I have long been an admirer of Brian Tracy but there is one thing I have observed consistently,he tends to repeat himself in his books. One secret for the prolific number of books that he has published.
Therefore I approached one of his newest book Flight Plan with trepidation.
I need not have worried. This thin book (150 pages) is very profound and packed with the best of his no nonsense advice.If you are looking for ‘The Secret’ kind of yarn, Brian is not your man.
In this book he uses the analogy of a flght plan that every pilot crew charts before a flight begins.
One nugget from the book. Brian talks about problems in life. He uses the analogy of headwinds to describe the turbulent situations in our lives.
The bottom line, problems will happen, be prepared for it. He talks about various kinds of headwinds, financial headwinds, people headwinds and so on.
Not only will problems occur in our lives but they will do so with the regularity of a clock.
How true. I had two experiences, all on the same day.
I had just finished making a major investment in the kitchen. Unfortunately the contractor screwed up and caused the dishwasher to flood most of the kitchen when operated.
Next, the same evening we had a get together planned and were counting on one of the guests to bring some of the food. But it started pouring and the guest cancelled at the last minute. We had to scramble for an alternate solution.
I know these are trivial problems in the larger scheme of things but it shows first hand how true Brian was.
In a way this is a very comforting philosophy.I will no longer let problems derail me.
It is not just the warm and fuzzy that I got from this book.
I have this book to thank for the launch of my website ebook-of-the-week.com.
I was toying with the idea of the website for several weeks. I even got to register the domain and then I sat on it. Before I knew what happened several months passed by.
There is one specific passage in this book that uses the analogy of a rocket launch to the starting of any worthwhile venture. Just like a rocket launch consumes more than 90% of its fuel in the first few minutes of the launch we need to expend a lot of effort in the infant stages of a business. In this case, autoresponders, website templates, traffic strategies etc.
Read this, I am sure it will help you launch your own dreams.
A recent article in Fortune magazine put the current economic situation very succinctly when it said “your job is your most important asset”
Well here is a great way to protect and enhance your most valuable asset.
If you have not heard of or read the book ‘The Rules of Work – by Richard Templar”.’ I urge you to buy it and read. It has very practical advice for getting ahead.
Below area few of my favorite rules.
Rule 40 : Only Speak Sense
To be successful you have to promote the right image.All this can be destroyed by a careless word or unguarded moment.
It might be wise to speak only occasionally rather than babbling on.
If you think carefully before you speak, pause and have a chance to bite your tongue then chances are that your delivery will be accurate your speech edited carefully and you will only speak sense.
Make sure that what you have to say has an impact and isn’t lost in the general hubbub of office clamor.
Be silent until you have something to offer.
Rule 36 : Ask Questions
Asking questions shows that you have paid attention,care,are interested,are thoughtful,considerate, and intelligent and creative.
Stupid people do not ask questions. Bored people do not ask questions. Lazy people do not ask any questions.
Asking questions is a very nice thing to do in a general way.It shows you are interested in your colleagues. But do make the questions genuine and sincere,worthwhile and kind.
Rule 76 : Never Get Personal
It is not the person. It is their behavior. You can criticize the way they do their job, their timekeeping, their attitude and so on. But you can’t ever say they are lazy, ignorant,good for nothing.
You get the idea.
Getting personal will get you fired at worst and lose your respect and friends at best.
Rule 75 : Never Lose Your Temper
No matter how justified you are or how annoying the person is never lose your temper. Loss of temper means loss of control and a rules player never loses control.
How do you keep your temper. Raise your eyes to the heavens.
You only lose your temper if you are involved, if you care, if you are part of the problem. If you shift your focus to higher issues – the old good of the company again – it becomes easier to see whatever it is that is annoying you in a new light.
Another method is to simply leave the place stating the situation is intolerable.
Not losing your temper does not mean not expressing emotion. You are entitled to say, “I find it extremely annoying when you eat all the chocolate cookies etc.”
It is OK to refuse to give in to emotional blackmail or bullying. It is not OK to bottle up stuff. Say when you feel aggrieved , immediately, so that you defuse the situation at once. Don’t let things build up a head of steam or you may well blow up.
Rule 73 : Know When to keep your opinions to yourself
It is easy to have opinions. We all have them. Trouble is knowing when to keep them to yourself and when to express them. The reason most people don’t know when to shut up is that they think their opinion:
- counts for something
-has an audience
-will make a difference
- will make them seem clever/intelligent/effective
- will win them approval etc.
The real reason for expressing an opinion is because you have been asked to. if you are asked , then say what you think. If you have not been asked then shut up.
Your opinion should almost have to be dragged from you. What you have to say is important and you don’t squander your opinions willy nilly.
Also make your opinion less like an opinion and more like an accepted fact. Don;t say “I think we should”, say “We should”. Don’t say “In my opinion the ZX3 is a good machine” instead say “The ZX3 is a good machine”.
- I think
- In my opinion
- I feel
Rule 72 : Don’t take sides
If you take sides then you are part of the problem, the argument , the fight.You have to remain totally objective and firmly in the middle. Stay on the fence whatever you do.
- Take a long term view
- See it from the company’s point of view
- Remain impartial
- Remain Calm
- Be the diplomat
- Not take sides
- Stay independent
The more detached you appear to be the more senior you will come across.
Rule 78 : Stand you ground
No one is allowed to bully you, threaten you, shout at you, hit you, intimidate you, frighten you, victimize you or torment you in any way. You are an employee.
If you are not doing the job well then you should be taken aside and your mistakes pointed out calmly and rationally. Anything else is abuse.
You are allowed to refuse abuse.You are allowed calmly and rationally to tell them to stop at once or you are entitled to use the full weight of the law.
