Amateurs vs professionals

Amateurs believe that the world should work the way they want it to. Professionals realize that they have to work with the world as they find it. Amateurs are scared of uncertainty and avoid surprises. Professionals feel like they are capable of handling almost anything and embrace surprises. Amateurs think they have all the answers. Professionals…

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The noise bottleneck

We think the more information we consume the more informed we will be become. Except the mind doesn’t work like that. When the volume of information increases, our ability to comprehend the relevant from the irrelevant becomes compromised. We place too much emphasis on irrelevant data and lose sight of what’s really important. In other…

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No such thing as a free pen

In business, you sometimes come across freebies. A free cap. Or free dinner. Or free flight. Or free pen. There is so such as a free pen. Everything comes with an expectation that you repay in someway. It’s pure psychology: the reciprocation bias. All humans feel indebted to anyone that gives them a gift. Feeling…

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Only crazy people waste time

If we see someone throwing money away, we call that person crazy. This bothers us, in part, because money has value. Wasting it seems crazy. And yet we see others — and ourselves — throw away something far more valuable every day: Time. If you spend your time meeting people you don’t need to meet, or doing things you…

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Focus on incentives

Years ago, Federal Express were struggling to clear it’s warehouses on time, resulting in delayed deliveries. The heart and soul of the integrity of the system is that all the packages have to be shifted rapidly in one central location each night. And the system has no integrity if the whole shift can’t be done…

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Iatrogenics: Why Intervention Often Leads to Worse Outcomes

The temptation to meddle is strong. You can see a problem. Others are telling you about the problem. Surely you should just intervene and sort things out? Wrong. 9 times out of 10 you should not intervene. The unintended consequences are too risky. A simple rule for you, as boss, is that intervention needs to…

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Offer no friction

One of the easiest ways to increase your value to an organization is to reduce the friction required to get you to do your job. You don’t need to learn any new skills for this; you just have to shift your perspective to your boss’s point of view and see how hard it is for…

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Kantian fairness principle

It’s your business, you’re the boss. Remember this: It’s more important to have the right systems with the right incentives in place, than trying to be fair to one person — even if that person close to you. You must be fair, and more important, you must be seen to be fair. Put in place policies, processes…

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Eat your broccoli

Anything really worth doing is probably hard work, and will absolutely require you to do things you don’t currently do, which will feel uncomfortable for a while. This is a “hard truth” we must all face. If it was easy, everyone would already be doing it. If everyone were already doing it, you would have…

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Find the right partner

One of the secrets to success is finding the right partners. The best way to find partners is to make it easy for them to find you. Speak at conferences, write a blog, write books, do media interviews, make it easy for people to notice you. With some luck someone will approach you and voila,…

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The more hectic things are, the more undisturbed you should be

In startup life, always follow the rule: “the more hectic things are, the more undisturbed you should be” Maintaining a facade a calm whilst inwardly panicking is a skill that needs practice. Never let your panic/stress/tension show. It’s easier to think when you appear calm. It’s easier for others to remain calm when you remain…

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Know yourself

Take risks. Lots of risks. Fall in love, start businesses, travel, meet new people. Keep taking risks. Sometimes you’ll win, most times you’ll fail. It’s in failure that you you’ll find out how you respond to setbacks, what is important to you, what type of people you gel with. One of the biggest risks you’ll…

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