top of page
The Rules of Business. Fast Companys Editors and Writers

Ask your employees these questions to understand how they are motivated:


1.What are your hot buttonshobbies or interests that you like to talk about a lot?

2.What increases your positive emotions, or fills your bucket the most?

3.From who do you most like to receive recognition or praise?

4.What recognition or praise do you like best?  Do you like public, private, verbal or other forms of recognition?

5.What form of recognition motivates you most?

6.What is the greatest recognition you have ever received?



• Execution is the ability to mesh strategy with reality, align people with goals, and achieve the promised results.  Larry Bossidy, CEO Honeywell


•Hold people accountable.  Reward those who execute.  Coach those who dont.  And if they still dont get it, fire them.  You arent helping them, or the organization, by having them stick around.


•4 elements required to execute efficiently:


1.Be clear about what you want to accomplish.

2.Match people to the task at hand.

3.Make sure they buy in.

4.Keep them fired up (make sure they own the new initiative)


•No matter how overwhelmed you are with work, it is always better to hire no one than to hire the wrong person.  It sounds so basic, but the rule is violated every day everywherewith disastrous results.


•A players hire A players, B players hire C players, and C players hire losers.  Let your standards slip once and youre only two generations away from death.


•Knowledge Management: Dont have your people waste time figuring out what someone else in the company has already discovered.  Create and maintain an efficient knowledge management system to share experiences companywide.  By some estimates, up to 70% of what workers do is nothing more than reinventing a wheel that their organization has discovered earlier.


•Leadership is the art of getting people to do what you want because they want to.


•Leadership is about making a vision happen.


•5 Reasons why leaders succeed:


1.They know where they want to go; clear vision

2.They know who is going to help them get there; they get the right people on the bus

3.They make sure those people understand; they get buy in

4.They make sure those people have the tools; equip and empower

5.They give constant feedback; scorecards on the key metrics


•The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey:


1.Be Proactive

2.Begin with the end in mind

3.Put first things first

4.Think win-win

5.Seek first to understand, then to be understood


7.Sharpen the saw (engage in personal renewal)


Theres nothing more appealing than someone who wants to try to grow their own idea.  Gary Cowger, president, North America operations, GM

•Nothing de-motivates people like the equal treatment of un-equals.  When you hire a bozo and treat him the same as a rock star, it deflates the rock star.  Joe Kraus, founder and CEO, JotSpot


•A half-baked strategy well executed will be superior to that marvelous strategy that isnt executed very well.  Allan Gilmour, vice chairman Ford


•When it comes to training and performance reviews, I think we have our priorities reversed.  Shouldnt we spend more time trying to improve the performance of our stars?  After all, these people account for a disproportionately large share of the work in any organization.  Put another way, concentrating on the stars is a highly leveraged activity; if they get better, the impact on group output is very large indeed.  Andy Grove, chairman, Intel


•Steps to driving change


1.Build the right team

2.Get the vision right

3.Communicate for buy-in

4.Empower action

5.Create short-term wins

6.Dont give up in the face of setbacks

7.Make the changes stick


•The impact of customer service: Last year, each of our 10 million customers came in contact with approximately five SAS employees, and this contact lasted an average of 15 seconds each time.  Those 50 million moments of truth are the moments that ultimately will determine whether SAS will succeed or fail as a company.  Jan Carlzon, CEO, Scandinavian Airlines


•How to make big decisions:


1.Framing; deciding what you are going to decideand not decide

2.Gathering intelligence; facts and data that will support internal biases

3.Coming to conclusions; acting on the intelligence you gather

4.Learning from experience; the only thing worse than not knowing how to make a decision is having to make the same decision over and over again.



Performing at
the best


Concentrating on the stars is a highly leveraged activity; if they get better, the impact on group output is very large indeed.  Andy Grove, chairman, Intel

•The four things that characterize great teams:


1.Galvanized by a common goal

2.Driven by team results, not by individual results

3.Diversity; made up of people who think differently

4.Bias toward action; no one hesitates to act out of a fear that what theyre about to do isnt in their area of responsibility.  They just take action.


•Progress comes from the people who think against the grain.  Without nonconformists, you dont advance.  Managing director, Microsoft


Test, test, test.  A person with an idea and no data is another person with an opinion


What gets measured gets done.  Peter Drucker

bottom of page