20 'Rules for Radicals'

How to be distinct from your peers


My friend Nicholas Bate is a visiting lecturer at Warwick Business School in England. His minibooks are classics. His 14 Rules for Radicals was a nice jumping off point for me, and I wanted to point you toward his "rules." (Aside: Here in America, Nick, we always need a round number like 20, so I've added six. I just had to make some parenthetical comments, too.)

[See 20 temptations to fight at work.]

This is Nick's introduction:

Be different. Be distinct. Be radical. It's good for you, it's good for your business. It's good for your kids. Be a radical. And now would be a perfect time.

. . . When I was at secondary school, the deputy headmaster demanded to see me. Apparently my school trousers broke school uniform regulations. They broke the rules. There were "too radical." That was the start of something. . . .

These are the radicals' rules, according to Nick:

Rule 1: " Do it. You can always apologize later. " (I always say, "Make the deal and beg forgiveness later.")

Rule 2: "You can see it; you need to say it." (We don't know what's "up there" in your head unless you figure out how to make us see it too.)

Rule 3: "Chase challenge, not comfort." (Or, make the comfortable uncomfortable, and vice versa.)

Rule 4: " Build your bra nd ; you run your own business now. " (Tag—you're it.)

Rule 5: "What legacy do you want: ' My boss wouldn ' t let me ' ? I don ' t think so." (Be the man or woman you dreamed of being when you were a little boy or girl.)

Rule 6: "Measure yourself by results , not departure time from the car-park." (I don't care how long it took you, frankly.)

Rule 7: " Become a R adical and change the world. " (But with ideas and hard work, not bombs.)

To read the rest of Nick's writing (and rules Nos. 8 through 14), check out his blog.

And here are six more rules that I'd add to the list.

Rule 15: The more you stir it, the more it stinks.

Rule 16: When confronted with "Well, that's how it is done around here," smile and say, "How's that been working out so far?"

Rule 17: Zig when they zag.

Rule 18: No one ever remembers how long it took, if it is done well.

Rule 19: Good work happens after the meeting, and after everyone else thinks it's done.

Rule 20: Everything can be rearranged.

G. L. Hoffman is a serial entrepreneur and venture investor/operator/incubator/mentor. Two of his companies have traveled the entire success path from the garage to IPO. Currently, he is chairman of JobDig , which operates LinkUp , one of the fastest - growing job search engines. His blog can be found at WhatWouldDadSay.com .


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