I came across this list of “business commandments” as I was reviewing my numerous email newsletters. Written by Harvey MacKay, author of 2 New York Times number 1 bestsellers and nationally syndicated columnist, these 10 “commandments” detail the necessary attitude both BETAA Alumni and BETAA students need to navigate the always challenging corporate environment. Please look closely at commandments 8, 9 and 10. I feel that they are really important to your future success.
10 Commandments for the Office
By Harvey Mackay
It’s just business as usual, day in and day out. The fast lane gets faster. Competition for business and jobs gets meaner. The world gets smaller every day. You’ve dealt with a hundred co-workers, customers, vendors, and the irritating kid who works at the lunch counter. It’s time to go home and unwind.
The traffic jam gives you an opportunity to replay some of the day’s encounters. Regrettably, you wish you would have handled a few things quite differently. How can you make tomorrow better?
My mother always told me, “You don’t have to like everybody, but you do need to learn to get along.”
Over the years, I’ve developed a list, a “Ten Commandments for the Office,” which makes my commute home a little less guilt-ridden. Better yet, it’s improved my commute to the office. If I follow my own advice, I won’t have to spend my time apologizing for what I should have done in the first place. Try it out.
1) Be respectful. This includes respect for other people’s property, ideas and time. Frankly, this commandment should about cover everything. If you are respectful of others, you can usually work out most issues – even if it’s agreeing to disagree. An added bonus is that when you treat others with respect, they are more inclined to return the favor.
2) Follow through. If you promise to do something, do it. No ifs, buts or maybes. No excuses, no whining. You are only as good as your word. There will always be a place in this world for the person who says, “I’ll take care of it.” And then does it.
3) Think before you speak. Don’t say whatever is on your mind, unless you want your mindless thoughts to come back to haunt you. Those ghosts can rise up years later, just when that promotion looks so promising. And while we’re on the topic, remember that how you say something is as important as what you say.
4) Help out. So what if it’s not in your job description. If you have an opportunity to be useful, jump at it. Even if the rewards are not in the form of a paycheck, your co-workers will remember who helped them when they needed it. Taking on a little extra work – or a lot – shows that you are a team player, an employee worth watching.
5) Learn something new every day. It could be a new skill. Maybe the latest developments in your industry. Or just the name of a person you see daily at the copy machine. You have millions of brain cells just waiting to work for you!
6) Pay attention. If you go directly to your cubicle and barricade yourself all day, you’re missing important developments in your workplace. Not the gossipy events, of course, but the really good stuff – new procedures, new ideas and so on. This commandment also covers those occasions when the value of your input depends on your familiarity with the situation at hand. In short, always keep your antennae up!
7) Ignore pettiness. Rise above it, or you will be dragged down with it. There will always be someone who will make a mountain out of a molehill. It better not be you.
8] Be patient. Not to be confused with tolerating incompetence, this commandment covers a multitude of situations. Someone misunderstood you. A job is taking longer than you planned. You are missing every traffic light. What will you gain by losing your cool? I’m not a patient guy by nature, so I’ve really had to work at this one. If I can do it, you can too!
9) A good attitude is up to you. It takes a lot for the world to come to an end, so don’t act like it’s happening every day. Be encouraging, be cheerful. Refuse to be brought down by minor – or major – setbacks. Bad attitudes are contagious. The good news is that positive attitudes are catching, too.
10) Do your best. Like commandment #1, this should also cover just about everything. No one can ask you to do more.
It’s important to decide early on how you will conduct yourself. Then, when a crisis erupts or challenge arises, you won’t have to think twice about the right thing to do. I’ve always said that perfect practice makes perfect. These rules are no exception. And just for the record, these commandments work outside the office too.
Thanks for your attention.