Bob Sutton’s “15 Things I Believe”

I think I have mentioned him here at least once. I like to read the blog of Bob Sutton, the author of “The No Asshole Rule”. I wish that I could say I have finished the book. I’ve started it along with many others and it is in the pile. I read his blog frequently and always agree with what he has written. Which makes me feel good because he writes for the Harvard Business Review, teaches at Stanford and is a fellow at IDEO. Three things I like very much.

I have posted this before, but I am posting it again. On his blog he has a list, I love these!

15 THINGS I BELIEVE
1. Sometimes the best management is no management at all — first do no harm!
This doesn’t mean a free-for-all. I think it is a statement for respect. I don’t claim to know much or have any answers. But I have found that by listening, engaging with those around you equitably you will create an absolute team. Respect and decency can take you a long way. Someone tweeted today, “if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
2. Indifference is as important as passion.
And it doesn’t mean that you don’t care. Passion, I think can also be confused with agenda. For me indifference just means that you are willing to be open to what other’s think might be a better way to approach a solution. Indifference can keep you open to other’s ideas and suggestions. You may have the best solution, but being open to other’s just makes for a more productive environment.
3. In organizational life, you can have influence over others or you can have freedom from others, but you can’t have both at the same time.
This is not, in my opinion a statement about isolation or being a lone wolf hiding out in a cube. Which is better?
4. Saying smart things and giving smart answers are important. Learning to listen to others and to ask smart questions is more important.
Uh, yeah! When was the last time you really listened? I think it was Fierce Conversations training. One exercise allowed you to ONLY listen. You could not respond at all. I find this very easy to do. For a couple of reasons. One, most of the time I don’t have anything really interesting to say. Two, I am very aware of the need to be heard. Really, truly heard. So I want to listen so that others feel that they are being heard.
5. Learn how to fight as if you are right and listen as if you are wrong: It helps you develop strong opinions that are weakly held.
This makes me feel better about having an opinion and changing it upon listening to someone. I thought maybe I was to easily swayed.
6. You get what you expect from people. This is especially true when it comes to selfish behavior; unvarnished self-interest is a learned social norm, not an unwavering feature of human behavior.
I expect people to be real, true, honest, respectful and descent.
7. Getting a little power can turn you into an insensitive self-centered jerk.
ABSOLUTELY! I don’t have the power, never had it, never want it.
8. Avoid pompous jerks whenever possible. They not only can make you feel bad about yourself, chances are that you will eventually start acting like them.
Not sure about this one. But I do make it a practice to avoid jerks. Life is too short.
9. The best test of a person’s character is how he or she treats those with less power.
I know this is true. I have seen it realized and I work very hard to adopt this everywhere I am. Treating someone of lesser power like someone with less power comes from a place of fear and insecurity.
10. The best single question for testing an organization’s character is: What happens when people make mistakes?
Lot’s of finger’s go out. I’ve seen a lot of people over the years not take responsibility and be accountable for what they have or haven’t done. I have one a few occasions taken responsibility for things that I didn’t do, but felt that to continue the professional relationship it needed to be done. It actually helped with my credibility.
11. The best people and organizations have the attitude of wisdom: The courage to act on what they know right now and the humility to change course when they find better evidence.
Wisdom, the quality or state of being wise; knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgment as to action; sagacity, discernment, or insight (dictionary.com).
12. The quest for management magic and breakthrough ideas is overrated; being a master of the obvious is underrated.
I think that for the most part management magic is an illusive concept. How many can say that they had management that knew what they were doing? Management that understood how to motivate and encourage their employee’s to deliver, to go above and beyond. How many of you have had management that gave as much as they ask for? I don’t think you can take and take and be successful. You have to be willing to do give more and do the dirty work. You have to be part of the solution, be willing to admit that you don’t have all the answers and help look for solutions.
13. Err on the side of optimism and positive energy in all things.
Easier said than done!
14. It is good to ask yourself, do I have enough? Do you really need more money, power, prestige, or stuff?
I have enough. But need just a little bit more. I’m un-employed; I think I can ask for a little bit more.
15. Jim Maloney is right: Work is an overrated activity.


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