Let’s Start with Safal Niveshak
Just in case you missed any of this on Safal Niveshak over the last few weeks…
- Safal Niveshak’s sent out the first annual letter to tribe members.
- Mr. Huzaifa Husain, a value investor and Head of Indian Equities at PineBridge Investments, shares investing insights in his interview with Safal Niveshak.
- Learn some new mental models in Latticework Series – Social Proof, Game Theory and Matthew Effect.
- As we begin 2016, here are a few things one should aspire to do each day – Safal Niveshak’s eight rules to live by in 2016.
So how do you judge if a book is worth reading or not? One is, if you find a book which starts with a foreword from Warren Buffett. Don Keough’s The 10 Commandments of Business Failure is one such book.
Keough worked in The Coca Cola company for close to 40 years and retired from the post of president and CEO. So even if Buffett hadn’t endorsed him, it would still be a huge mistake to miss a book written by a person who ran one of the most iconic companies of last century.
It’s quite common to find business leaders dispensing advice about what it takes to be successful, expounding on the secret sauce of success. But it takes a genius to recognize that, in business and life, what needs to be investigated is not what works, but what fails. Don’s lifetime experience in business made him realize the same.
So instead of developing a step-by-step formula for success, he came up with commandments for failure. A total ten of them among which my favourite commandment is …
Play the Game Close to the Foul Line
This commandment says that you are more likely to succeed in losing the trust if you play it close to the line. This tendency ensures that you’re not likely to inspire much trust on the part of your customers or employees. And you will fail.
When the markets are rising, a very few corporate leaders ask “Is it right?”. Instead they begin pondering “Is it legal?” And then from that point, it’s not very far from “Can we get away with it?”
Don writes …
“Despite improvements in technology and new fads in management and marketing, all business finally boils down to matters of trust—consumers trust that the product will do what it promises it is supposed to—investors trust that management is competent—employees trust anagement to live up to its obligations.”
In recent years, the line separating what’s legal and what’s ethical has become so blurred that it has started enticing the new generation of smart and energetic people who have a fuzzy view about the right thing. It all starts small when you ignore the tiny cracks in the ethical conduct. Management’s talent is now in being creative with the rules than by being guardians of transparency and fiscal integrity.
Passing laws and making new regulations can never make men ethical. People who don’t mind playing close to the foul line are more prone to cross that line. It’s extremely dangerous to even work with such people, because someone who can steal for you will steal from you.
Peter Drucker said that there is no such thing as business ethics. Just ethics. It’s not separate from the rest of your life. Plus, the biggest benefit of an ethical conduct is that it removes a lot of stress from your life.
So if you want a stressful life culminating into a grand failure, make sure you always play the game close to the foul line.
Don’s advice may seem cliched but don’t forget – things which are easy to see are easy to miss too. I am even considering getting a laminated version of these commandments for my wall.
On a lighter note, if I could add one more commandment to Keough’s list, it would be “Don’t read this book”!
Stimulate Your Mind
Here’s some amazing content we read in recent times…
- The seven sins of fund management.
- Prof. Bakshi’s short note on fixed charges coverage and risk aversion.
- Life is too short and precious to be wasted in traffic jams.
- Asking the right questions is very important for revealing the real problem because most problems are incompletely stated, says George Polya, professor of mathematics in Stanford.
Don’t play too close to the foul line.
Go green and recycle your wealth.
Stay happy, stay blessed and keep poking!