“You remember 1/3 of what you read, 1/2 of what people tell you, but 100 percent of what you feel.”


This article The CEO’s Secret Handbook published in the Business 2.0 website inspired me to create my aphoristic revelations blog. It is based on Swanson’s Unwritten Rules of Management written by Bill Swanson, CEO of aerospace contractor Raytheon (RTN). According to the article, this tiny handbook has become an underground hit among senior executives and management thinkers. It contains Swanson’s Aphorisms on Management which I loved very much — practical wisdom. My personal favorite is that you always have to appeal to emotions of people for you to be effective. Here are his management aphorisms:

  • You can’t polish a sneaker.
  • Learn to say “I don’t know.” If used when appropriate, it will be used often.
  • You remember 1/3 of what you read, 1/2 of what people tell you, but 100 percent of what you feel.
  • Look for what is missing. Many know how to improve what’s there; few can see what isn’t there.
  • Never direct a complaint to the top; a serious offense is to “cc” a person’s boss on a copy of a complaint before the person has a chance to respond.
  • Treat the name of your company as if it were your own.
  • Have fun at what you do. It will be reflected in your work. No one likes a grump except another grump!
  • When faced with decisions, try to look at them as if you were one level up in the organization. Your perspective will change quickly.
  • If you are not criticized, you may not be doing much.
  • When something appears on a slide presentation, assume that the world knows about it and deal with it accordingly.
  • A person who is nice to you but rude to the waiter — or to others — is not a nice person. (This rule never fails.)
  • When facing issues or problems that are becoming drawn out, “short them to ground.”

It’s truly inspiring and you can immediately apply this on your work. You have to read the article to understand the wisdom behind the aphorism’s above.

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