20 Powerful Management Truisms

Last Updated Jun 14, 2011 1:59 PM EDT

20 Powerful Management TruismsSome people see the beauty of nature in an apple. They bite into it and feel the tension as their teeth break through the skin, sense the crunch and juiciness, taste the balance of sweet and tart.

Others just see a boring piece of fruit.

I don't know what management is like for most people, but for me, it's been 30 years of experiencing, observing, learning, analyzing, and synthesizing a relatively short list of concepts and methods that seem to work.

If there was a single cutting room floor for all the rejected ideas, theories, fads, myths, and processes, I'd have been buried ten times over long ago.

And yet, nothing is cast in stone. It's always a work in progress. Why? It's a good idea to always question prevailing wisdom, especially your own. Also, things change. 

Speaking of works in progress, here are 20 Powerful Management Truisms that have stood the test of time, up until now. Maybe "observations" is a better word since they come from my experience. Anyway, test them against your own experience and let us know what you think:

Strategy and execution complement each other; neither works without the other.

If you're your own worst enemy, you're sure to lose.

If you set out to build an empire, you'll fail. All empires have humble beginnings. Just put one foot in front of the other, try not to stumble, and when you do, pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and try again.

If you've got loads of strengths, it's okay to ignore your weaknesses. If you've got loads of weaknesses, you better work on them.

You don't know squat. Once you think you've got things figured out, you're in big trouble. Only fools have all the answers.

There are times to study and analyze and times to act decisively; the key is to know the difference.

A big ego is sufferable if the person delivers the goods.

Fear and desperation are powerful motivators, but they don't always result in good or the right behavior.

One who actually gets things done is worth a dozen good-intentioned can-do attitudes.

Principles are a personal matter. Having them is good, pushing them on others, not so much.

Don't take yourself too seriously or nobody else will either. Self-important people are just that - only important to themselves.

Leaders who make excuses and blame others don't deserve their authority.

Coming in second is still losing. Still, learn from it.

What you think doesn't matter half as much as what the other guy thinks. Better to listen than talk.

You get what you pay for. It's true of goods, services, executives, employees, everything.

It doesn't matter if you're right or wrong, only if you win or lose.

If everyone's out to get you, there's probably a good reason for that. Look in the mirror.

Success depends on adapting quicker than your competitors do. It's like the movie title The Quick and The Dead. Those really are the only two options anymore.

Play nice with the other children. It's okay to spat as long as you apologize and make up. Playground rules work in organizations. Really.

Problems should be solved by those who discover them. An organization where nobody passes the buck is powerful.

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