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A Special Six Pack

Taking care of business doesn’t start or end with believing people are basically trustworthy. You will see this as you consume another six pack.

*     Conscientiously work at being truly trustworthy.

The first slot in this six pack is for trust; but the question isn’t, “Who do you trust?” It isn’t, “Who trusts you?” either, since even world-class scoundrels likely are trusted sometimes by someone. The question is, “Is there any good reason why anyone should trust you?”

Now that gives it a whole new perspective. You say, “You can trust me; you have my word on it.” Well, okay, but so what? Seeing is believing, show me, talk is cheap, time will tell, and all that. Your being trustworthy isn’t one of those things you can just proclaim and think that is the end of it. It’s not something you tell people about you; it’s a judgement other people make about you. As one or another of those very wise souls puts it, “Your reputation is created when you are not there.”

*     Be candid, every time, with everyone.

The next slot is reserved for being candid. Actually, it’s a double slot, with being trustworthy and being candid sitting side-by-side, since you can’t have one without the other.

Consider someone who is blunt, direct, frank, and straight forward. There is someone who is candid, sure enough. Got the picture? Okay, erase that picture and consider someone who is neither blunt, direct, frank, nor straight forward. Is this someone you are going to trust? Not likely!

Now picture someone who is authentically candid and who combines their candor with trustworthiness, genuine sincerity, and a liberal splash of sensitivity. Wow! there is someone who is truly exceptional.

*     Take care of business by focusing on business.

Being focused fills the next slot in this six pack. Taking care of business can get very complex and complicated; and if you don’t stay focused, it will soon be all she wrote, as they say. While you are in the heat of the game, though, it’s not enough to simply keep your eye on the ball. You have to keep it on the other players too; and since they have all got balls of their own, you also keep your eye on their balls. The super-stars at taking care of business are the players who have the uncanny ability to focus on their ball, the other players, and the other players’ balls simultaneously — or at least that is how it looks to the unsophisticated observer. Strictly on a “from my mouth to your ear” basis, it ain’t necessarily so. The high flyers have mastered a secret technique. They only focus on one ball or one player at a time and never on a player and a ball at the same time. Now, that is focus! but there is more.

Players ready for the first-string can predict from other player’s moves where their balls are going; and since they know where all the balls are headed, they don’t have to know where other players or their balls actually are. Do you get it? You don’t keep track of or worry about other players. The key to taking care of business is keeping focus on the balls and knowing where yours is in relation to where the other balls will end up.

If you don’t quite get it yet, focus on your ball, your business. Next, locate the other balls in the game and predict where they are going. Your objective is to move your ball in relation to where the other balls are headed. Focusing on the other players in the game, including those on your team, only serves your interest in knowing where the other balls will most likely end up so you can keep your ball where you need it to be: headed toward your goal. If you now see being focused means you attend to all the balls and all the players, one ball at a time and one player at a time, you’ve got it.

*     Commit yourself to a moral approach to taking care of business.

Slot four is reserved for a moral approach to taking care of business. This doesn’t mean people who don’t take a moral approach are bad or evil people, though they may be. It simply means they don’t take a moral approach, i. e., they don’t take a principle-centered, value-centered approach to business.

Having principles directing your actions and values forcing your choices says, For example, “I never knowingly give a customer a product or service below the standard I promised.” That means you do it right, the first time, on time, every time. Now there is a principle to live up to, one that certainly directs your actions.

What principles direct your actions, direct how you take care of business? If you have three or four clear, non-negotiable principles by which you always do business, you are up there on the moral high ground where most people you do business with spend little time.

Values follow principles; but they are not simply a list of things you like. For example, your principle is you do the right things right, the first time, on time, every time; but what are the “right things?” Perhaps they are products that reliably do what they are supposed to do or services that consistently accomplish what they are intended to accomplish. You value products and services that work, the first time, every time. Having that “value” then forces many choices you make about products and services, about how you use your resources, and about people who produce or use those products and services.

*     Predictably and consistently pursue your principles and values.

Slot five holds predictability and works best as a double slot with a moral approach to taking care of business. There certainly are those unscrupulous types who are totally predictable: you can simply assume they are only taking care of No. 1 and they will screw you every chance they get. If predictability is joined with moral principles and values, though, it is indeed a pleasure to experience. People don’t always know what you are going to do or how you are going to do it; but they always know why you do it: you are following your principles and values. You are innovative, original, creative, and uniquely you, sure enough. At the same time, you are predictable and  anyone who understands your principles and values knows it’s so.

*     Persistence, persistence, persistence.

The final slot in this six pack is reserved for persistence. Being worthy of trust, candor, staying focused, taking the moral high ground, and predictability are honorable and worthwhile pursuits; but none of them are easy, automatic, or guaranteed paths to success. Rather, they are sometimes slow and often tedious, personal commitments.

*     It may be time to put the old dog in the truck and call it a day.

Finally, suppose you are hot on the trail of a great deal, a resolution to a nasty conflict, an answer to a tough question; but it suddenly all goes sour. Have you been there, up close and personal? Sure you have. It’s frustrating to say the least and is usually down right maddening. The nearly irresistible temptation is to poke at it just one more time, take just one more shot.

Sure, the problem with resisting temptation is this may be the only chance you get; it may be now or never; and everyone knows winners never quit and quitters never win. At the same time, though, K. Rogers in The Gambler advises, “You got to know when to hold them, know when to fold them, and know when to walk away.” Actually, it’s the knowing when to walk away that may not be the key to success but certainly is an effective way to cut your losses; and as Grandpa says, “Winners don’t win more; they just loose less.”

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