience increases chances of success.

  • Don’t get caught up in romanticizing the idea alone. Ask hard questions and be prepared to acknowledge weaknesses or risks up front. Honest self-assessment is important before launching a new venture.

  • The passage warns against pursuing new business ideas without properly considering their “doability” - how realistic and feasible they are to execute. It discusses how starting a restaurant often fails because founders lack the right aptitudes like business and sales skills.

  • It advocates starting small and keeping things simple. Many new businesses fail because founders overestimate the capital needed and underestimate operating expenses. It suggests proving your concept with minimal funding first before expanding.

  • Being flexible and open to new opportunities that arise is important for business success and growth. New lines of business may emerge unexpectedly from existing operations.

  • Sharing success with employees who make substantial contributions keeps them motivated and aligned with company goals. Perks and compensation should be tied to performance.

  • Overhead costs are usually underestimated. The passage advises doubling initial overhead estimates to plan budgets more accurately. Neither underfunding nor overinflating plans are practical.

  • Focus on generating income first before structuring complex long-term plans or organizations. Prove business viability with real customers before elaborating strategies.

  • Prospectuses tend to be unrealistic about timelines, cash flows, and projected numbers. Practical experience often differs from upfront paper plans. Steady progress is more achievable than lofty predictions.

  • The author cautions against taking proposed business ideas and prospectuses at face value if the projected financial numbers seem unrealistic or are mainly focused on providing a high salary to the entrepreneur. This can indicate a lack of belief in the actual viability of the business.

  • When people become self-employed, they gain the freedom to be paid what they’re truly worth. But it requires a different mindset of filling every work hour productively, not just being busy. Long hours alone don’t translate to accomplishment.

  • The author advises against taking on business partners or accepting minority equity stakes in companies, as these often limit flexibility and do not provide real ownership power or value.

  • Fear of failure can be harnessed to drive success if a person focuses on knowing they did all they could to prepare, rather than worrying about potential outcomes out of their control.

  • In closing, the author warns that feeling self-satisfied with accomplishments inhibits further advancement. True champions constantly seek greater goals and downplay their achievements to stay hungry and driven to improve.

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About Matheus Puppe