You have to know when to stand your ground.
Standing your ground is about having standards, drawing a line in the sand and saying “I will put up with this but not this “.
Standing your ground is about being assertive. Being assertive is confidently stating your bottomline.
- I will not be spoken to like that
Rule 80 : Put things in Perspective
When all is said and done. It is just a job. It is not your health, your love life, your family, your children, your life or your soul.
Your job is just a job. Yes you need the money etc. But it is just a job and there are others.
Having a bad day at work should not cause you to:
- lose sleep
- lose your appetite
- lose your sex drive
- smoke more
- Drink more
- take drugs
- get depressed
- get stressed
You have to learn to switch off, relax, not take it so seriously, enjoy it more and put things in perspective.
Get a hobby, get a life. You must work to live not live to work. Don’t take stuff home with you – learn to be assertive and say no. Put your family first. Spend time with your children. They will grow up so fast you will miss their precious childhood if you work through.
It is just a job
Rule 85 : Identify the People who count
There are some people like mail clerks etc who weld power and influence far more than their position would warrant. This could be due to their association with people of power by family or other fashion.
Identify these people be careful in your dealings with them
Rule 86 : Get on the right side of the people who count
Rule 88 : Know the undercurrent and hidden agenda
When your boss says he wants to improve customer relations and you should all go on a course teaching you how to smile don’t be fooled. It has less to do with customer service and more to do with how he will look during his appraisal.
Question the motives of everyone and everything. This does not mean you have to be paranoid. All you need to do is watch out for hidden agendas.
- Why is this happening
- is there anything I am missing
- who benefits from this- how are they benefiting
- what else could be going on
- can I benefit from this
Rule 57 : Know the rules about authority
Who runs your office. I bet it is not the boss. They tend to closet themselves in their ivory towers leaving the real job of running the business to someone else. Your job is to identify this person and stay on the right side of them.
- have the ear of the boss
- are trusted by the boss
- had been there quite some time
They are the real authority and you should pay homage to them.
Rule 62 : Talk one step ahead
Observe how your boss talks. It is not their accent or pronunciation – how they sound – but their content, what they say. For e.g. instead of using ‘I’ they will more likely use ‘we’.
You might speak from a worker’s point of view whereas they might speak on behalf of the company.
The more senior you go the less likely you are to:
-Talk about last night’s TV or any other issues that have no relevance to the work being done.Bosses tend to be much more focussed and less inclined to waste time.
-Babble on. Bosses tend to be more thoughtful and pause before speaking (at least the good ones do)
So if you are going to talk one step up, you need to be more thoughtful,talk about issues that are relevant, talk in terms of ‘we’ rather than ‘i’.
Rule 63 : Act one step ahead
Look at the way your boss enters the office, the way he holds his pen, talks on the phone etc.
Acting one step up requires you to:
- be more certain of yourself
- be more mature
- be more confident
Do not waffle or use long expressions.
Rule 64 : Think one step ahead
Thinking one step up is about thinking expediently. You don’t have time to waste thinking:
- how will this affect my coffee break
- will this mean I can still have my vacation
- will I have to work harder,longer
- will I score any kudos from this
No, instead you will think:
- is this better for the department
- will the company do well out of this
- can we bosses sell this to the workforce
- are our customers going to be happy with this
Get the message?See the point?.
You will see things from the company perspective and not from your own personal petty little desk footprint.
- see the big picture
- see the entire picture
- picture the picture
- direct the picture
- produce the picture
- stop being an extra
Rule 65 : Address corporate issues and problems
If the company suggests a new procedure, immediately think how it affects your customers and not you.
Rule 67: Walk the walk
Study the job you aspire to. Who is doing it now? Learn to think of them as the person who is doing your job. How are they handling it? Learn to appraise those who are senior to you in the way that they appraise you.Don’t moan or gripe about how your boss does the job – observe instead their mistakes and learn and profit from them. Watch what they do superbly well and start practicing their smart moves now.
If you are prepared to do the four things you will fly.
Rule 1 : Get your work noticed
You have to stand out to get your work noticed. Do something outside the normal.
Instead of working harder to produce more widgets write a report on how to increase the widget output from the entire workforce.
The unsolicited report is a brilliant way to stand out from the crowd.You have to stick to certain rules:
-only submit a report occasionally
- make really sure your report will actually work
- make sure your name is prominently displayed.
- make sure the report will be seen not only by your boss but also his boss
_ it does not have to be a report it can be an article in the company newsletter.
The best way to get noticed however is to be very very good at your job. And the best way to be good at your job is to be totally dedicated to doing your job and ignoring all the rest.
Keep your eye on the ball and you are already ahead of the rest.
Rule 2 : Never stand till
Never accept that doing the job is enough, that is for others. But doing the job is not the end game for you- it is merely the means to the end.And the end for you is promotion, money and recognition.The job in a way is irrelevant.
Yes you have to do the work and do it supremely well. But your eye should already be on the next level and every activity you indulge should merely be a cog in your plan to move up.
The rules player would have got their work done by lunch time so as to spent the rest of the day to study for the next promotion, to assess the competition , to prepare reports and so on.
Rule 4 : Carve out a niche for yourself
The author once worked for a colleague who knew a great deal about the personal stuff of the clients. This was immensely useful and helped in his rapid promotion.
Carving out a niche means spotting a useful area that no one else has spotted. It might be as simple as being great with spreadsheets or report writing.
Carving out a niche for yourself often takes you out of the normal range of office activities.You get to move around more.
Carving out a niche for yourself means you get noticed not just by your boss but by other bosses as well.
Rule 5 : Under-promise and over deliver
If you know you can do it by Wednesday say you will finish by Friday