All “top 10 rules for success” or “top 5 secrets to happiness” have one fundamental flaw: They lack context. They lack the “why”. If you don’ know the why of any ‘rule’ or advice then you don’t know when to break away from it. And if you don’t know when to break away from it; who is ruling whom?

Formula For Success? Beware.

Here is a well know formula for ‘success’:

Success= Hard Work + Luck
If I add a bit of perspective to this:

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What Good is the Handbrake Without the Driver?

In my previous post The Handbrake that Stops All Madness I advocated yet again that systems can be the solutions behind most of the firefighting that goes on in daily business.

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The Handbrake That Stops All Madness

Imagine you have a car and you suddenly start to have these problems: 1)The engine is not starting 2)The air conditioning is not working 3)The radio speakers sound distorted

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Limit Your Customers’ Choices

In my last post Ignore What Your Customers Say, And Some …I tried to convince you that you may know more than your customers about what they

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Ignore What Your Customers Say, And Some …

While I am fully convinced by my Charter (ask my clients!) I would like to think it is actually foolproof for almost any business. I have ample evidence to support the fact that not only does it work,

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What Is It? Check.

Last month I posted a riddle – if you did not see it then check it out before continuing to read: What Is It?

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What Is It?

My subscribers will receive the answer in my next post, but in the meantime feel free to put your Facebook comments below, or flick me an email and let me know your thoughts. I’d love to hear from you.

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The Magic Torch

A grueling 100km walk in the hilly bush land of NSW (Australia) gave me a valuable example of a basic but powerful business principle

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Your Golden Nuggets

Give me a lever and a place to stand and I shall move the world– Archimedes (287 BC-212 BC) Archimedes, one of the most influential thinkers and inventors of antiquity,

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Watch Your Language

The difference is that the genie will easily be able to grant you your second wish, each Friday! But he will be scratching his head about the first…

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There Are Risks And There Are Risks

Almost every other risk in your business is unnecessary Bad Risks; e.g., bad book keeping, weak recruitment strategy, weak understanding of your market, low customer satisfaction, mispricing … etc.

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Who Buys The Toaster?

Before answering the ‘toaster’ question try answering these questions:

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One More Time: Your Business May Only Have One Problem

Imagine you were an investor in the largest but then struggling aluminium company in the world. What would you decide to do if you heard this start of the first speech of Paul O’Neil the new CEO:

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The Soul Of Your Business

Systems are the key to enormous productivity leaps in your business. But if left unchecked they can take you right back to square one and put you back in damage control mode.

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The Heart Of Your Business

You will have to be one of the lucky few (or from another planet) if you have not been to a business meeting where you were bored out of your mind, mustering the last bit of energy to keep your eyelids open while pretending to show some interest…

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Is Your Business A Beauty?

Is your business beautiful? Yes beautiful. Imagine giving a visitor a tour of your business. You are showing her how your business runs.

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Perspective Is Everything

In my last post for this year I want to take you far away from your business, your family and all around you for just a few moments. I want you to have a look at this picture of us (all of us) from 1.5 billion km away.

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The Power Of Incentives

U.S. psychologist Barry Schwartz refers to an experiment in Switzerland in 1990’s when the government planned to run a referendum on where to dump nuclear wastes.

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KPIs= Kill Powerful Initiatives?

They usually stand for Key Performance Indicators but I have seen enough damaging KPIs to warrant the other acronym.

What are they good for?

KPIs are one tool in the arsenal of

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It Takes Three To Tango

I guarantee your business will lack energy and long-term viability. This is the law of business longevity and I challenge you to try to disprove it by pointing to one viable and thriving business that compromises on anyone in this trio.

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Focus Groups Can Shift Your Focus

You already know that Reality TV has nothing to do with reality. People who know they are being watched (by millions!) act differently. Something analogous can happen in your marketing focus groups.

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Your Business Is A Walk In The Park

Last week, I had the privilege to participate in the Oxfam 100km Trailwalker 2012, a gruelling global fundraising event against poverty and injustice. It was a great event, and I could not let

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Let Me Show You How It Works

Can you say this to anyone visiting your business, and then actually walk them through your business workflow? Would a new employee (or a potential buyer of your business) be able to see exactly how your

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Do You Think For A Living?

This is one of the first questions I ask a client who wants to sell their business. If they answer, “I do not have time to think” I tell them that it is unlikely that they will sell it at a premium as it is currently run.

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How To Be Unique

In the previous post on Being Unique I discussed what a Unique Selling Proposition (USP) is, and how vital it is to a successful business. In this blog, I look

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Being Unique

Perhaps it is coincidental, but statistics show that about 80% of businesses fail within 2-5 years, and about 80% of businesses do not have a “Point of Difference” or a unique attribute, or when they do, they fail to show it.

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Is This Real Profit? Really?

Do you know the difference between “real-profit” and “risk-profit”? A real-profit is the reason you are in business, while the risk-profit is the profit that is related to a risk that is not in your core business and that you should spend (or invest) in

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Business Failure Can Be Optional

Choose any list of “top reasons” for business failure, during any period of time, from any business record or database, etc, and you will find almost all of them have one thing in common.

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Testing Testing Testing

Do not fall in love with a cute marketing idea just because you and your team like it. This is a sure way to miss an opportunity and incur unnecessary costs. The key to effective marketing is to test,

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Lower Pricing Is Not The Answer

Are you tempted to price your products/services lower than the competition to boost your sales? What stops the competition from retaliating? Will you retaliate again? Who will reach the bottom first?

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Your Business Can Only Have One Problem

OK, perhaps two problems? Certainly not ten! You may have 30 issues you battle with each day in your business, but I always challenge my clients that we can identify 1, 2 or 3 core problems at most that underline all these issues or symptoms.

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The Power Of Checklists

Last week my 5-minute-old daughter, Sophia, reminded me, yet again, of a powerful but often-overlooked business tool: the Checklist.

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You Create, We Improve

Business success stories may start from a new (or borrowed) idea followed by a continuous process of improvement. This is the iphone story, and part of the “Toyota Way” known for “Kaisen“ or “change for the better” .

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Try 1000 Times In 1000 Ways

And if you have the conviction in your vision and the stamina to try 1000 rounds to get there, make sure that each round counts. Make sure that each round carries a lesson to the next round.

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We Can Be Blind To The Obvious

Near misses in business are more prominent than you think, and as Nobel Laureate Daniel Kahnman puts it, ‘We can be blind to the obvious and we are also blind to our blindness’.

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Quitting In Style

Near misses in business are more prominent than you think, and as Nobel Laureate Daniel Kahnman puts it, ‘We can be blind to the obvious and we are also blind to our blindness’.

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Listen To The Vital Few

You’ve probably heard about the 80/20 rule, known also as Pareto Principle or the Law of the Vital Few.

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Business Failures Have A Lot To Offer

This became known as “The Anna Karenina Principle” applicable not only to families, but as much to evolution as to corporate governance. So this is my “business” version:

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No Risk No Business

The key is to be aware that your understanding of chance must be at par with your understanding of business fundamentals.

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