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The Top 6 Basic Business Best Practices

August 26, 2012

After years of studying how I fail, I’ve identified some good things I do.  Not always.  But when I don’t do them, it is clear that I should have. Here they are:

1. Answer the phone.  Sounds simple enough, but how many times have you saw who’s calling you and thought, “I don’t have time right now?” In the past I have neglected to take a 2-minute phone call at the cost of 15 minutes in listening to the voice mail, making a note to return the call, placing that call, leaving a voice mail, and … then I’m back to that person calling me again.  Being honest, I’ve done this cycle numerous times.  No more.  I will always answer the phone.  If I determine that the call will take longer than I genuinely have at the moment, it is up to me to be honest with the caller.

2. Be brief.  Whether you are writing an email or talking to someone, brevity reigns supreme.  I’ve come to appreciate Twitter for the beautiful thing it is.  If you look close you’ll see that some users are adept at focusing their thoughts into cogent messages that fall well within the 140 character limit.  Others shorten words (e.g. “ur” instead of “your”) and still can’t get an idea across.  I’ve started a practice when writing anything to try to reduce the original word count by one-half.  Not always successful, I never go away feeling like I’ve cut out something important.  If anything I’ve come to realize how redundant and superfluous I naturally am.

3. Be right.  Being correct is (most often) not expeditious. However, it is efficient.  Errors breed re-work that is many times more costly than getting it right the first time.  The corollary to this rule is:  realize that sometimes you are wrong.

4. Be on time.  We’re not talking about showing up as scheduled to a meeting or conference call; that is too fundamental to discuss here.  Instead I am referring to meeting self-determined deadlines.  Oftentimes you may ask a co-worker, partner, subordinate, or contractor when they will complete a task.  They will supply a date or time and then promptly miss that deadline.  You need to be on time, especially when you are the one establishing the timeline.  Plan for contingencies, which ironically, always happen.

5. Be nice.  I’ve never worked harder for a jerk.  One exception would be when I worked harder, faster, and better for a Grade A shitehead just so I didn’t have to endure one more belligerent phone call with him.  I never worked for him again.

6. Don’t plan too much.  Years ago I invented the Anti-Plan, which was, I thought, a clever way of restating that I have no plan.  It was liberating but not very fruitful.  There is a sweet spot between planning every 15 minute period of your day and having no plan at all.  Find it and live there.


I cannot guarantee that following these Basic Business Best Practices will bring you immense success like you’ve never had before.  But it surely can’t do you any worse.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. The Castleton Crusader :) AKA Kristi Nastars permalink
    August 26, 2012 4:09 pm

    Hugo- Excellent as always 🙂

    • August 27, 2012 6:31 am

      My sincere thanks. I trust that you are crusading Castleton in your own excellent ways. To you and yours, stay awesome.

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