What, you didn’t know there was a handbook for business heretics? Oh. How awkward that nobody told you. Well, let’s rectify that now, starting with this post. Here are ten tips to help familiarize you with some of the most basic tenets of heresy in business. There are plenty more, but this will get you started. Ready? Let’s dive in!

1. On Rules Breaking

Breaking the law can land you in jail. Breaking corporate policy, doing end-runs around procedures, and just plain getting stuff done – that will either get you fired or into the CEO’s office. Rules are merely guidelines. Guidelines are meant to guide, nothing more. If they don’t guide – if they aren’t helpful – then ignore them.

2. On Resources

Resources can be bought and sold. Steel is a resource. Laptops are resources. Humans are not, and will never be, resources. Humans are “people.” Stop using the word “resource” when what you mean is “person.” Seriously. Stop that right now.

3. On That Damned Box

Just, please, stop talking about that freakin’ box already! No heretic has ever used the phrase “think outside the box,” because heretics know that innovators don’t even see a box to begin with!

4. On Helpfulness

Boss, read these words aloud: “My job is to make your job easier.” Say it ten times, till you can really say it with conviction. Then, leave your office and go say it to the first 20 employees you see. Repeat this once an hour for a month. You can read the rest of this post later.

5. On Motivation

If you have to motivate your people, you’ve either hired the wrong people or you’ve quashed their motivation somewhere along the way. Good people are self-motivated. Give them a BHAG (a “Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal,” as Jim Collins so eloquently puts it) and then help them achieve it. How? Better reread #4. See you in another month.

6. On Culture

There are only three things that matter in business: culture, culture, culture. Your job as leader is to be the steward – the nurturer and protector – of the culture. The culture runs your business. You do not.

7. On Viruses

Any marketer who tells you your campaign will go viral also has a bridge to sell you. Participants way outside of your control – the general public, in other words – decide what goes viral and what… doesn’t. All you can do is your best. The web will (or won’t) do the rest.

8. On Metrics

Give me a metric and thirty minutes, I’ll show you how to game it. No joke: I dare you. Business heretics lead with just one metric: dollars. Set your BHAG, open your books, and let your culture (i.e. your people) do the rest.

9. On Books, Open and Closed

It’s 2015. You still don’t have open book management? Oh. I thought you considered yourself a business heretic. How are your people ever going to help you attain your BHAG if you’re still hoarding information like it’s 1955?

10. On Use of Your Time

What is the best use of a leader’s time? Let me answer that question with a question of my own: What makes you a leader? You lead people, right? Then every minute of your day that you spend in your office or in front of a spreadsheet or managing your boss is another minute you are robbing from your actual job, which is helping your people. Do your job. Lead your people, face to face.

Here’s the thing about business heresy: it’s different. That makes it uncomfortable to a lot of people, especially career managers. But let me leave you with a thought: chances are, the most successful business leaders you can name are themselves heretics. So you can follow all the rules, you can do the opposite of these ten tips, or you can… be incredibly successful! Hey, totally up to you. No one’s judging.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot:

11. On Giving More in Business

Heretics promise you ten tips and give you eleven. So here’s a list of just a few of the better-known business heretics I can name without blinking: Bill Hewlett and David Packard, Jeff Bezos, Bill Gore, Richard Branson, Yvon Chouinard, Herb Kelleher, Ricardo Semler, Tony Hsei, Steve Jobs, Jack Stack, Larry Page and Sergey Brin. Can you name more? Let us know in the comments.


First published on Ted’s previous blog.

About Ted Coiné

Ted Coiné is CEO of The Extraordinary Network, a group that is rewriting all the rules of influencer marketing by cutting out agency middlemen to work directly with B2B and luxury brands. Proud “bleeding heart capitalists,” he and his team have built support of a great cause into every for-profit campaign they undertake.

His entire career, Ted has collected fascinating people, most notably other thought leaders who also have a large and loyal audience of large enterprise leaders. He has watched the Wild West that is influencer marketing until he realized an opportunity to fix this broken system, and give influencers the sway they need to move markets together, and to get paid what they’re deserved for this power they bring to bear.

An Inc. Top 100 Speaker and one of Business News Daily’s 15 Twitter Accounts Every Entrepreneur Should Follow, Ranked #1 authority on the Social CEO and #3 in the Future of Work, Ted is also a serial business founder and CEO.

Ted is a Forbes Top 10 Social Media Power Influencer and an Inc. Top 100 Leadership Expert. This stance at the crossroads of social and leadership gave Ted a unique perspective to identify the demise of Industrial Age management and the birth of the Social Age. The result, after five years of trend watching, interviewing and intensive research, is his latest book, A World Gone Social: How Companies Must Adapt to Survive.

He lives in Naples, Florida, with his wife and two daughters.

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