Ben Franklin's 12 Rules of Management
Benjamin Franklin in his early years was a manager. This information may surprise those who have come to associate the bespectacled statesman solely with the patriots who founded the United States of America.
According to some, the roots of America's current business success lie in the principles embodied more than 200 years ago in the life of Franklin, the founding father of American business. His life exemplifies the innovation, technology and ingenuity that have propelled the American economy to unprecedented heights in recent years. Andrew Carnegie, Lee Iacocca, Stephen Covey and Warren Buffet have all acknowledged a debt to Franklin.
What follows is a summary of his 12 rules of management, an ideal for lifelong learning that is as pertinent to managers today as it was in the 18th century. It is excerpted from the book, "Ben Franklin's 12 Rules of Management" (highlights are mine).
1. Finish better than your beginnings.
2. All education is self-education.
3. Seek first to manage yourself, then to manage others.
4. Influence is more important than victory.
5. Work hard and watch your costs.
6. Everybody wants to appear reasonable.
7. Create your own set of values to guide your actions.
8. Incentive is everything.
9. Create solutions for seemingly impossible problems.
10. Become a revolutionary for experimentation and change.
11. Sometimes it's better to do 1,001 small things right than only one large thing right.
12. Deliberately cultivate your reputation and legacy.
These remind us once more that great thoughts and useful tips have been available for us for a long, long time. Application will give results, not just reading or remembering.
For instance, once you truly accept that everyone wants to appear reasonable, you are less likely to feel anger or irritation at someone's behaviour. "Finish better than your beginnings" can be applied at a project level (what have you learned, what have you contributed, what relationships have you built) or even at a life level (most of us begin at a different starting point than, say, the Ambani brothers, but more important is what we make of our lives and where we go in relation to our starting point).